Bowling Green vs. Akron Odds & Picks: The MACtion Betting Opportunity of a Lifetime
Gregory Fisher & Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured, from left: Bowling Green Falcons running back Bryson Denley (12) and Akron Zips wide receiver Kevin Walls (13).
- Bowling Green heads north to take on Akron in a matchup of winless MAC programs.
- The Zips are 2-14 against the spread since the start of last season, while the Falcons have the worst run defense in the FBS.
- Mike Iannello and Ace DeCardano are on opposite sides of this game, and they both make a case for their respective pick.
Bowling Green State vs. Akron Odds
|Bowling Green State Odds||+2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Akron Odds||-2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+110 / -134 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||55.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||2 p.m. ET|
The Case Against Bowling Green
I just want to start this, on behalf of Ace and myself, by congratulating you for reading this write-up. If you care about this game at all and plan to watch even a minute of this, you are a special breed of gambler.
Now, to the game of the century. I am not going to sit here and try to convince you Akron is good. Akron is horrible. But I believe Bowling Green is worse. There’s an old expression: “You don’t need to be fast enough to outrun a bear — you just need to be faster than the slowest person.” Akron is not a good team, but it’s better than Bowling Green. Out of the 127 teams currently playing, Akron is ranked No. 125… but Bowling Green is No. 126, according to SP+. The Zips rank 125th on offense and 117th on defense, both better than the Falcons, who sit 126th and 121st, respectively.
The Bowling Green defense ranks dead last in the country against the run, allowing an outrageous 339 rushing yards per game. The Falcons give up an average of 6.6 yards per carry and have surrendered 14 rushing touchdowns in four games.
Akron’s best weapon is running back Teon Dollard. Dollard is third in the MAC in rushing, averaging 114 yards per game. He exploded for 202 yards and four touchdowns two weeks ago against Kent State. Dollard’s speed gives him big-play ability, as his 14 runs of 10+ yards are second in the conference to only Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson.
Want to hear a surprising stat? Akron leads the country in rushing explosiveness. That’s right, No. 1 in all of college football. I was shocked, too. Dollard and the Zips should be able to rack up enough big plays on the ground against the worst rush defense in the nation to pull out their first win in over two years.
Photo Credit: Justin Casterline/Getty Images.
The Case Against Akron
I’m not quite sure what Mike is talking about. I, for one, have had this game circled on my calendar since the schedule was released. After all, it’s not every day you get to watch a team that has lost its last 21 contests installed as a 3-point favorite.
That’s right. 0-21-0 straight up. Its last win occurred on Oct. 27, 2018.
The No. 1 song in the country at the time was (apparently) “ZEZE” by Kodak Black featuring Travis Scott and Offset, Akron’s own LeBron James was only sixth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, Halloween was the No. 1 movie in America (which is kind of funny) and, well, people still went to movie theaters.
We all know they’re bad. What’s even worse is these Zips still underperform the lowest of expectations. Since last season, Akron is 2-14-0 against the spread. Even though the country is well-aware of Akron’s ineptitude, it has somehow managed to fail to meet expectations almost every single week.
Outside of the aforementioned transfer, Dollard (who might just be a legitimate NFL prospect), Akron struggles to do almost everything else. Defensively, it ranks 125th in yards per rush attempt allowed and dead last in yards per pass attempt against (11.7).
Freshman quarterback Zach Gibson has thrown for 159.5 yards per game, has completed more passes to the other team (five) than he has completed for touchdowns (three), and has a QBR of 20.4. He’s a young kid doing the best he can, but the fact remains it’s tough to win football games with that type of production.
Is this really the team you’re looking to back on Saturday?
Photo Credit: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.
Zips Secondary Argument
Mike: Akron didn’t win a single game last season, but it has actually looked slightly improved this season, especially on offense. It’s averaging six more points and almost 60 yards more per game than last season. The biggest improvement has been the run game. After an FBS-worse 47.6 rushing yards per game last season, the Zips are up to 85th in the country with 140.5 yards per game on the ground this year.
Ace is right — Akron’s strength is clearly going to be running the football. But when it comes to passing situations, the Zips have a clear advantage. They rank 85th in the country in Passing Success Rate, compared to Bowling Green, which sits 121st.
Gibson is nothing special, and yes, he has turned the ball over too often, but he is completing 60% of his passes and has thrown a touchdown in three of his four games this year. Bowling Green quarterback Matt McDonald looks like he has never thrown a football before at times. He has thrown six interceptions and just one touchdown all year, and his 41.2% completion percentage is the lowest in the entire country.
Ace: Honestly, it’s tough to like what you’ve seen from McDonald this season. As Mike pointed out, he has really struggled. That said, these struggles came against some of the best pass defenses in the MAC. Ohio ranks 24th in the nation in yards per pass attempt allowed, Kent State is 49th and Toledo ranks 55th.
None of these pass defenses compare to Akron’s matador defensive secondary. In fact, I couldn’t find a team in history that compares to what we’ve seen from the Zips. No team in the last 20 years even comes close to the 11.7 yards per pass attempt Akron has been allowing. This secondary is an outlier among outliers.
It’s true McDonald has struggled, but he’ll basically be throwing against air on Saturday. I don’t look for him to light up the scoreboard, but plays will be available in the passing game.
Mike: The Akron offense might not give itself many scoring opportunities, but when it does, it has made the most of it. In nine trips to the red zone, the Zips have come away with scores eight times, the 32nd-highest rate in the country.
Bowling Green ranks just 108th in red-zone conversion rate. The Falcons are averaging just 1.9 points per trip past the opponent’s 40, compared to 3.4 points per opportunity for the Zips. The Bowling Green defense is last in the country, allowing 5.2 points per opportunity to its opponents, and ranks 122nd in red-zone defense.
Bowling Green Rejoinder
Ace: Once again, these Bowling Green defensive numbers are coming against the MAC’s best. They aren’t coming against Akron.
Additionally, Akron’s offense has been in the red zone five times all season against opponents not named Kent State. How do you lay points with a team that hasn’t shown the ability to get close enough to score points?
Offensively, Dollard isn’t the only running back on the field who can make plays. The Falcons’ Andrew Clair, named to the preseason Doak Walker Award watch list for three consecutive seasons, is averaging 5.9 yards per carry. This shouldn’t come as a major surprise, as he put up 112 yards against Oregon in 2018. He leads a rushing attack that gains 190 yards per contest. That is tough to do when the passing game is giving you next to nothing and sack yardage counts against rushing stats.
This running game is legit. It will run through Akron.
Why You Should Bet the Zips
Mike: 2020 has not gone the way any of us had planned. In a world full of chaos, what would be more unexpected and chaotic than Akron winning a football game? The Zips have shown signs of life this season, and they know this is probably their only chance to pick up a win this season.
Both of these teams are horrible. But the numbers show that Akron has been slightly better on both offense and defense this season. In a year filled with negativity and lack of hope, I am choosing to believe in something positive.
Akron will finally win a football game.
The Zips deserve this.
America deserves this.
Take Akron -2.5.
Why You Should Bet the Falcons
Ace: We spent most of this article poking some fun at these two programs. The truth is that most of these student-athletes play football better than most people do anything.
When teams are completely inept in most phases of the game one should really focus on the man in charge. Akron’s Tom Arth hasn’t won a game in two seasons. Bowling Green’s Scot Loeffler, who admittedly took over a Falcons’ team in disarray, has yet to show he’s in any way capable of righting the ship. These kids deserve better.
Until that time comes, take the points in a coin-flip game: Bowling Green +3.