College Football Odds & Picks for Buffalo vs. Ohio: Betting Value on Saturday’s Over/Under
Joe Robbins/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaret Patterson.
Editors Note: Saturday’s Buffalo vs. Ohio game has been canceled due to the Bobcats program’s internal issues with COVID-19. Collin Wilson’s forthcoming betting guide has remained largely unadulterated point-in-time in order to best serve your long-term betting needs.
Buffalo Bulls vs. Ohio Bobcats
One of the top stories in college football during Week 13 was running back Jaret Patterson’s rushing yards. The junior had 409 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in the Bulls’ 70-41 win against Kent State.
Unfortunately, Patterson came up just 18 yards short of tying the single-game rushing yardage record (427), originally set by Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine in 2014. Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold simply did not know that Patterson was close to breaking multiple records before pulling him from the game.
The Bulls are one victory away from clinching the MAC East title, with victories over Kent State and Miami (OH). The Bulls’ 2020 season statistics have been astounding: The team averages 230 rushing yards per game, and Patterson has totaled 16 rushing touchdowns by himself — more than 31 other FBS team totals.
Despite all the offensive accolades, the Bulls defense has given up points. Kent State and Northern Illinois each posted 30 point efforts against the Bulls, with the Golden Flashes gaining 578 total yards. Opposing offenses have found success due to the Bulls’ poor grades in tackling (94th) and defensive pass explosiveness (92nd), per Pro Football Focus. Thankfully for Buffalo, no MAC offense has been able to keep up with Patterson.
A field goal loss to Central Michigan to open the MAC conference slate derailed what could have been an undefeated 2020-21 season for the Bobcats. With the departure of quarterback Nathan Rourke, Ohio was set to have a rebuilding year to replicate a MAC offense that has been successful for years.
Thanks to running back De’Montre Tuggle, the ground explosiveness is still a go-to weapon for the Bobcats. Tuggle now ranks top-10 in breakaway percentage among all FBS running backs with 40 carries or more.
— . (@FTBBurner11) November 28, 2020
The more interesting aspect of Frank Solich’s offense is the quarterback rotation of Kurtis Rourke and UNLV-transfer Armani Rogers. Rourke has been the primary passer throughout the season, but Rodgers’ breakaway speed in the run game has made a nasty one-two punch with Tuggle.
The Ohio defense has played much like former versions of the Bobcats, ranking outside the top 100 in Havoc and Line Yards. Nonetheless, Ohio’s eighth-place rank in defensive finishing drives illustrates how stingy Ohio has been up against the goal line. Opponents have posted just five touchdowns in nine red-zone attempts versus the Bobcats.
Betting Analysis & Pick
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Per The Action Network Power Ratings, the point spread is a tad inflated. The number did open at Buffalo by a touchdown as projected, but the number has moved to Ohio +11 throughout the week. This move is expected after Patterson’s near record-breaking Week 13 performance. The question remains whether or not the Ohio defense can stop a Buffalo offense that ranks second in momentum kills — the measure of offense interrupted — per Sport Source Analytics.
As mentioned earlier, Ohio does not have the best numbers defensively in the trenches. Throw in a tackling grade of 122nd, per PFF, and there is reason to believe that Patterson can run wild in Athens. Although the Ohio defense has great marks in Finishing Drives, Buffalo features an offense that can score from any field position on any down.
If there’s no resistance to the Buffalo ground game, is there an avenue for Ohio to keep up on the scoreboard? The Bobcats can’t compete with the Bulls in momentum kills. Ohio ranks 114th in that category, which is a result of one of the worst Sack Rates in FBS.
Frank Solich’s group has struggled on passing downs, posting a rank of 83rd in Success Rate and 75th in explosiveness. The Buffalo defense ranks 84th in standard downs Success Rate, meaning Ohio must gain the needed yards on first or second down to avoid momentum kills.
Per SportsInsights, Mother Nature may have her say in this game. The forecast for Peden Stadium includes rain and wind, which may leave two rush-heavy teams to exceed yearly ratios on ground attempts.
While Buffalo is the more competent team from an offensive perspective, neither defense is going to combat the rush explosiveness of Tuggle and Patterson. Our Pace Report puts this game at a total of 58, but there will be plenty of opportunities for both Ohio and Buffalo to put up a number of explosive touchdowns.
Pick: Over 58.5 or better.