College Football Odds & Picks for Kent State vs. Buffalo: Where is the Betting Value For Saturday MACtion?
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Dustin Crum.
- It's time for Saturday MACtion.
- While it's not the same as a college football game during the week, Buffalo and Kent State provide an entertaining matchup that could have conference title game implications.
- Check out Mike Ianniello's full betting breakdown with updated odds below.
Kent State vs. Buffalo Odds
|Kent State Odds||+7 [BET NOW]|
|Buffalo Odds||-7 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+210 / -264 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||67.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, noon ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
Let’s all take a moment of silence to mourn the end of midweek MACtion. What a glorious three weeks of weekday gambling it was for us bettors. It won’t garner the attention it typically would on a Tuesday night, but MACtion will still bring all the chaos we know and love, even on a Saturday afternoon.
This weekend’s matchup with 3-0 Kent State traveling to 3-0 Buffalo will likely decide which team represents the East Division in the MAC Championship in Detroit on Dec. 18.
Kent State Golden Flashes
Kent State’s offense has been the best in the country through its first three games. It leads the nation with 52.7 points and 616 total yards per game. The Golden Flashes rank No. 1 in Passing Success and No. 8 in Rushing Success and are averaging 5.4 points every time they cross the opponent’s 40-yard line.
Senior quarterback Dustin Crum is completing more than 75% of his passes and ranks second in the MAC with 279.3 yards per game. At the skill positions, the Golden Flashes have depth and spread the ball around extremely well. Four wide receivers are averaging more than three receptions per game, and three different running backs are all averaging at least 60 yards on the ground per game.
Sean Lewis is in his third season as head coach of the Golden Flashes, and the 34-year-old is the youngest head coach in the FBS. His team can move the ball, and it does so quickly, sitting 17th in the country in seconds per play.
On defense, the Flashes’ strength is getting after the quarterback and causing Havoc. Kent State is first in the country in Sack Rate and ranks 14th in Havoc Rate. The biggest weakness on defense is giving up the big play, ranking 124th against explosiveness.
It’s important to note that Kent State has played its three games against Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green and Akron. Those teams are a combined 0-9 this season. Bowling Green and Akron are two of the worst teams in the entire country and combined for 472 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground against the Golden Flashes.
The Buffalo Bulls entered the season as the favorite to win the MAC Championship this year, and have started 3-0 led by 44.3 points per game and one of the best running backs in the conference, and the entire country.
Jaret Patterson paces the nation with 170.3 rushing yards per game. Last week, Patterson set a school record with 301 yards on 31 carries and scored four touchdowns against Bowling Green.
Patterson is averaging 7.2 yards per carry this season, and running mate Kevin Marks isn’t far behind, going for 6.2 yards per rush himself.
The Bulls are clearly a run-first team, but they have actually not been nearly as one-dimensional as they were last season. They’re averaging just 18.7 pass attempts per game, last in the MAC. But when they do throw the ball, they have caught defenses off-guard and found success.
Quarterback Kyle Vantrease has more than doubled his yards per game production from last season and is averaging 10.8 yards per attempt. Buffalo ranks seventh in the country in Passing Success Rate and 10th in Passing Explosiveness.
The key to the Bulls’ success has been the group of cattle on the offensive line. The Buffalo offensive line is made up of three seniors, a junior, and a sophomore who started all 13 games last season. The group is the only team in the country that has not allowed a sack all season, and it’s third in Line Yards, fourth in Stuff Rate and second in Havoc allowed.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Are the Kent State offensive numbers inflated due to a small sample size against bad opponents? Yes. Is the Kent State offense still good enough to move the ball against the Buffalo defense? Also, yes.
The Bulls defense has not been as stout as it was last season, especially against the run, sitting just 77th in the country in Rushing Success on defense. Buffalo is also 114th in tackling, according to Pro Football Focus.
The best asset for the Kent State defense has been its ability to get into the backfield and after the quarterback. That will be neutralized this week against the Bulls’ terrific offensive line.
Kent State is one of the fastest teams in the country, ranking 17th in seconds per play, and Buffalo is one of the slowest at 112th.
That might not keep Buffalo from scoring quickly though, as Kent State has really struggled giving up big plays this season, ranking 123rd against explosiveness. That will be a problem for a Buffalo team that sits eighth in the country in explosiveness.
I think Buffalo will win this game, but I don’t like laying more than a touchdown. The best bet here is on the over, as both teams have no problem moving the ball and rank first and sixth in Finishing Drives.
The over in MAC games is 11-6 this season, including 2-1 for each of these teams. Just because it’s Saturday, doesn’t mean we won’t still get a good old-fashioned MACtion matchup.
I would bet Buffalo if the line drops to -6.5 or better and the over at 72 or better.
Pick: Over 67.5 (up to 72) | Buffalo at -6.5 or better