Ohio vs. Western Michigan Odds, Picks: Saturday College Football Betting Guide
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Kurtis Rourke & Sieh Bangura (Ohio)
- Ohio and Western Michigan face off in a Week 7 college football MAC battle.
- Keep your eyes on Ohio quarterback Kurtis Rourke ("The Maple Missile").
- Can Rourke help hit the over? Dan Keegan breaks it all down below.
Ohio vs. Western Michigan Odds
Ohio and Western Michigan meet in a clash that would have you enthralled if it was played on a Tuesday evening in November.
Unfortunately, it is not in a true “MACtion” window, slipping through the cracks on a Saturday at the same time as some colossal matchups in other parts of the country.
There is intrigue anyway, and potential for points aplenty — both defenses are in the bottom 15 in the country in SP+.
Does that mean the over is the best play? Let’s take a look!
The Bobcats have started the year at 3-3, sandwiching two Power Five blowout losses (Iowa State and Penn State) between one-score wins over FIU and FCS Fordham. They split their next two in conference play, a loss to Kent State and then a win over Akron.
Ohio’s offense has come to life when freed from the constraints of top-20 SP+ defenses. The Bobcats scored 10 points per game and averaged 249 yards against PSU and ISU, but have averaged 44.7 points and 545 yards in the other four games.
Expect more of the latter against Western Michigan’s accommodating defense (118th in SP+).
Quarterback Kurtis Rourke — aka “The Maple Missile” — has been the star of the show for Ohio. The veteran has been starting since 2020, and is having a career year for the Bobcats. He is fifth in the country in passing yards with 1,944 and has thrown 14 touchdowns to only two picks.
He has been dynamite against the non-behemoth opponents, averaging 408 yards per game with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The Ohio passing game is 44th in passing EPA.
The air attack is bolstered by the recent emergence of freshman running back Sieh Bangura. Like his backfield counterpart, Bangura is thriving against MAC defenses, with 189 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and four touchdowns in the last two games.
This is still a pass-first offense — its 43.9% rush rate is 115th in the country — but the Bobcats are finding more success on the ground in league play.
Defensively, Ohio is struggling. It has yet to keep an opponent under 31 points a game. It's also 126th against the pass in Beta_Rank and 114th against the rush in that same ranking.
This is not a unit whose metrics mask a disparity of play when playing top opponents, like the offense. The Bobcats allowed Akron (124th in offensive SP+) to have its highest scoring week of the season, and also allowed big outings to FAU (88th), Kent State (82nd) and Fordham (FCS).
They are equal opportunity givers.
It’s been a long year in Kalamazoo. The offense has struggled to replace multi-year standouts in quarterback Kaleb Eleby and wide receiver Skyy Moore.
Redshirt freshman Jack Salopek is the quarterback, and while there have been some flashes of nice play, there are also the two games against Eastern Michigan (15-of-40, 208 yards) and Pittsburgh (6-of-18, 99 yards) on his resume.
The nadir for the offense came against San Jose State, a game that Salopek missed due to injury. The Broncos scored six points and kept the ball entirely on the ground (50 rush attempts to 13 passes) despite trailing all game.
The passing game has worked when it’s needed to, stepping up to 48th in explosive plays in passing down situations. While this isn’t a dangerous attack overall, this is an area where they could have some success on Saturday, as Ohio is 111th in preventing explosives in those situations.
The Broncos have been susceptible to negative drives — three-and-outs and turnovers — in Beta_Rank’s measure of that statistic, ranking 130th.
But Ohio’s defense doesn’t create any negative drives, either — its defense is 126th in that metric.
The Broncos have not had a banner year on offense, but they should find more success than usual moving the ball against a defense that has consistently allowed teams to overperform their normal expectations.
And what about their chances of slowing down an Ohio offense that has only been slowed down by top-20 opponents? I don’t like the Broncos' chances against "The Maple Missile."
The Broncos have yet to hold an FBS opponent under 30. They do try to turn you over — ranking 34th in Havoc — but Rourke has yet to turn the ball over against a team not named Penn State or Iowa State.
Ohio vs. Western Michigan Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Ohio and Western Michigan match up statistically:
Ohio Offense vs. Western Michigan Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Western Michigan Offense vs. Ohio Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||81||49|
|Seconds per Play||27.4 (87)||27.2 (81)|
|Rush Rate||43.9% (115)||55.8% (53)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Ohio vs. Western Michigan Betting Pick
Two defenses that haven’t stopped anyone all season. A star quarterback who has diced up every foe that’s not in the Power Five. Nice clear weather in Kalamazoo.
Yeah, I don’t want to overthink this. I think this game is going to be incredibly points-y.
Salopek’s inexperience and his two dud games give me some pause that WMU might not pull its side of the weight in a game over.
For that reason, I do like the Ohio team over at 29.5 at DraftKings, although you have to pay a pretty penny at -125.
But Ohio hasn’t stopped anyone this year, and this is WMU’s homecoming. The Broncos will do their part, too. I’ll take the over 58.5, and will play it to 60.5.