Western Michigan vs. Ball State Odds, Picks: Betting Preview for This College Football MAC Battle
Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Ball State Cardinals quarterback John Paddock (5).
- The MAC opens up its college football season with a battle between Western Michigan and Ball State.
- Both teams failed to win and cover the spread in their first matchups of the season.
- How will this one play out? Matt Wispe dives in with a preview and a best bet.
Western Michigan vs. Ball State Odds
MACtion gets underway with the first matchup between two conference foes. This conference duel will feel like a respite for both teams, as they opened their seasons against Power Five opponents.
When these two teams met in 2021, Ball State walked away with a 25-point victory.
Western Michigan enters this matchup following a loss to Michigan State. In addition to the loss, the Broncos failed to cover a 21.5-point spread.
Ball State enters this matchup following its loss to Tennessee. The Cardinals scored just 10 points and fell short of covering the 36.5-point spread.
Winds for this game are projected to range from 7.6 miles per hour to 9.2 miles per hour. With forecasted crosswinds, there may be some minor affect on the passing game and special teams, but typically winds under 10 mph don't create enough of an impact to greatly change scoring.
Western Michigan hopes to improve after its 22-point loss in Week 1. Against Michigan State, the Broncos averaged just 4.58 yards per play and their 30.7 seconds per play pace was among the slowest in the country.
In 2021, they averaged 6.34 yards per play with a slightly faster pace of 28.7 seconds per play.
Jack Salopek took over the starting job for 2022 after Kaleb Eleby decided to enter the NFL draft following the 2021 season. Prior to last week, he had attempted just five passes in his college career.
Against Michigan State, he completed 58.3% of his passes for an average of 5.4 yards per attempt, but the team only managed a 37.2% Passing Success Rate.
The running game struggled similarly with a 34.4% Rushing Success Rate. The highlight of the offense was Sean Tyler, who averaged 5.2 yards per carry in Week 1 on 13 carries.
If the Broncos' offensive line can return to their 2021 level of play — with 3.53 Line Yards per play rather than their 2.14 yards per play from Week 1 — Tyler will be heavily featured and successful in this matchup.
In 2021, the Broncos allowed 331.9 yards per game and 28.2 points per game. They generated Havoc on 21.7% of plays and allowed a 38.7% Success Rate.
Against Michigan State, they allowed a 45.4% Success Rate and generated Havoc on just 10.9% of plays.
If these numbers move closer to their 2021 levels, the Broncos' defense will be a challenge for this Ball State offense.
Starting off a season against an SEC opponent is a big ask for a MAC team that finished the 2021 campaign with a 6-7 record.
The Cardinals averaged 4.9 yards per play against the Volunteers and 25.7 seconds per play. In 2021, they averaged 4.98 yards per play and 24.4 seconds per play.
John Paddock got the start at quarterback replacing Drew Plitt. He had 34 career pass attempts prior to last week. Against Tennessee, he completed 27 of his 43 pass attempts for an average of 6.3 yards per attempt.
As a team, the Cardinals had a 42.8% Passing Success Rate.
Carson Steele returned for his second season as the starting running back. He averaged 5.1 yards per touch and had seven scores in 2021, but he failed to make a significant impact in Week 1, with just 41 total yards from scrimmage.
The offensive line generated 2.3 Line Yards per play and allowed a 29.6% Stuff Rate.
After allowing 59 points to Tennessee, the Cardinals' defense is hoping for a return to its 2021 level of play when it allowed an average of 28.4 points per game.
Creating turnovers and negative plays isn't a strength for this defense. It generated Havoc on just 9.3% of plays against Tennessee in Week 1 and just 12.8% of plays in 2021.
Western Michigan vs. Ball State Betting Pick
Western Michigan opened as a 6.5-point favorite and the line has held steady. The total, however, opened at 55.5 and has dropped three points to 52.5.
According to the Public Betting tool, 78% of bets and 71% of the money has come in for Western Michigan, and sharp money has come in on the Broncos.
Since dropping to 52.5, 75% of bets and 97% of the money has come in favor of the over.
Both of these teams suffered major losses to their returning production in the offseason, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
With enough questions about their defenses, the best play in this game is on the total. Both teams were overmatched by Power Five opponents in Week 1 and should find themselves on an even playing field against a conference opponent.
These two teams combined for 65 points in 2021 and each team has proven competent running back play.
If their new quarterbacks can begin to take steps forward with additional work, these teams should be have no issues reaching the mid-20s with the winner scoring in the 30s.