Western Michigan vs. Buffalo Odds, Picks: Betting Value on Broncos to Cover Spread (Saturday, Oct. 2)
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kaleb Eleby.
- Western Michigan and Buffalo meet in MAC action on Saturday's college football slate.
- The Broncos enter as touchdown favorites and hold betting value, according to Alex Hinton.
- Check out Hinton's full betting guide below, complete with odds, picks, and predictions for Saturday's game.
Western Michigan vs. Buffalo Odds
|Western Michigan Odds||-7|
|Moneyline||-265 / +215|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
In nonconference play, Western Michigan and Buffalo both challenged themselves.
The Broncos were thumped by Michigan, 47-14, in the season opener but then ripped off three impressive wins. They shut out Illinois State, 28-0, impressively won a shootout at Pitt, 44-41, and shut down San Jose State in a 23-3 victory.
The Bulls blew out Wagner, 69-7, in the season opener and then lost to Nebraska, 28-3. They nearly knocked off No. 16 Coastal Carolina and then survived an epic collapse last week to beat Old Dominion, 35-34.
This week, Western Michigan and Buffalo get their first taste of MACtion this season. It will be their first meeting since the epic 71-68 6OT Western Michigan victory in 2017. The Broncos lead the all-time series, 7-2.
Western Michigan vs. Buffalo Betting Preview
Western Michigan Offense
Very quietly, Western Michigan has one of the best QBs in the country in Kaleb Eleby. He’s completing 62% of his passes with seven touchdowns and zero interceptions this season.
La’Darius Jefferson and Sean Tyler make a solid tandem at running back. Tyler slightly outpaces Jefferson in rushing yards — 282 to 274 — while Jefferson leads the team with six touchdowns.
The Broncos brought back proven playmakers at wide receiver in Skyy Moore and Jaylen Hall. However, it’s been redshirt sophomore Corey Crooms that has taken the next step and leads the team with 334 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Western Michigan’s offensive line has been solid, ranking in the top 50 in Rushing Success Rate, Line Yards, and Havoc allowed.
The Broncos have an advantage against Buffalo in all areas.
Western Michigan Defense
Last year, Western Michigan was a team that was all offense and didn’t play a lick of defense.
Thus far this season, the Broncos’ defense has stepped up as well.
Last week, Western Michigan’s defense completely dominated San Jose State. The Spartans were limited to 119 yards of total offense on 2.13 yards per play. They forced three turnovers and limited San Jose State to an Overall Success Rate of 32.1%.
The Broncos’ pass defense has been their strength this season, ranking 20th in Passing Success Rate.
Defensive end Ali Fayad and defensive tackle Ralph Holley have combined for eight sacks this season and the Broncos are 15th in Havoc.
Buffalo has one of the more balanced offenses that you’ll find.
The Bulls average 204.5 passing yards and 203.8 rushing yards per game. However, the Bulls struggle to create explosive plays, ranking 121st in Big Play percentage.
The Bulls have struggled to replace Jaret Patterson, who was the best running back in their school history.
Kevin Marks split carries with Patterson last year and has gotten the bulk of the carries this season. However, Buffalo may want to rethink that. Marks is averaging 3.8 YPC compared to 5.3 for Dylan McDuffie and 6.7 for Ron Cook Jr.
All of the backs would benefit from improved play from Buffalo’s offensive line. The Bulls rank 106th in Rushing Success Rate, 104th in Line Yards, and 111th in pass blocking.
The Bulls excel at getting after the quarterback, ranking fourth in Pass Rush Grade.
However, that hasn’t helped the pass defense overall. The Bulls rank 98th in Passing Success Rate allowed and 117th in Pass Coverage Grade.
Last week, the Bulls struggled against Old Dominion’s dual threat quarterback D.J. Mack Jr, as he threw for 224 yards and a touchdown and ran for 84 yards and two more touchdowns.
Eleby is a passer first, but, like Mack, he can buy time and extend plays with his legs. That could mean that the Bulls may have similar difficulties going against Eleby this week.
Western Michigan vs. Buffalo Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Western Michigan and Buffalo match up statistically:
Western Michigan Offense vs. Buffalo Defense
Buffalo Offense vs. Western Michigan Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Western Michigan vs. Buffalo Betting Pick
Western Michigan faced a tougher non-conference schedule than Buffalo and looked better against that competition.
Now, matching up head-to-head, Western Michigan has many advantages on both sides of the ball. The Broncos’ advantage in the trenches stands out to me.
Western Michigan will be able to run the ball with success against Buffalo. That will keep it out of third-and-long situations and negate Buffalo’s pass rush to a degree. Also, Eleby is going to pick this Buffalo secondary apart when he has time.
Additionally, Buffalo is going to have a hard time running on Western Michigan and blocking Fayad and Holley.
The Bulls’ lack of explosiveness will hurt in this matchup as they struggle to finish off their scoring opportunities.
I like Western Michigan to cover the spread here and I would play it up to -7.5.