Eastern Michigan vs Akron Odds & Predictions: Expect Defenses to Shine
Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Akron tight end Grant Gainer.
Eastern Michigan vs Akron Odds
|Eastern Michigan Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Akron made one of the better offseason coaching hires when it brought in Joe Moorhead from Oregon. He had success as offensive coordinator at Oregon and Penn State, and he took Mississippi State to a bowl game in each of his two seasons there.
The offensive mind did some great things in the transfer portal, bringing in a load of Power Five transfers.
But it has not translated to immediate success.
The Zips continue to struggle, sitting 1-8 on the year and 0-5 in MAC play. But they’re getting close. Akron lost to Bowling Green by three points, Central Michigan by seven and Kent State by six.
Eastern Michigan has been a middling team for the entire Chris Creighton era. It's alternated winning and losing seasons for the last six years. If the pattern holds, this would be a losing season, but it's currently 5-4 after a manageable nonconference schedule and a big win over Arizona State.
The Eagles have started 2-3 in conference play, and last week’s loss to Toledo likely takes them out of conference championship contention. They should have a good opportunity to bounce back, though, laying over a touchdown against Akron.
We know everybody wants to bet midweek MACtion, so what's the best way to attack this matchup?
Finding consistent quarterback play has been an issue for the Eagles offense all season. Ben Bryant transferred back to Cincinnati, and Preston Hutchinson transferred to Chattanooga, leading to Taylor Powell transferring in from Troy.
He has missed three games throughout the season with injuries, but Powell is averaging just 205.3 yards per game with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions in six games.
Austin Smith is more of a dual threat, averaging 170 passing yards and 53 rushing yards in his starts. Creighton has been rotating both quarterbacks since Powell’s return.
Speaking of running the ball, the ground game has surprisingly been Eastern Michigan’s strength this season. Samson Evans has averaged over 90 yards on the ground per game this season, something the Eagles haven’t had a player do since 2013.
Guard Sidy Sow and tackle Brian Dooley will both likely be first-team All-MAC and lead an offensive line that has helped Eastern Michigan rank 29th in the country in Rushing Success Rate and accrue 17 rushing scores, which is tied for the conference lead.
On the other side of the ball, defending the run has been the issue. The Eagles are really undersized up front, and they get pushed around at times. They rank outside of the top 90 in Rushing Success and Line Yards.
The star of the show is edge rusher Jose Ramirez. Much like the Cleveland Gaurdians player with the same name, he's basically this entire team. He has totaled eight sacks and 11 tackles for loss in his last four games.
After using two quarterbacks last year, Akron lost the better passer when Zach Gibson left for Georgia Tech.
Dual-threat DJ Irons has averaged 279 yards through the air this season with nine touchdowns and six interceptions while adding has added 282 yards and four scores on the ground.
The Zips have the second-fewest rushing yards in the country, as Irons is actually the team’s leading rusher. Minnesota transfer Cam Wiley is averaging just 26.8 yards per game, and Clyde Price III has gone for 20.3
Of all the Power Five transfers that Akron brought in this offseason, wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis has been the most productive while also being the most fun name to say in college football. Jacques-Louis is averaging 85.6 yards per game this year.
In fact, the whole wide receiver room has been revamped with transfers Alex Adams (LSU) and Daniel George (Penn State) sitting second and third in receiving, respectively.
Akron’s defensive transfers have not been able to make as much of a difference, as the Zips still rank outside of the top 100 at defending the pass and the rush. They’re the worst in the MAC, allowing 6.6 yards per play.
Linebacker Bubba Arslanian has returned to form after suffering a season-ending injury in Week 4 last year.
He leads the team with 97 tackles and eight tackles for loss. Behind him, though, this unit just has no answer to defend the pass. It ranks 129th in PFF coverage grade.
Eastern Michigan vs Akron Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Eastern Michigan and Akron match up statistically:
Eastern Michigan Offense vs. Akron Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Akron Offense vs. Eastern Michigan Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||26||128|
|Seconds per Play||26.8 (77)||25.0 (34)|
|Rush Rate||56.8% (46)||41.5% (125)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Eastern Michigan vs Akron Betting Pick
Akron has a complete inability to run the football, and because of that, it basically doesn’t even try. The Zips rank 125th in rushing rate this season.
Eastern Michigan’s defense has been worse defending the pass this year, but it's gotten much better during conference play. Akron's one-dimensional offense will allow it to focus more on coverage and defending the pass.
Expect Ramirez to pin his ears back and get a ton of pressure against this terrible offensive line.
While Akron’s defense has been a mess, Eastern Michigan has struggled at quarterback and struggled to find success through the air. I expect it to feed Evans all game here, and while he should have a ton of success, the Eagles play at a very slow pace and are one of the least explosive teams in the country.
Betting an under in MACtion is always terrifying because you're just constantly sweating a pick-six or blocked punt for a touchdown, but both of these teams have cashed an under in three straight games.