Eastern Michigan vs. Akron Betting Picks & Odds: Will the Zips Continue to Fall Short?

Eastern Michigan vs. Akron Betting Picks & Odds: Will the Zips Continue to Fall Short? article feature image

Patrick Gorski, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Kato Nelson

  • Check out the latest betting odds and picks for Tuesday night's MAC football game between Eastern Michigan and Akron.
  • EMU is a massive 17-point favorite with the over/under at 46.5. Will the Zips cover for the first time all season?

Eastern Michigan at Akron Betting Picks & Odds

  • Spread: Eastern Michigan -17
  • Over/Under: 46.5
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET

Odds via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.

Both of these reeling teams should be motivated on Tuesday night. Eastern Michigan needs to win out to qualify for a bowl game and Akron is trying to avoid a winless season.

The primary question for this game is determining just how bad Akron is?

Not only is Akron winless, but the Zips have yet to cover a game. If they fail to beat the number on Tuesday night, the Zips will become the first team in our database to start a season 0-10 Against the Spread (ATS). They didn’t even cover against UMass, who is 0-8 ATS against teams not named Akron.

It gets even more comical. The Zips are so bad that they have only covered one first-half spread.

Unfortunately, I’ve watched a lot of Akron games. Which is to say I’ve lit a lot of money on fire. It’s been painful but the one positive thing I will say is, relatively speaking, the defense isn’t terrible.

On the season, Akron is only allowing 5.4 yards per play, which ranks in the top-60 nationally, and 4.3 yards per rush. Compared to Eastern Michigan, that’s a good defense. The Eagles surrender 6.2 yards per play and 4.8 yards per rush.

The Zips don’t get any pressure on opposing quarterbacks but possess a solid group of linebackers, which can go a long way in a game in potential blizzard-like conditions.

The primary problem in Rubber City is the offense. The Zips are a disaster when they have the rock. Akron’s offensive line ranks 130th in line yards and standard line yards, so it should come as no surprise that the Zips have the worst rushing attack in the country, averaging 1.9 yards per carry.

Things don’t get all that much better in passing situations. The Zips give up way too many sacks and they turn the ball over on a regular basis.

Trying to win with an offensive line that ranks 130th in stuff rate and 124th in sack rate is almost impossible, especially when your quarterbacks are forcing throws into coverage. It basically means they are getting no push up front, stopped in the backfield and then either throwing a pick (or hopefully incompletion) or getting sacked.

That’s pretty much as bad as it gets on offense. And that, in turn, eventually wears down the defense, which is spending the entire game on the field.

Now for the silver lining. Akron’s best, and only, effective running option is dual-threat quarterback Kato Nelson, who can have some success on the ground. That could help them move the ball against a poor Eastern Michigan defense. The lack of footing should also help Nelson, as the defense is always at a disadvantage in these types of conditions.

Akron has, arguably, the worst offense in the country. However, Eastern Michigan’s defense is right there, too. The Eagles’ defense ranks 128th in line yards, 129th in stuff rate and 130th in standard down line yards. If Akron was ever going to run against any team, it would be Eastern Michigan.

I think the windy and snowy conditions will ultimately help Akron on Tuesday night. That kind of weather will put an emphasis on the run game and Akron has the better front 7 on defense and the legs of Nelson on a slick field could keep the chains moving.

The Zips played a pure running team in Buffalo a few weeks ago at home and lost 21-0, but they were without Nelson in that game and gave the ball away four times — including two scoop-and-score fumbles. Besides horrible fumble luck, the Zips played the Bulls pretty evenly. I think you get a similar effort here in worse conditions with Nelson back.

I didn’t want to play Akron after being burned this season but I know better than to hold grudges in this gig. Having a short-term memory is a key to surviving any college football season.

I will be waiting for an updated forecast in the morning, but as of now, I’m leaning toward playing Akron +17. Pray for me.

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