Kent State vs Ball State Pick, Prediction: Betting Value on Cardinals
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ball State’s Mike Neu.
Kent State Golden Flashes vs Ball State Cardinals Odds
Ball State welcomes Kent State to Scheumann Stadium for a rare Mid-American Conference game on a November Saturday.
The Cardinals have won two of their past three, including in the Battle of the Bronze Stalk, and are 3-7 on the year.
Meanwhile, the Golden Flashes have struggled under first-year coach Kenni Burns and have yet to beat an FBS opponent this season.
This won't be the most appealing game on Saturday's slate, but there's still betting value, so let's make a Kent State vs. Ball State prediction.
Things haven't gone to plan in Burns' debut campaign, though the former Minnesota assistant coach wasn’t left with much to work with.
The Golden Flashes had to replace 11 offensive starters from last season and brought in 19 transfers to the roster.
One of those transfers was quarterback Michael Alaimo, who won the starting job after coming over from Purdue. However, his recent injury has forced Burns to turn to Tommy Ulatowski.
To his credit, Ulatowski has played pretty well in his past two starts, including a four-touchdown performance (three passing, one rushing) against Akron. He followed that up with a career-best 284 passing yards against Bowling Green and will need another strong performance to give the Flashes a chance here.
The Cardinals have also made a recent change at quarterback. Kiael Kelly has been the starter over the past four games and has led the team to a 2-2 record.
Kelly had his best performance in the Battle for the Bronze Stalk victory last week against Northern Illinois, and yes, you need to see a photo of the trophy.
As far as Kelly’s outing, he set career highs in rushing yards (66), completions (15) and passing yards (115). He also found the endzone with his legs in the rivalry win.
Additionally, Kelly needs just 41 more rushing yards to pass Riley Neal (2016) for the most rushing yards by a Ball State quarterback since 2000.
Running back Marquez Cooper has been another key offensive performance and if he can get 233 yards on the ground in the final two outings, it will be his third straight campaign with 1,000 rushing yards.
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Kent State and Ball State match up statistically:
Kent State Offense vs. Ball State Defense
Ball State Offense vs. Kent State Defense
Pace of Play / Other
|Special Teams SP+||61||116|
|Seconds per Play||27.6 (78)||29.1 (105)|
|Rush Rate||59.9% (42)||57.9% (37)|
Kent State vs Ball State
Betting Pick & Prediction
Whether you look at the full season or metrics for the past four weeks, Kent State is in the conversation for the worst team in the country. In fact, I don’t know if you can set a spread high enough to fade the Golden Flashes.
So, my best bet is to take Ball State -12.5, which I would play to -14.
The key path to success in this matchup is going to be the Cardinals’ rushing attack. This offense ranks in the top 10 among Non-Power 5 programs in Line Yards, Rush PPA and Rush Success over the past four weeks.
There should be plenty of holes to run through against a Golden Flashes defense that's in the bottom 10 over that same stretch in Defensive Rush Success. It also doesn’t help that Kent State is 131st in Defensive Finishing Drives.
Give me the home team to control the line scrimmage and cover the spread.
Pick: Ball State -12.5 (Play to -14)
The new ESPN Sportsbook is now online and you can use Action’s ESPN BET promo code TANBONUS for a new user welcome.