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Ohio vs Ball State Betting Odds, Predictions: Our Top MACtion Pick

Ohio vs Ball State Betting Odds, Predictions: Our Top MACtion Pick article feature image

James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ball State running back Carson Steele.

Ohio vs Ball State Odds

Tuesday, Nov. 15
7 p.m. ET
Ohio Odds
-115o / -105u
Ball State Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Three teams were tied with a 4-1 record in the MAC East entering last week. Ohio now stands alone atop the division after its 37-21 victory over Miami (OH) in last week's midweek MACtion.

The Bobcats are now in control of their own destiny with just two games remaining. First up is Ball State.

In 2020, the Cardinals defeated Buffalo to cap off a 7-1 MAC Championship run. Since then, the program has a record of just 11-12 while splitting its 14 conference games.

Ball State needs to secure a victory in one of its final two games to become bowl-eligible this season.

Does Ohio take control of the East, or does Ball State become bowl-eligible after this matchup?

Ohio Bobcats

The Bobcats are streaking and show no signs of letting up anytime soon. The program has now won five games in a row, including three outright upsets as underdogs.

More importantly for bettors, the Bobcats have covered the spread in all six MAC games this season.

Much of that is due to the unexpected success of quarterback Kurtis Rourke. Last season, Rourke was more of a game manager who averaged 180 yards per game and 6.9 yards per pass attempt.

But this year, the junior has exploded throwing for over 300 passing yards per game while averaging 9.2 yards per attempt. He has tossed 24 touchdowns to only four interceptions this season.

It doesn’t hurt that he has a former Ohio State wide receiver in Sam Wiglusz to throw to. Wiglusz is averaging six receptions per game in the slot and has found the end zone on nine occasions this season.

The Ohio defense has been a question mark. It's allowed 30 points and nearly 450 yards per game, ranking outside the top 90 nationally in both categories.

The Bobs will be attacked by a Ball State offense that has thrown the ball often without much success. The Cardinals rank 13th in the nation, averaging 40 passes per game, but they've mustered just 5.9 yards per attempt to rank 120th.

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Ball State Cardinals

Ball State has gone 2-2 in nonconference play with its average margin of victory sitting at 24 points in those matchups. The Cardinals have gone .500 in their six MAC games this year, but each one has been decided by seven points or less.

The loss last week to Toledo eliminated Ball State from contention in the MAC West, but a victory in one of the next two games will send the program to postseason play for the third time in four years.

The offense is spearheaded by running back Carson Steele. The sophomore running back is averaging 25 carries a game while putting up 5.1 yards per carry and finding the end zone 12 times this season. In his six games against conference foes, Steele is averaging 138 yards per game.

Steele has been a monster in November specifically.

He rushed for 192 yards on 29 carries against Kent State two weeks ago and followed that up with 198 yards and three touchdowns against Toledo.

Though Ball State wants to feed Steele, the Cardinals still throw the ball over 40 times per game.

Redshirt junior quarterback John Paddock has been largely mediocre this season, averaging 230 yards per game. It's less ideal when that average comes from nearly 40 pass attempts per game for only 5.8 yards per pass attempt.

Paddock has 16 touchdowns passes this season, but he’s also thrown 11 interceptions, including one in eight of his 10 games this season.

Ohio vs Ball State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Ohio and Ball State match up statistically:

Ohio Offense vs. Ball State Defense
Rush Success10786
Line Yards8982
Pass Success1775
Pass Blocking**110104
Finishing Drives7448
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Ball State Offense vs. Ohio Defense
Rush Success9164
Line Yards4859
Pass Success83116
Pass Blocking**6382
Finishing Drives9363
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling12215
PFF Coverage12063
SP+ Special Teams11291
Seconds per Play28.2 (104)22.3 (9)
Rush Rate47.9% (101)47.4% (106)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Ohio vs Ball State Betting Pick

Ohio is the hottest team in the MAC, having covered the spread in all six matchups against conference opponents this season.

But the Bobcats are coming off a victory over in-state rival Miami (OH) and will now be traveling on the road against a sneaky Ball State team that boasts one of the top running backs in the conference.

Steele has rushed for over 190 yards two weeks in a row against Kent State and Toledo. The Ohio rushing defense has certainly had its moments recently, holding Akron, Western Michigan, Buffalo and Miami (OH) to a combined average of 59 rushing yards per game.

But we’ve seen it get gashed on the ground at times, allowing 605 yards rushing to Northern Illinois and Kent State. Ball State has the ground attack to put up similar numbers in this game.

The Cardinals defense has been strong against the pass, allowing just 6.2 yards per pass attempt this season. They can limit the big plays and keep Rourke in check.

Ohio is taking over 80% of the money in this game, and I consider myself a contrarian. This is a great sell-high spot on the Bobcats, so I'll back Ball State to become bowl eligible as a home underdog.

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