Tuesday College Football MACtion Odds, Lines: Picks, Betting Predictions for EMU-NIU, Ohio-Bowling Green (November 19, 2019)
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Eastern Michigan kicker Chad Ryland
MACtion is in full swing, with another pair of Tuesday night games — Eastern Michigan at Northern Illinois (-5) and Ohio at Bowling Green (-20.5). Our experts break down the odds and lines from every angle, and give their betting picks and predictions.
Eastern Michigan vs. NIU Odds
- Spread: Northern Illinois -5
- Over/Under: 54
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
Collin Wilson: Fade the EMU Steam?
Circa Sports opened this number at Northern Illinois -7 and it slowly crashed behind some early money on Eastern Michigan.
The Eagles have an advantage with Mike Glass III in the passing game, as Eastern Michigan ranks 22nd in passing success rate. Four different EMU receivers have at least 30 catches and Glass has not thrown an interception in his last three games.
The Huskies, who field a defense that ranks 124th in preventing explosive rushes and 111th in sack rate, have had issues with air attacks in losses to Miami of Ohio and Central Michigan.
The Over/Under is steaming over our projected total of 50.5, but with both teams struggling to limit explosiveness, there could be a few quick scores.
As for the side, our projected spread is Northern Illinois -3.5, so there’s some value on the Eagles through a field goal.
I will be looking to back Eastern Michigan, either pregame or live.
Kyle Miller: Is EMU’s Edge in the Air Going To Be the Difference?
It’s been a roller coaster of a season for Chris Creighton and Eastern Michigan. A win over Illinois in Champaign was followed up with a miracle, last-second win against FCS Central Connecticut and back-to-back losses to open conference play. A win over MAC West leader Western Michigan had me thinking the Eagles were back on track, but they went on to drop their next two.
After last week’s win against Akron, this squad finds themselves one win away from bowl eligibility with two games to go. They’ll have a toss-up game at home against Kent State but this week the Eagles travel back to the state of Illinois to face Northern.
Northern Illinois has bowl motivation of their own, but they have a much tougher path. They’ll need to beat Eastern Michigan this week and then take down Western Michigan as a significant home underdog next week.
With motivations outlined for each team, it’s time to dig into the advanced statistics. Only one of the four units in this game rank better than 96th according to SP+: Eastern Michigan’s offense. They use a pass-heavy offense that ranks 22nd in passing success rate on the year. Glass has been up and down for much of the season, just like his team. I expect to get one of his best performances this week as the senior tries to get to a bowl game one last time.
Northern Illinois’ defense has gotten great play from their linemen but the same can’t be said about their secondary. The Huskies rank 41st in rushing success rate defense but just 90th in passing success rate. Eastern will be able to complete passes all the way down the field against this defense.
Eastern’s defense and Northern Illinois’ offense is a bad-on-bad situation. Northern Illinois has a little bit of explosiveness, but not a shred of efficiency. If they aren’t hitting long plays, then they aren’t moving the ball much at all. Eastern Michigan’s defense is bad, but they do rank 43rd in defending explosive plays.
I’m betting that Eastern Michigan gets bowl eligible on Tuesday night in chilly Dekalb, IL, but I’ll take the +5.
Ohio at Bowling Green Betting Odds
- Spread: Ohio -20.5
- Over/Under: 57
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPNU
Collin Wilson: Has This Spread Moved Too Much?
There is an outside chance that a 6-6 Ohio team could be selected for a bowl game. The Bobcats MAC aspirations were extinguished in the past couple weeks thanks to a poor defense.
The biggest mismatch in this game is Ohio’s rushing attack, led by quarterback Nathan Rourke. The Bobcats rank 14th in rushing success rate, so they should rack up plenty of ground yards against Bowling Green’s defense, which ranks 73rd in defensive rushing success rate. More importantly, the Falcons rank 122nd in opponent rush explosiveness.
Outside of its game against Akron, Bowling Green’s offense has been incompetent in conference play — the Falcons have scored a grand total of three offensive touchdowns in their past three games.
However, if there was a chance for a break-out performance, this could be the right matchup. Ohio has allowed at least 21 points over its past five conference games and is giving up an average of 29.7 points per game.
Our Action Network projections make this line Ohio -18.5, which is right where it opened on Sunday. The Bobcats have caught a lot of steam, moving to -20.5.
While I am not running to back Bowling Green, any number above three touchdowns deserves a look on the Falcons.
Kyle Miller: Ohio Can Name the Score
Ohio is coming off a three-game stretch against three of the top teams in the MAC. The bad news: they went 1-2 in that stretch and eliminated themselves from MAC East contention.
The good news: they get soft landing in their final two games against lowly Bowling Green and Akron. The Bobcats need to both games to go bowling for a fifth straight season.
As mentioned, Bowling Green is among the worst teams in the entire country. If this team has a strength, it’s their rush defense and defensive line. Unfortunately, they’ll still have massive disadvantages in those categories because Ohio ranks 14th in rushing success rate and 22nd in line score.
Ohio will be able to name their score, but can they get the stops they so desperately needed last week? Much like the Bowling Green defense, Ohio’s doesn’t have a true strength. It’s a bad unit that ranks 100th or lower in every category but passing success rate and Bowling Green rarely throws the ball.
The Falcons’ offense is no where near as powerful as Ohio’s, though. In fact, it’s probably worse than their defense when considering the entire picture. I don’t think Bowling Green puts up more than a couple touchdowns and I don’t see a scenario where Ohio scores less than 40 points. Lay the points with the Bobcats.