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College Football Odds: MAC Football Week 3

The MAC looks to build upon a week in which two teams upset Big 10 schools.

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Alright folks, Keith Scheessele and I are back for another week of MACtion! Last week, wasn’t great, but it was certainly better than the previous one (3-3). The first two weeks have been a study in contrasts. Week 1 featured several FCS matchups that didn’t leave the MAC in a positive light. Obviously that all changed last week with two teams (Central Michigan and Northern Illinois) winning straight up as road dogs, and one (Ball State) almost pulling off a third upset against the woebegone Big 10 conference. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see which teams have a bit of a hangover from last week. Same drill as before, Keith will handle the East and I’ll handle the West division.

Toledo @ Cincinnati (-11)

Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:00 pm EST

The Rockets faced a tough test last week at home against Missouri. It couldn’t have turned out worse. Not only did they lose 49-24, but they also lost starting quarterback Phillip Ely for the year. They face another test this week as they travel to Cincinnati for what is an oddly timed season opener for the Bearcats. The Rockets won’t be intimidated here, as they beat the Bearcats 29-22 in the Glass City in 2012.  Still, I expect the Bearcats to be up for this game, having all summer to prepare. In Tuberville we trust, take the Bearcats. -NK

  • Toledo: 6-2 against the spread as a road dog under Campbell
  • Cincinnati: 3-3 against the spread at home last year under Tuberville

E. Michigan @ Old Dominion (-18.5)

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 6:00 pm EST

If you didn’t look at the point spread you might think this game was a gimme for the Eagles.  After all, the Monarchs are essentially an FCS school, having taken the step up in class to the FBS this year. There’s some real steam behind this line. It opened at most offshore books around -14, and then moved 4.5 points in the three days. I think the line here is a little inflated. I don’t expect Eastern to win, but I think their playmakers on offense (Hill & Russell) should be able to keep the Eagles within shouting distance, so plug your nose and take the points here with the Eagles. – NK

  • Eastern: 1-4 ATS vs. FCS schools in the last 5 years
  • Eastern: lost 6 straight road games SU

Syracuse (-6.5) @ Central Michigan

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 12:00 pm EST

Michigan transfer running back Thomas Rawls is gonna’ give the Orange all they can handle on Saturday as they travel to Mount Pleasant. I don’t see a huge talent gap between these two teams, especially given that the Orange barely eked out a win at home against middle-of-the road FCS school Villanova two weeks ago. With a chance to win back-to-back games against Power-Five schools, I see no risk of a letdown here. Take the home dog here with the Chippewas. -NK

  • Syracuse: 2-3 on the road under Shafer
  • Syracuse: 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 vs. MAC.
  • Central Michigan: 1-7 as a home dog; 4-25 SU/8-21 ATS under Enos

Western Michigan @ Idaho (-3)

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 5:00 pm EST

It’s almost impossible to determine the winner in a battle between two teams that are both coming off of 1-11 seasons. Previous games are of no help, since both teams lost last week. I’d like to say that the Broncos faced a tougher matchup in Purdue, but that would be a tough argument to make, given the Boilermakers’ record. Ultimately this is a matchup of equals. For that reason you gotta take the home team, so roll with the Vandals. -NK

  • Western Michigan: Broncos are 1-7 ATS vs. a team with a losing record
  • Idaho: Vandals are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win

Northern Illinois (-9.5) @ UNLV

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 7:00 pm EST

Fresh off a 23-15 upset win over Northwestern, the Huskies face off against the Runnin’ Rebels on Saturday. The Rebels haven’t looked great so far, losing to Arizona 13-58, followed by 13-12 nail biter at home against FCS school Northern Colorado. The Huskies may come out flat after a win like that, and the desert heat won’t help, but I suspect they will give the Rebels all they can handle; lay the points with the Huskies. -NK

  • NIU: 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS win
  • NIU: 16 consecutive SU road wins

Baylor at Buffalo (+34.5)

This one opened with the Bulls getting 27, and if you’re one of the lucky SOBs that had the opportunity to lay those points, good for you.  34.5 is a little more difficult to give away, but consider the opponent. Baylor is ranked 8th in the country, and has its sights set on a playoff berth. Art Briles possesses the innovation to throw the ball all over the field, and lacks the sportsmanship to run clock. That, coupled with underwhelming Buffalo performances to this point, makes it an easy bet. Take the Bears, lay the points. -KS

Kent State (+32) at Ohio State

Speaking of that playoff that Ohio State won’t be invited to, the Buckeyes get sacrificial lamb Kent State a week after dropping the home opener to Virginia Tech at the horseshoe. The reality is that this game, as with all the games the rest of the way for Ohio State, are meaningless. Be glad you’re a MAC fan, where the ultimate goal is winning a conference championship. Ohio State fans aren’t that fortunate. Their season is already over. That said, they will needlessly run up the score on the undermanned Golden Flashes. Just like Baylor, but for altogether different reasons. Take Ohio State, lay the points. -KS

Ohio (+21.5) at Marshall

Ohio getting no respect. The Bobcats are three score dogs to a team that was within two touchdowns of the Miami RedHawks. There may be no division in all of college football that is as wide open as the MAC East is right now. When Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson had his season end prematurely, it rejuvenated the thoughts of a conference championship for teams like Ohio. Don’t get me wrong, I think Marshall takes this one, but a closer than necessary game against Miami and a blowout of the Rhode Island Rams is not enough for me to say that the Thundering Herd are three touchdowns better than the Bobcats. Saturday take Ohio and the points. -KS

Indiana at Bowling Green (+8.5)

This is an interesting one. Believe it or not, it opened with Bowling Green as three point favorites, and by Thursday the Falcons were \ getting more than a touchdown. BGSU had designs on an upset of the Hoosiers a season ago, before they were trounced in Bloomington. There’s an axe to grind here, and there’s no question the Falcons would be favored with Matt J under center. As it is, Bowling Green’s ceiling has certainly changed with that injury, but I don’t think a win over the Hoosiers is out of the question.  When the Falcons were giving three, I was uncertain.  If they’re getting 8.5, I’m definitely a buyer. Take Bowling Green and the points. -KS

Massachusetts (+17) at Vanderbilt

The first thing we need to do is give the UMass Minutemen the praise they deserve. It was an ambitious out of conference schedule for a team this bad, and they are clearly getting better. They opened with a 30-7 loss to Boston College, and last week fell to Colorado, 41-38. I realize these aren’t powerhouses, but they are major conference opponents, not FCS schools. This week it’s Vanderbilt, before a date with Penn State a week from Saturday. Vandy’s bad. They were dumptrucked in week one against Temple, 37-7, and things didn’t get better last week against Ole Miss as they fell, 41-3. My gut was to go Vandy, I mean it’s UMass at an SEC school, but screw it. Let’s all get behind the Minutemen. We know they can score points, we don’t know that the Commodores can. Take Massachusetts and the points. -KS

Miami (+31.5) at Michigan

Way to close out that series with Notre Dame, Wolverines. I’m glad that game was so awful. The entire rivalry was overrated. I’m glad it’s done. Both fan bases are full of themselves. I could spend thousands of words telling you how I don’t like Michigan and Notre Dame, but I won’t. Brady Hoke is on the hot seat. Coaches on the hot seat don’t leave anything to doubt when it comes to playing vastly inferior competition. That’s not to say that blowing out a team like the RedHawks will save your job, it won’t. But Hoke will let the Michigan faithful hear "Hail to the Victors" at least five times. That’s five more than they hear it last Saturday. Take the Wolverines, lay the points. -KS