clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

College Football Odds: MAC Football Week 4

The MAC gets 5 more cracks at the Power Five.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Spread Offense is treading water through three weeks. We are 14-12, which isn't enough (minus the vig) to stay in the black, much less enough for a new car. Thankfully, there's always this week, which brings locks; beautiful, golden locks. Feel comfortable turning Junior's college fund into World Series tickets. Your week four picks:

Eastern Michigan (+45) at Michigan State

As predicted, the Eagles' trip to Virginia last week wasn't quite as wide a margin as the oddsmakers predicted. This week we expect more of the same. While the 65-0 pasting the Gators handed to the Eagles two weeks ago indicates a blowout, the Spartans have never been favored by this much under head coach Mark Dantonio. In fact, this is Sparty's largest point spread in 21 years. Dantonio is 3-3 as a favorite of 28 points or more, including a 23-7 win in 2012 over the Eagles. In that game Sparty was a 31.5-point favorite. Call me a homer, but I see a backdoor cover here; take the points with the Eagles. -NK

Bowling Green (+17) at Wisconsin

Bowling Green hasn't missed a beat since the season opening blowout loss to Western Kentucky, in which they lost quarterback Matt Johnson for the year. Since then, the Falcons have topped the 45 point plateau twice.  Last week the Falcons assumed the role of Big Ten killer in a 48-45 win over the Indiana Hoosiers. BGSU has the nation's 21st ranked passing offense at better than 324 yards a game. That will change after this Saturday. Wisconsin enters 1-1, with a win over Western Illinois, and a loss to then number 13 ranked LSU. Wisconsin held a late lead and should've won, but it didn't crush 2014 for the Badgers. In a bad Big Ten, it is conceivable that Wisconsin could run the table and make the playoff this year. They can't afford a loss, and realistically they can't really afford any close wins. The Badgers know this. Take Wisconsin, lay the points. -KS

Marshall at Akron (+12.5)

It's still hard to put your finger on exactly what Akron is all about. A 41-0 win over Howard to open the season; ok, we expected that. Followed by a 21-3 loss to Penn State, in a game the Zips were in late. Ok, I suppose we expected that too. Saturday we will really get to see what kind of strides Akron has made in 2014, with perhaps the best team not named BYU in the Group of Five coming to town, the Marshall Thundering Herd. Marshall has done exactly what a team hell bent on crashing the playoff should do; win by blowout. Marshall opened with wins over Miami, Rhode Island, and Ohio. I would like nothing more on Saturday than for the Zips to pull the home upset, but after seeing what Rakeem Cato did last week to the Bobcats, I feel that's unlikely. Saturday, take Marshall, lay the points. -KS

Central Michigan (+3.5) at Kansas

The Jayhawks may have an advantage in talent here, but it's hard to see how they have the "schematic" advantage head coach Charlie Weis would lead you to believe. Indeed, the Jayhawks have won only ONE out of their last 30 games against conference opponents. To make things worse, Weis' Jayhawks have failed to cover 5 straight as a home favorite. Neither fact inspires confidence. But with running back and Michigan transfer Thomas Rawls suspended indefinitely, I just don't see the Chippewas mustering enough offense to pull off the win, so plug your nose and lay the points; Rock Chalk, Jayhawk! -NK

Massachusetts (+30) at Penn State

UMass is 0-3, but the last two times out they have come within a field goal of knocking off Power Five schools (Colorado, Vanderbilt). Bad Power Five schools, I'll grant you that, but Power Five schools all the same. The Minutemen get another crack when they travel to Happy Valley, before opening conference play against Toledo a week later. For better or worse, Penn State had its bowl sanctions removed and will be eligible for postseason play in 2014. Nittany Lions fans are already thinking playoff, and it's an attainable goal in a bad Big Ten. I didn't see enough from PSU to think they can run up the score on any MAC school. They'll get the win here, but 30 is too much to turn away from. Give me UMass and the points. -KS

Miami (+28.5) at Cincinnati

Miami is 0-3, but has played both Michigan (34-10) and Marshall (42-27) closer than I think most fans thought they would. This road tilt is the final non conference game for the RedHawks before MAC play, Cincinnati is another Group of Five team with visions of crashing the playoffs. In its season opener, they went up big on Toledo, before relinquishing the lead, then cruising to a 58-34 win. Miami's only hope here is that the Bearcats are looking ahead to a September 27th matchup with Ohio State. Otherwise, this one could get ugly in a hurry. Take Cincinnati, lay the points. -KS

Ball State at Toledo (-14)

This is a revenge game for Toledo, as the Rockets have lost 2 of the last 3 meetings between these two teams, straight up and against the number. Both teams are 1-2, but the Rockets have undoubtedly faced tougher opponents, losing to Missouri and Cincinnati in consecutive weeks. The Cardinals are coming off a straight up loss to the Indiana State Sycamores - an FCS school - which explains the 14-point spread. Nevertheless, my power rankings have the Cardinals as an 8-point dog in the Glass City, so I think the value here is on the dog. -NK

Idaho at Ohio (-13)

Love this one. Idaho is definitely better than last year. Although the Vandals are yet to get their first win, they are at least competitive in 2014. 2013 was characterized by a major lack of competitiveness resulting in a single win. I think Idaho's hanging in games the first two weeks of the season, and Ohio struggling against superior competition is why this line is relatively small. Saturday you're going to see that Idaho still has a long way to go, and Ohio is much better than the team that was blown out by Marshall, 44-14, last week. It's very important that the Bobcats get easy wins over Idaho and Eastern Illinois before MAC play begins. Frankie knows this. Saturday, take the Bobcats, lay the points. -KS

Northern Illinois (+13.5) at Arkansas

Perhaps there is hope for Razorback nation in year two of Bret Bielema's tenure. Last week's 49-28 win on the road against Texas Tech is impressive considering the Razorbacks suffered through a 3-9 season last year. Still, this may be what the sharps call a "sandwich" game. The Razorbacks are coming off of a straight up road win as a dog. Next week they travel to College Station to face off against the Aggies. In the middle come the Huskies, who I expect will be up for this game, despite having to travel for a second consecutive week. Make your way towards the rear of the house because all of this points to a backdoor cover. Take the Huskies with confidence. -NK