The 2020 MAC season rolls on tonight with a Tuesday evening doubleheader. Originally there were three games on the schedule but the Ohio-Miami (OH) game was canceled due to COVID-19 complications.
We are now left with just a pair of matchups. The first game of the night will be between Buffalo (2-0 MAC) and Bowling Green (0-2 MAC) with Akron (0-2 MAC) and Kent State (2-0 MAC) finishing out the evening.
On paper, each of these matchups looks to be heavily one-sided towards the undefeated teams, but from a gambling perspective what should you be looking for tonight? Let’s dive into tonight’s action:
Buffalo at Bowling Green
Spread: Buffalo -31
Total: O/U 58
Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET, CBS Sports Network
A theme for Tuesday’s MACtion could be seeing what the top contenders in the MAC can do against the teams in the basement of the conference.
The first game of the night will provide precisely that as conference favorite Buffalo goes on the road to face a Bowling Green team that is arguably the worst in college football.
The Bulls are coming off a thorough 42-10 beat down of 2019 MAC Champion Miami-Ohio and tonight get to square off against a Bowling Green Falcons squad that has been outscored 100-27 in the first two weeks of MAC play and has shown no signs of being competitive thus far.
Once again the focal point of the Buffalo attack will come from the two-headed monster at running back with the duo of Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks Jr. The tandem helped the Bulls boast the 10th best running attack in 2019, and while there has been a slight dip in production through the first two weeks of the season, Buffalo has still shown that their rushing attack is still quite dangerous.
To complicate matters for what figures to already be an overwhelmed Bowling Green defense, a week ago the Bulls leaned a bit more on the passing game than they typically do as quarterback Kyle Vantrease had the best game of his career with a 353-yard, five-touchdown night last week in the aforementioned win over Miami-Ohio.
When Vantrease has thrown the ball he has leaned on the talented Antonio Nunn for the most production. The senior wide receiver (who is likely to play on Sunday’s in the coming years) leads the team with 11 receptions, 239 yards, and two touchdowns. His straight-line speed will give the Falcons secondary a lot of problems and he should be in line for another great game tonight.
On the other hand, when dissecting the Bowling Green Falcons, there are not a whole lot of positives to hang your hat on.
Bowling Green has been miserable out of the gates, averaging just 13.5 points per game and 316 total yards. That would rank them 122nd and 116th, respectively, amongst the 126 FBS teams that are now playing college football in this strange season.
When you’re posting those anemic numbers in the MAC, that’s a cause for concern.
The biggest issue with the Bowling Green offense, and believe me there are many issues to address, comes with their passing offense which is nothing short of putrid. If Matt Nagy’s playcalling was a quarterback it might be Bowling Green’s Matt McDonald who boasts this gaudy stat line through two weeks of the season:
14/50 passing, 28% completion percentage, 233 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, QB rating of 59.1.
That’s just a big ball of yikes.
If you felt Bowling Green’s issues were constrained to just the offensive side of the football, well, you’d be wrong there too. Defensively Bowling Green (to borrow from the philosophic views from one Bart Scott) couldn’t stop a nose bleed.
So far during the first two games of the MAC season, the Falcons have surrendered an FBS-worst 50 points per game, while getting downright skewered to the tune of nearly 600 yards per game with over 302 of those yards coming on the ground.
There is no earthly reason to back Bowling Green right now, or at any point in this season. I sure can’t do it, so I’ll be backing the best team in the conference thus far with hopes they aren’t just going through the motions against a Bowling Green team that would lose to several FCS schools right now.
Trends of Note
• Buffalo is 8-1 ATS in their L9 Mid-American Conference games
• The OVER is 7-3 in Buffalo’s L10 Mid-American Conference Games
• The OVER is 7-3 in Bowling Green’s L10 home conference games
• Bowling Green is just 2-8 ATS in their L10 Mid-American Conference games
• Bowling Green is just 2-8 ATS in their L10 home conference games
Prediction: Buffalo 52, Bowling Green 10
Best Bet: Buffalo -31
Akron at Kent State
Spread: Kent State -27
Total: O/U 58.5
Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET, ESPN
In the second game of the evening from the MAC, the lowly Akron Zips will take their 19-game losing streak on the road when they meet 2-0 Kent State.
The Golden Flashes are coming off of a 62-24 blowout of the aforementioned Bowling Green Falcons in which they racked up 667 yards of offense, including a great performance from starting QB Dustin Crum that saw him go 18-of-27 for 271 yards and four touchdowns. Kent State would pile on another 295 yards rushing and outscored Bowling Green 52-14 after being tied at 10 following the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the Zips have continued to struggle mightily, but have shown glimpses of progress as last week the Akron defense played a very good game against Ohio in a 24-10 loss.
The Zips may have found a building block on offense to start to turn things around as well, as junior college transfer Teon Dollard had 165 yards on 22 carries last week and is now second in the conference in rushing with 232 yards in his first two games.
Beyond Dollard, however, the Akron offense has looked downright awful at times. Through the first two games of the season, Akron’s passing offense is the second-worst group in the conference, only ahead of Bowling Green.
They are averaging just over 170 yards per game with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Bear in mind once again, these numbers are coming in the MAC, not exactly a conference known for defensive struggles. The fact is, Akron’s offense is still among the worst in the country even with the gem they’ve potentially unearthed at running back.
That paltry offense is a big reason why the Akron defense could be in for a long evening against the potent Kent State offense.
The Golden Flashes have the best quarterback in the conference with future NFL prospect Dustin Crum and Crum should not have much issue moving the ball against an Akron defense that looked good a week ago but also got lit up in the opener by Western Michigan.
Unlike Bowling Green, Akron does appear to be moving somewhat in the right direction. That won’t be seen tonight as Kent State is simply just a much better team. This will be ugly, just not as ugly as the other game.
Trends of Note
• Akron is 2-8 ATS in their L10 Mid-American Conference Games
• Kent State is 8-2 ATS in their L10 Mid-American Conference Games
• Akron has not scored 17 or more points in nine straight MAC games
• The UNDER is 8-2 in the L10 games between these two schools
Prediction: Kent State 42, Akron 13
Best Bet: Kent State -27