Western Michigan (-5) @ Eastern Michigan (O/U: 68.5)
In a battle of directional Michigan’s, the Broncos head to Ypsilanti as a 5-point favorite in a showdown to lead off MACtion this week. Coming in, Western ranks 35th in offensive success rate, highlighted by a ground attack that accounts for 58.2% of their plays. With a heavy run-script, combined with a bottom 20 offense in terms of pace (plays per minute), the Broncos will look to slow down the game against an Eastern Michigan team with a high-flying passing attack led by Ben Bryant. Defensively, they can likely do that as they rank 25th in defensive success rate against the pass. As for Eastern Michigan, they currently rank bottom half in terms of pace (73rd) but have a struggling defensive ranking bottom-25 in passing and rushing success rate. Given the slow pace of both teams and a run-heavy approach for the favored team, I like the under here (yes, in this economy.) For the record, I think EMU is in play this week as well if you can find them as a 6-point underdog. Western Michigan has an incredibly poor special teams unit, evidenced by their 126th field position against rank. Eastern Michigan should be able to keep this close despite defensive struggles.
Bonus Play: Eastern Michigan +6
Toledo (-6) @ Ohio (O/U: 54)
I’m surprised this is still under a touchdown though I don’t expect it to be for very long. Ohio’s bread and butter is its rushing game which is surprising seeing a top-30 success rate but faces a Toledo defense that is even better, ranking top-15 in defensive success rate against the rush. The Rockets have struggled in terms of efficiency on offense this year but have found their stride in MAC play behind dual-threat RB Bryant Koback. Scoring 132 points in their last three games, and limiting opponents to 84 (but two games under 20), I expect a strong Rockets defense this week. Despite Ohio scoring 35 and 34 points in their last two contests, they have yet to see a defense as strong against the rush and overall a top-30 unit defensively. The real issue for Ohio is their defense ranks bottom-15 in defensive success rate, including 124th against the pass and 93rd against the run. Toledo, who seems to have found their stride, should be able to impose their will offensively and defensively in this matchup. Anything under a touchdown is gravy. I recommend jumping on this one quickly,it should hit 7 by gametime.