No. 14 Western Michigan Broncos (9-0 SU, 7-2 ATS) vs. Kent State Golden Flashes (3-6 SU, 5-4 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Tuesday, November 8, 2016, 7:00 PM EST
Where: Dix Stadium, Kent, Ohio
by Badger, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WMU -20/KENT +20
Over/Under Total: OFF
The 14th-ranked Western Michigan Broncos will continue to try and run the table in the Mid-American Conference and reach a big payday in a New Year’s Day bowl game when they put their perfect record on the line in another Tuesday night “MACtion” game when they travel to Dix Stadium to take on the Kent State Golden Flashes on ESPN2.
The Broncos moved up three spots on the AP’s Top 25 college football poll this week following last week’s dismantling of Ball State, 52-20. While the Broncos scored 52 points and had 553 yards of total offense in the victory, they still have plenty of work to do on defense in order to reach their ultimate goal as they allowed Ball State to amass 497 yards of offense with a 7.1 yards per carry average running the ball … numbers that are certainly not championship-caliber in any league in college football.
Not many expect three-win Kent State to challenge the Broncos too much on the field Tuesday night, but the Golden Flashes will have some positive momentum on their side going into the MACtion contest by virtue of their last-second, 27-24, victory over Central Michigan in their last MAC game on October 29th. The Flashes put together an 11-play drive starting on their own 14-yard-line with just 1:14 left in the game against the Chippewas, and kicker Shane Hynes drilled a 35-yard field s time expired to give Kent State a much needed victory that snapped a two-game losing streak in the process.
The opening point spread for Tuesday’s game started with Western Michigan as large 18-point favorites, and with almost 75 percent of the early steam favoring the Broncos oddsmakers and sportsbooks have since been forced to move the number up to as high as Western Michigan minus -20. As of press time, an over/under total for Tuesday’s MACtion game has yet to be released.
Everybody and their brother currently likes the Broncos in this game because of their high-powered offense, ranked 12th overall in FBS with an average of 508 yards a game and 5th overall in scoring with an average of 45.2 points per contest. Senior QB Zach Terrell continues to lead the country in TD-to-interception ratio at a 23-to-1 rate, running back Jarvion Franklin went over the 1,000-yard mark in the Broncos win last week for 1,018 on the season and WR Corey Davis continues to set career records both nationally and in the MAC with over a 1,000 yards receiving of his own and 14 touchdown catches already in 2016. However, Kent State’s defense wil likely be the toughest challenge the Broncos high-flying offense will face this season in the MAC, since the Golden Flashes are currently ranked at No. 2 in the MAC in total defense and 23rd in FBS allowing 351 yards a game.
What will be worth watching on Tuesday will be how much improvement the Broncos defense is able to attain facing a Kent State offense that is sort of a work in progress. Junior Nick Holley literally IS the Flashes offensive leader, and he has only been the starting QB since the Akron game the fourth week of the regular season. Holley is a do everything player, as he leads the team in rushing, passing and scoring and he will be needed to do everything and then some if he’s going to keep the Golden Flashes in the game on Tuesday.
These two schools haven’t played each other since the 2013 season, in what ended as a 32-14 victory for Kent State on the road in Kalamazoo as 2.5-point favorites. All told, Kent State has actually won three of the last four meetings against the Broncos, but prior to that the Broncos ran off a string of six staright wins over Kent State dating back to the 1995 season.
Betting trends-wise, the favorite has gone 6-0 ATS in the last six head-to-head meetings between these two schools. Also, the Golden Flashes have struggled in the MAC conference of late (3-7 ATS in L10 vs. MAC), as well as in home games played inside Dix Stadium (2-7 ATS in L9 at home).
Badger's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: There’s little doubt that Western Michigan is head and shoulders the better team in this matchup, as the now minus -20 point spread clearly indicates. I also fully expect the Broncos to flirt with covering the huge number in this game too, however there simply is little value in taking the favorite Broncos on Tuesday. One of these weeks the Broncos will stumble a little, and by stumble I mean not beat a team in the MAC by 30 points, and this week may just be the week it happens. Don’t dump your bankroll on this MACtion game Tuesday, but I think I’m going to take Kent State to keep it close enough that a backdoor cover may be in store. I’m taking Kent State plus the 20 points.
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