Akron Zips (4-6) +8.5, 51 O/U at Miami (OH) RedHawks (5-5) -8.5, 51 O/U, Yager Stadium, 7:30 Eastern, Wednesday
by Badger of Predictem.com.
The RedHawks of Miami (OH) will be trying to clinch their spot in the Mid American Conference title game when the host the Akron Zips on Wednesday on ESPN2.
Miami (OH) (5-5, 4-1 MAC) holds a slim half-game lead over Buffalo in the MAC East standing, the team the RedHawks beat last week 31-28. A win would virtually assure them of a title-game matchup with MAC East winner Central Michigan, as they hold the tiebreaking head-to-head victory over both Buffalo and Bowling Green.
Akron (4-6, 3-3) is hoping to continue the momentum they gained from winning last weeks Wednesday night MAC game on ESPN, 48-37, over Ohio University, after losing their three previous games. Akron also beat Miami (OH) in last seasons game, 24-13.
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The oddsmakers have made Miami (OH) an early 8.5 point favorite, with a total of 51. The Zips are a +235 on the money line, while the host RedHawks are a -275.
The RedHawks offense should gain the help of running back Austin Sykes, who has been nursing an ankle injury for a few weeks now. If Sykes returns like expected, the RedHawks should be able to improve upon their 75th ranking on offense (376.3 ypg).
Akron, prior to last Wednesdays offensive explosion verses Ohio, has struggled when they have the ball. The Zips offense ranks last in the MAC (109th overall) with only 323.1 yards per game. The running back duo of Alex Allen and Bryan Williams lead the Zips attack, which has struggled behind an inexperienced offensive line up until their 419 yard, 5 TD night against Ohio.
Defensively, both teams are middle of the pack. Akron is ranked 67th overall (396 ypg), but is giving up almost as much on the ground (183.2 ypg) as they do in the air (212.8 ypg). Miami-Ohios numbers are similar, with 401.3 (71st) total, 174.3 on the ground and 227 through the air.
Miami (OH) does have history on its side, as they have won eight of the last 10 games verses Akron, covering the number four of the last five years. They do, however, come into the game 2-2 ATS at home. Akron is 2-4 ATS on the road this season.
The Zips are a strong 4-2 going over the total on the road this season, while Miami (OH) is also a strong 3-1 over the total at home. Plus, six of the last eight games between these two schools have gone over the total, so the trend appears to say expect a shootout between these two MAC teams tonight.
The line has dropped to -7.5 in favor of Miami (OH), so the early money is on the RedHawks. The total has stayed firm at 51, for the most part, although there are a few sportsbooks that have the number at 52.
Badgers Pick: The Zips are a young team that seems to be gaining steam at the end of the season. Miami (OH) is playing for a title, at home, so motivation will be easy to find. But in the end, I still like the Zips to cover here, so take Akron and the points.