Ball State Cardinals at Western Michigan Broncos Pick 11/5/19
Ball State Cardinals (4-4 SU, 5-3 ATS) at Western Michigan Broncos (5-4, 4-4-1 ATS)
When: Tuesday, November 5, 8 p.m EDT
Where: Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, Mich.
Point Spread: BALL +7/WMU -7 (Intertops)
Total: O/U Off
Outlook For Week 11
Welcome to Tuesday night MACtion. The winner of this game will put itself in the driver’s seat as far as getting to Detroit for the MAC championship game, which would be unfamiliar territory for Ball State. The Cardinals are one of three league members that have never worn the MAC crown (along with Kent State, which lost in 2012, and Eastern Michigan, which has never made the title game) since the league instituted a championship game, but Ball State has been a pleasant surprise this year after playing a tough non-conference schedule that included Indiana, Florida Atlantic, and N.C. State.
Western has been as inconsistent as it gets this season, as the Broncos have followed every win with a loss and vice versa. Part of that is because the Broncos played a pair of challenging opponents early in Michigan State and Syracuse, but there’s no excuse for Western losing at Eastern Michigan when the Eagles are otherwise 0-3 in the MAC. The Broncos are a talented group, but their inconsistent play has put a bowl bid in a precarious position. A loss to the Cardinals would mean that Western Michigan would have to beat either Ohio or Northern Illinois to make it to postseason play. It would also mean that Ball State is very much in control of the MAC West, as the Cardinals would hold a two-game lead on Western and could win the division next week by beating Central Michigan at home.
How the Public is Betting the Ball State/Western Michigan Game
The game hadn’t gone on the board yet as of Sunday morning.
Running back Caleb Huntley is probable as he recovers from an ankle injury.
Tight end Brett Borskie is questionable with an undisclosed injury while running back Christian Singleton is out indefinitely.
When Ball State Has the Ball
The good news for the Cardinals against Ohio was that they got Walter Fletcher going and got 156 rushing yards out of the senior. The bad news was that nothing else really worked. Drew Plitt struggled with mediocre numbers, a rarity for him, and the rest of the Ball State offense never seemed to get started. The offense should be in better shape against Western Michigan, which has bent but not broken this season. The Broncos allow 252 passing yards a game, but only 25.8 points per game, meaning that they tend to get stops when they need them the most. They’ll need to get stops against Plitt, who has proven himself an accurate passer who can carve up a secondary when he gets time to throw. He’s tossed for 17 touchdowns against just six interceptions, and he hasn’t thrown more than one interception in any game this year for the Cardinals.
When Western Michigan Has the Ball
Levante Bellamy is someone that Ball State wishes it hadn’t allowed to leave the state of Indiana. A senior from Indianapolis, Bellamy has been a touchdown machine this year, producing 17 scores on the ground and 1,065 rushing yards. A lot of what the Broncos do will flow through Bellamy and quarterback Jon Wassink, who has been almost as accurate with the football as Plitt. Wassink has tossed for 2,273 yards this year, with his favorite target his tight end, Giovanni Ricci. That makes the Broncos’ offense rather challenging for opposing defenses because there isn’t one top target that you can key on and take away, as Wassink likes to spread the ball out to several options.
For the Ball State defense, the magic number is 34. When the Cardinals have held their opponent below 34 points, they’re 4-0. When they give up 34 or more, they’re 0-4, and they’ve given up 34 exactly in three of those losses. The Cardinals have to make sure they get themselves off the field and don’t allow a Western Michigan offense that has failed to top 31 points in four of its past six games to get confident early.ES
Ball State finally broke through last season after four years of frustration and eked out a one-point win at home over Western Michigan. That’s a good omen for the Cardinals because this series has tended to go in spurts. The last time that Ball State broke a Western Michigan winning streak and then didn’t follow it up with another win the next year was 1989. Otherwise, the Cardinals have two three-game winning streaks and three two-game streaks against the Broncos. On the other side of the ledger, Western Michigan has been very tough to beat at home. The Broncos carry a six-game winning streak at Waldo Stadium into this contest, and the last team to beat them in Kalamazoo was that Ohio team that had its way with Ball State last week.
As far as the total, be warned: these teams put up points in bunches when they play each other. The last time that neither team managed to score at least 30 points was 2009. More likely, one team will end up going for 40 points, which has happened in seven of the past nine meetings, including each of the past five. One other quirk to be aware of: the games tend to be lower-scoring when Ball State is the victor. Of the teams’ previous ten meetings, last year was the only one that saw Ball State break 40 points. Conversely, Western Michigan has broken 40 points in seven of its last ten against the Cardinals, and the Broncos are 6-1 in those games and 0-3 when they don’t hit 40.
That said if the books use that knowledge to set an absurdly high total, feel free to take advantage and bet the under: it’s gone 4-0-1 in the Broncos’ past five games.
The conditions on game day should be typical for November in Michigan: sunny and cold with a high of 40 degrees. However, the field could be slippery, as rain is in the forecast on Sunday and Monday in Kalamazoo.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Western Michigan has been a yo-yo this season, following up a win with a loss and vice versa. The Broncos also haven’t managed to win a single game ATS that they didn’t win SU. They did win last week, but they had the good fortune to play Bowling Green, who might be one of the five worst teams in the nation. Ball State is a much better squad and has shown it can be competitive with good teams, as it gave Indiana an excellent test to open the season, and that result is looking better every week as the Hoosiers continue to win. Western Michigan got blown out by its two Power 5 opponents, and quite frankly, I want the team that was able to compete against good squads.
Yes, Western Michigan is unbeaten at Waldo Stadium, but I really like how Ball State is playing at the moment. Give me the Cardinals here.
100% Free Play up to $1,000