Ball State Cardinals (3-6 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. Massachusetts Minutemen (2-7 SU, 7-2 ATS)
College Football Week 12
Date and Time: Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 8:00 pm EST
Where:Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium, Amherst, Mass.
TV: ESPNU, DirecTV 209
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ball St. +3/UMass. -3
Over/Under Total: 61.5
Two teams out of the Mid-American Conference trying to finish out the 2014 season on a positive note and build toward next season will meet Wednesday night on ESPNU, when the Ball State Cardinals travel to Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst, Mass., to do battle with the Massachusetts Minutemen.
Ball State had a mini two-game win streak snapped last week on Wednesday night football, losing a heartbreaker at home to Northern Illinois, 35-21. The Cardinals started their streak when the quarterback role was handed to Jack Milas, who experienced his first stinker of his young career in the loss to the Huskies throwing three interceptions in the game.
The Minutemen havent been on the field since their 42-35 loss to Toledo on the road back on October 25th. That tough loss at Toledo is a microcosm of kind of season Massachusetts has had this year, as they have played well in just about every game this season, losing by 1-point at Miami (OH), 5-points at Bowling Green and 3-points against Vanderbilt and Colorado in the non-conference schedule. Moral victories aside, the Minutemen will be playing just their fifth home game this season on Wednesday, so defending their home turf will certainly help ease the pain of all of the tough losses theyve experienced thus far in 2014.
If Massachusetts is to defend their home turf in the mid-week contest theyll do it as underdogs, as oddsmakers set the opening point spread for the Wednesday game with Ball State as 3-point favorites. With the point spreads only a few hours old, there has yet to be an over/under total released for this game.
As mentioned, the Cardinals have handed this team over to the sophomore Milas and the offense has shown life under his command, up until last week. However, it would be a mistake for the Cardinals to not use running back Jahwan Edwards in this game, especially considering the Minutemen are extremely weak against the run allowing 200 yards a game on the ground.
When the Minutemen have the ball on offense they rely on the passing game almost exclusively, throwing for 331 yards a game which is the 6th-best tally in the country. Senior quarterback Blake Frohnapfel will likely cross over the 3,000 yard mark in Wednesdays game, as he currently sits at 2,921 yards with 23 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. Twice this season Frohnapfel has thrown five TDs in a game, and with just two more home games left this season Im sure the senior wants to end his Minutemen career on a high note.
Since the Minutemen are new to FBS play and new to the MAC Conference, Wednesday game will be the first time these two schools have met on the gridiron.
For what its worth, the Minutemen have covered the spread in each of their five MAC games this season for a perfect 5-0 ATS mark. Historically, Ball State is an excellent wager when they go on the road (43-16 ATS in their last 59 road games), but their 1-4 ATS record on Wednesday night games in the past few seasons is one reason to be a little bit leery of betting on the Cardinals.
Once a total is finally put up on the board, the over could be the best wager in this game. The over is 7-2 in Ball States last nine MAC games, and its also 6-1-1 in the Minutemens last eight games overall, including a 4-1-1 mark in their last six games in MAC play.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I lost a tough one backing the Cardinals last week against Northern Illinois. I still like the Cardinals offense under Milas, but Ive also cashed a few of the Minutemens seven covers this season too, so Im torn. If I play anything in this one, Im banking on a typical MAC shootout by playing the over 61.5.