Ball State Cardinals (6-3 SU, 7-2 ATS) vs. No. 23 Toledo Rockets (8-1 SU, 6-3 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Tuesday, November 6th, 2012, 8:00 p.m. EST
Where: Glass Bowl, Toledo, Ohio
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BSU +6.5/TOL -6.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
If the 23rd-ranked Toledo Rockets want to keep their chance at a Mid-American Conference (MAC) Western Division title alive they need to take care of business in primetime on Tuesday night, but beating the Ball State Cardinals at home in the Glass Bowl on ESPN2 may turn out to be a big task.
Toledo could get caught in the classic look-ahead spot this week, with a showdown with MAC-West leader Northern Illinois next week in a game that could be for the title if they can just find a way to get past Ball State at home on Tuesday. The Rockets were definitely in cruise-control the last time out in a, 25-20, victory on the road in Buffalo, putting in by far their worst game of the season with a season-low 25 points.
If the Rockets don’t get things back on track following their 10 days off it could cost them a title shot because Ball State is not going to go away easy.
The Cardinals are currently riding a three-game winning streak, which includes an overtime win over Western Michigan and back-to-back road wins over Central Michigan and Army, so they have proven they know how to win. With quarterback Keith Wenning and the MAC’s 2nd-ranked offense (473 ypg), the Cardinals are a dangerous opponent for the Rockets if they’re not focused on one game at a time.
Oddsmakers opened the special Tuesday night contest with Toledo as 6-point favorites at home in the Glass Bowl, but some early money on the chalk Rockets drove the point spread up to minus -6.5 pretty quick at most sportsbooks.
As of press time an over/under total has yet to be released.
When the total does finally get released expect it to be a big number, because at least on paper this game figures to be another one of those “classic” Tuesday night MAC offensive shootouts with little to no defense attempted at all.
Offensively this game has everything of what you’d expect from a MAC game the 3rd-ranked scoring offense (Toledo 34.0 ppg) vs. the 5th-ranked (Ball St. 33.7 ppg); two of the MAC’s top-10 running backs in Toledo’s David Fluellen (125.7 ypg, 11 TD) and Ball State’s Jahwan Edwards (105.4 ypg, 9 TD); two of the league’s top-5 passers in Wenning (269 ypg, 17 TD) and Toledo’s Terrance Owens (240 ypg, 13 TD); and the MAC’s top receiver in Ball State’s Willie Snead (100.1 ypg). Heck, the Cardinals and the Rockets even have two of the top kickers in the league, as Ball State’s Steven Schott already has 20 field goals this season and Toledo’s Jeremiah Detmer is close behind with 17.
So if it’s defense where this game is going to turn, then statistically the Rockets might have an edge since they have allowed about 10 less yards per game (Toledo 456.2 - Ball St. 465.2) and about a full touchdown less on the scoreboard (Toledo 24.4 ppg - Ball St. 33.3 ppg). Both teams are terrible against the pass (12th and 13th in 13-team MAC), but the Rockets are a little better at getting off the field on third down (36.5 %) than Ball State (41.1 %), which can turn a game like this one quickly.
Toledo has the advantage of a three-game win streak against the Cardinals, beating them last year 45-28 in Muncie and also in their last trip to the Glass Bowl in 2010, 31-24. Ball State has had a trend of covering the point spread on the road at Toledo, going 3-0 ATS in the last three trips, but the Cards are also 5-2 ATS in the last seven head-to-head meetings and the road team is 4-0 ATS in the last four seasons.
A few more betting trend reasons to favor Ball State: Toledo is 0-4 ATS in their last four games on Thursday night and 0-5 ATS following a bye week; Ball State is 7-1 ATS following a bye and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 MAC games.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Normally the third of three straight road games would scare me with Ball State, but there has been 10 days off since No. 2 and Tuesday night’s No. 3, so what could have been a big advantage is tempered. Ball State is one of the few MAC teams that can score with the Rockets, and they’ll give them everything they can handle and then some in this game. Take Ball State plus the 6.5-points.
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