Ball State Cardinals (1-10 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. Western Michigan Broncos
(5-6 SU, 3-8 ATS), 7:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, November 24, 2009, Waldo
Stadium, Kalamazoo, Mich., TV: ESPN2
by Badger of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ball State +11/Western Michigan -11
Our weekly dose of the Mid-American Conference on ESPN2s Tuesday
Night telecast features a mildly amusing game between the rebuilding
Ball State Cardinals and the nearly .500 Western Michigan Broncos in
Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo.
Ball State, last years MAC champion, has been on T.V. a lot lately
and it hasnt been very pretty. Last week on the Wednesday night game
the Cardinals were drilled 35-3 by Dan LeFevour and Central Michigan
to lose their third game in a row and 10th overall of the season.
Western Michigan enters Tuesdays throw-down on the heels of a 35-14
victory 10 days ago over the MAC weak little sister, Eastern
Michigan. Maybe the few extra days of preparation will help the
Broncos coaching staff shore up their pathetic defense and get a big
win to move to .500 in their season finale.
Las Vegas and the oddsmakers for the offshore sportsbooks seem to agree on the Broncos chances at .500 tonight, since they opened the
game with Western Michigan as strong 10-point favorites at home in
Waldo Stadium. The public agrees, as the line has moved up a point to
Broncos minus -11 currently at most of the books, although you can
still find a few 10.5s here and there if you want the hook.
The over/under total opened at 51 and has hovered around the 51 to 52
mark, with a majority of the books on the Web listing it right in
between at 51.5 currently.
Offensively this game stands to be a pretty lopsided mismatch on
paper, with Western Michigan holding a major advantage. The good
thing is that neither team plays much defense (does anyone in the
MAC?), so you never really know what youll get out of the MAC on
Tuesday night on ESPN.
The Broncos offense should have no problem hitting their average in
points tonight (25.4 ppg), due in part to a solid offense led by
quarterback Tim Hiller (2,895 yds., 22 TD) and a 1,000-yard runner in
Brandon West (1,032 yds., 10 TD). Factor in Ball States matador
defense (allow 29.2 ppg, 379.7 ypg), and its hard not to think the
Broncos hit the total by themselves.
Ball State is going through growing pains at quarterback starting
when Nate Davis left for the NFL after their championship season last
year. Starting quarterback Kelly Page has been lost to a season
ending injury, so the job is now being manned by Tanner Justice who
is still learning his way (less than 50 %, 2TD, 4INT), which is
causing the Cardinals offense to struggle for yards (300.1 ypg
111th) and points (18.9 ppg 107th).
But if theres ever a chance for the Cardinals offense to put it
together, this week, against the Broncos fearsome unit just might
give them their best opportunity. Western Michigan is ugly weak
against the run (allowing 181.4 ypg), so running back MiQuale Lewis
might be able to get his 180 yards he needs to reach 1,000 for the
season. Justice and receiver Briggs Orsbon will have to hit on a few
passes to keep the Broncos defense from stacking eight and nine guys
in the box to stop Lewis.
Ball State has had the upper hand in the head-to-head series of late,
winning two in a row and six of the last eight. Last year they
handled the Broncos at home, 45-22, in a game that also allowed the
Cards to cover for the second time in a row (also 6-2 ATS in last
Western Michigan hasnt won at home in Waldo Stadium in this series
since 2003, a 28-20 victory. Back in 2005 the Broncos were 12-point
favorites at home (ironic?), but Ball State pulled the stunner in a
60-57 overtime shootout.
The Cardinals dont have the offense for another game like that, but
it is the final game of the season for both teams, so expect all of
the tricks, gadgets and tomfoolery plays to be left out on the field
for both teams.
Badgers Pick: This game screams over to me, but Im scared because
its just too obvious. But the Broncos are the better team, playing
for more on the line, at home in Waldo, so the signs are strong
enough me to eat the chalk here. Take Western Michigan minus -11-points.