Bowling Green Falcons (6-3 SU, 6-3 ATS) vs. Ohio Bobcats (8-1 SU, 4-5 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Wednesday, November 7th, 2012, 8:00 p.m. EST
Where: Peden Stadium, Athens, Ohio
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BG +3/OU -3
Over/Under Total: 49
Both the Bowling Green Falcons and the Ohio Bobcats have their eyes on a Mid-American Conference (MAC) East Division title this season, but only one of them will take a big first step towards that title when the Bobcats host the Falcons in a primetime clash in Peden Stadium Wednesday Night on ESPN2.
Ohio, last year’s MAC Champion and this year’s preseason favorite in the East, enters the stretch run of their season and can seal its own destiny again this season starting with Wednesday’s game against the Falcons in their final home date of the year. The Bobcats bounced back from their only loss of the season (23-20 at Miami (OH) in week 9) with a solid, 45-14, victory over Eastern Michigan last Thursday to get their confidence back just in time for another huge game against Bowling Green in the national spotlight this week.
The Falcons route to the MAC East title is a much tougher road, which includes back-to-back games against Ohio and MAC East leader Kent State next week, but at least they’re red hot right now as they put a five-game win streak on the line. Ironically, the last team the Falcons beat is also the last team the Bobcats beat, Eastern Michigan, by a 24-3 score fives days before the Ohio game on October 27. The main reason for Bowling Green’s turnaround in late September is something foreign to the MAC defense. The Falcons are allowing under a touchdown a game (6.6 ppg) during the five-game run and are ranked 8th in FBS .
Bowling Green is even starting to get some love from oddsmakers in Las Vegas. After a few offshore sportsbooks released an opening point spread with Ohio as 3.5-point favorites in their home finale, enough Falcons money came in fast enough that the number quickly dropped the hook to the “standard” minus -3. Now that the rest of the sportsbooks are open and taking wagers on this game, they’re comfortable sitting at Ohio minus -3 and letting the public pick a side and try and move the line if they’d like.
The over/under total is only open at a few of the larger online sportsbooks as of press time, and at those books the total is currently listed at 49 (with one at 48.5), so you can expect the number to be similar at kickoff.
Ohio features one of the MAC’s best offenses (35.6 ppg - 2nd in MAC), led by junior Tyler Tettleton at quarterback. Tettleton is only hitting on 61 percent of his throws this season, but he’s been very efficient (15 TD, 2 INT) in leading the Bobcats back to the top of the MAC again this season. Of course, the Bobcats are at their best when they give running back Beau Blankenship (121.9 ypg - 4th in MAC) a steady dose of carries, since it also helps to open up passing lanes for Tettleton in the passing game.
Tettleton and Ohio will have it’s hands full with the Falcons defense though, since they are No. 1 across the board in the MAC in scorings defense (15.2 ppg - 9th in FBS), total defense (290 ypg), rushing defense, passing defense, first downs allowed (14.6 ave./g) and third-down conversion rate (31%).
What will probably turn out to be the difference in this game is that the Bobcats also have a solid defense. Ohio is 3rd in scoring defense in the MAC (22.4 ppg) and 4th overall (387.4 ypg), but if they do have a weakness it is in their secondary (allowing 251.8 ypg - 8th in MAC). The big question is whether or not the Falcons can capitalize on offense since their neither explosive (10th in MAC - 23.0 ppg) and QB Matt Schilz doesn’t exactly light it up on Saturday’s with his arm (only 195 ypg).
Ohio has enjoyed a good run over Bowling Green in their head-to-head series of late, winning three in a row and four of the last five including last year’s game at Bowling Green, 29-28. Last year’s game (also on a Wednesday night) featured a last minute drive down the field orchestrated by Tettleton that ended with smiles when kicker Matt Weller drilled the game-winning field goal as time expired.
But while the Bobbies have enjoyed victory on the field, bettors should be aware that it’s actually Bowling Green that has been a covering machine (10-3 ATS in L13) in the series over the years both at home and on the road in Athens where the Falcons are 5-1 ATS in their last six visits to Peden Stadium.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This game is the classic great offense (Ohio) versus great defense (Bowling Green) matchup where something has to break. Despite the low line of 3, many feel that it’d be a major upset if BG were to beat Ohio. It’s not going to happen though. This is a VERY fishy line. It opened at 3.5 and has dropped down to 3 despite the fact that everybody is wagering on Ohio. Well, everybody but the wiseguys. Take BG plus the points in one of those guys that might not make much sense to your brain, but will make cents to your wallet.
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