Miami (Ohio) RedHawks (4-7 SU, 6-5 ATS) vs. Ohio Bobcats (8-3 SU, 5-6 ATS), 7:00 p.m. EST, Week 13 NCAA Football, Tuesday, November 22, 2011, Peden Stadium, Athens, Ohio, TV: ESPN2
by Badger, College Sports Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MU +7/OU -7
With the East Division of the Mid-American Conference all wrapped up the Ohio Bobcats will play for a little in-state Ohio pride on Tuesday night when they host the Miami-Ohio RedHawks in Peden Stadium for an early week showdown on ESPN2.
The Bobcats clinched the MAC East title last Wednesday with an exciting last-second victory in Bowling Green, 29-28. Trailing by two with over seven minutes to go and with the ball on their own 10-yard line, Ohio went on an 83-yard time-consuming drive that culminated with a game-winning 23-yard field goal by Matt Weller as time expired.
The win assured the Bobcats of at least a tie in the MAC East race, even if they lose to Miami on Tuesday, but with the head-to-head victory over Temple a few weeks earlier the Bobcats are guaranteed a birth in the MAC Championship game Dec. 2 at Ford Field in Detroit.
Part of the formula for Ohio clinching the East title was the fact that Miami was beaten by Western Michigan last Wednesday just a few channels down the dial, 24-21. The RedHawks still had an outside chance at the title if they won the final two weeks of the regular season, but the loss in Kalamazoo crushed those chances and made this weeks game versus the Bobcats a contest for the Battle of the Bricks only.
With no post-season ramifications involved in this game at all, the oddsmakers out in Las Vegas opened the game with Ohio as 7-point touchdown favorites at home. The opening point spread has held firm for the most part too, except there are few offshore sportsbooks that have moved the number up the hook to minus -7.5 to take the push out of play on Tuesday.
As of press time the over/under total has yet to be released.
When you look at the offenses that both teams will put on the field in this game Tuesday, you start and finish at the quarterback position.
Ohio is led by sophomore Tyler Tettleton, who rushed for a career-high 128 yards and a score in the victory over Bowling Green and added 194 yards passing and a touchdown in the air. Tettleton leads a balanced Bobcat attack (254 ypg passing 209 ypg rushing) with solid talent around him in running back Donte Harden (795 yards) and No. 1 receiver LaVon Brazill (905 yards, 11 TD).
Miamis offense goes as far as junior quarterback Zac Dysert can take it. Dysert has thrown for over 3,000 yards this season and has a stud receiver in Nick Harwell to throw it to (1,262 yards, 8 TD), by a lack of a running game (only 75 ypg -120th in NCAA) has all but made the RedHawks one-dimensional as a pass-only offense. The RedHawks have allowed 42 sacks because of the pass-only approach, the worst mark in the MAC.
The other large difference in this game is that both of these teams can play a little defense, contrary to what the rest of the MAC seems to do each week.
Ohio is ranked 2nd in the MAC in scoring defense, allowing just 22.7 points per game. Miami is right behind them ranked 3rd, with a 23.1 points per game mark. The two teams are also ranked 3rd (343 ypg) and 5th (357 ypg), respectively, in total defense in the MAC, which explains why both of these teams were involved the title race and not in the 120-point track meets weve grown accustomed to watching in MAC games the past few weeks.
Ohio has dominated the Battle of the Bricks in recent years, winning five straight games in the head-to-head series that was coined because both schools are well known for their red brick campuses. Last year the Bobcats won on the road in Oxford, 34-13, behind a power running game that tallied 223 yards and a 5.1 yards per carry average. Interestingly enough though, the RedHawks won five straight in the previous five years, so this series has been a streaky one.
Not only has Ohio won on the field every time since 2006, but they are also a perfect 5-0 ATS during the streak too. The Bobcats were the favorites in all but one of the games, and theyve covered the number as high as 14-points (in 2009) during the streak.
The rest of the betting trends are thin, with Ohio going 18-8 ATS in their last 26 MAC games and 6-2 ATS in their last eight as a home favorite of 3.5 or more points. Miami is 5-2 ATS in their last seven overall, but they drop to 0-4 ATS as a road underdogs of 3.5 points or higher.
The over/under trends are sketchy too, with the under showing some good trends on the Miami side of the equation (5-2 in Miamis Tuesday games, 7-3 in L10 on the road, 10-4 in L14 MAC games), while the over is strong on the Bobcats side (11-5 in L16 overall, 9-2 in L11 in Nov.).
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: After clinching the title last week, this is a classic letdown spot for the Bobcats. But I think the fact they have a veteran coach (Frank Solich), and that its a home game in Peden Stadium with a rivalry on the line, I dont expect the Bobcats to go down too easy. Plus, I think they are just the better team. Im taking Ohio minus the points.
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