Ohio Bobcats (5-3 SU, 5-3 ATS) vs. Bowling Green Falcons (6-2 SU, 6-2 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 8:00 pm EST
Where: Doyt L. Perry Stadium, Bowling Green, Ohio
TV: ESPN2, DirecTV 209
by Badger, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OHIO +18/BGSU -18
Over/Under Total: OFF
If anyone is going to stop the Bowling Green Falcons from running away with the Mid-American Conference (MAC) East division title this season, its going to have to start with the Ohio Bobcats this week when the Bobcats go on the road to Doyt L. Perry Stadium in Bowling Green for a crucial MAC East showdown in primetime this Wednesday night on ESPN2.
It might be a tall task to ask of the Bobcats, because Bowling Green is quietly one of the top teams in the MAC again this season and currently in the midst of a five-game winning streak that started with an upset of Purdue and most recently featured a, 48-0, whoopin of Kent State on the road on October 24th. In fact, the Falcons only have two losses this season and they were by three points to 15th-ranked Memphis and a lopsided loss at SEC big boy Tennessee in the opener, so you cant even say the Falcons arent battle tested either because they are.
Ohio on the other hand limps into the Wednesday Night national battle fresh off of two really embarrassing and lopsided losses, including a, 41-17, loss at Buffalo in their last game when they were 3-point favorites. A huge, 49-14, loss at home to Western Michigan proceeded that loss, so its been almost a full month since Ohio has even played good football, yet along strong enough to contend on the road against the division favorite Falcons.
Oddsmakers arent expecting much of a challenge on Wednesday either, installing Bowling Green as big time 18-point favorites at home when the point spread first went up on the board late on Sunday. With almost all of the early steam on Bowling Green, a few sportsbooks have already moved the number up to minus -19, making the Falcons over three-possession favorites for the first time this season.
The reason Bowling Green is the two-time defending MAC East champs can mostly be accredited to strong defenses over the years, but thats not the case in 2015. Senior quarterback Matt Johnson (70%, 3,321 yards, 29 TD/3 INT) has returned from missing almost all of last year with a knee injury and its actually the Falcons offense that is ranked 4th in FBS in yards (595 ypg), 8th in scoring (43.9 ppg) and is currently the top passing team in all of college football with over 434 yards passing per game. Johnsons favorite target Roger Lewis already has over 1,000 yards receiving (1,122) and 11 touchdowns, and the Falcons also have three other players that already have over 40 receptions this season. The Ohio defense isnt as bad as it looks on paper, and they do boast a strong secondary and have only allowed an average of 198 yards passing per game (40th in FBS), but they havent faced an opponent the caliber of Johnson and Bowling Green yet in 2015.
Ohios problem on defense is an offense that struggles to run that ball (131 ypg 111th), and is therefore forced to try and create big plays. QB Derrius Vick has thrown six interceptions, and many of them have been extra costly because they resulted in a pick-six the other way including two in the loss at Buffalo last time out. Ohio will need to somehow find a way to control the clock and keep the Falcons off the field if they are going to have any chance at covering the point spread at all.
Historically, the series between these two schools has been a streaky one. Bowling Green is currently riding a three-game win streak over Ohio, including last years, 31-13 victory in Athens. But prior to their three-gamer, it was actually the Bobcats that enjoyed a three-game win streak of their own in the series from the years 2009 to 2011. Bettors will need to take note that Bowling Green is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings with Ohio, and also 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings at home in Bowling Green against the Bobcats. The only betting trend that doesnt favor the Falcons in this one is the fact that they are only 2-5-2 ATS in their last nine games on Wednesdays, so the trend says they dont like to cover the spread on these nationally televised mid-week contests.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Bowling Green is the quietest 6-win team in the country, and I have a feeling they have a little bit of a coming out party in front of the country on ESPN2 this week. Normally I dont advocate for taking big chalk in a college game, but in this case I think the Falcons cover it easily. Im taking Bowling Green minus the points in this one.
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