Toledo Rockets (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS) vs. Akron Zips (5-4 SU, 3-6 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 7:30 PM EST
Where: InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field, Akron, Ohio
TV: ESPN2, DirecTV 209
by Badger, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TOL -8.5/AKR +8.5
Over/Under Total: 71
Two Mid-American Conference teams coming off of bad losses will try and put the memories behind them when they get together for a midweek Hump Day MACtion game inside InfoCision Stadium when the Toledo Rockets travel to play the Akron Zips on ESPN2 Wednesday night.
The Rockets havent really missed a beat under new head coach Jason Candle, their former offensive coordinator who was promoted to the top job when Matt Campbell left to take the Iowa State job last winter. That is, until last week Thursday when the Rockets laid a giant turd at home in a, 31-26, loss to Ohio. The Bobcats somehow found a way to keep the Rockets high-powered offense off the scoreboard, holding them to just six first-half points and then holding on for dear life at the end in the upset win on the road in Toledo.
However, Akron is coming off an equally embarrassing loss to Buffalo, handing the Bulls their first MAC win of the season in a lopsided, 41-20, defeat on the road. Akron just couldnt stop Buffalo running back Jordan Johnson, who ran roughshod over the Zips defense to the tune of 282 yards and two scores in the victory. Akron hasnt really put together two good games in a row all season, so maybe the loss last Thursday in Buffalo is a good omen for the Zips going into the MACtion game Wednesday in front of the home crowd in InfoCision Stadium.
Oddsmakers and the betting public seem to have other thoughts about Wednesday game however. The sportsbooks opened the midweek game with Toledo as large 8.5-point favorites and public bettors have hammered the Rockets so hard in the limited time the point spread has been live that several books have been forced to move the number up to Toledo minus -9.
There are still a lot of sportsbooks that havent listed an over/under total on their boards for this game just yet, but there are a few offshore books that have and the number they are opening with is 71.
That total is so high because as you would expect, Toledo is still one of the most prolific offenses in the country under Candle. Junior QB Logan Whiteside has already thrown for 2,700 yards through eight games this season and his 31 touchdowns is tied for second for the most touchdowns in all of FCS. The Rockets amass 544 yards a game (6th in FCS) and the 347 passing yards a game is 8th in the country which allows them to score 39.4 points per game. Whiteside and the Rockets offense should have a pretty easy time of it too, because like most MAC teams, the Zips seem to prefer to play little or no defense at all. The Zips defense allows 483 yards a game (118th), a 228 yard average on the ground and 34.2 points per game (108th).
Akrons offense always seems to be playing from behind all the time, but they do have some decent numbers on their side. The have a WR in Jojo Natson that has 11 touchdown catches, but a lack of a significant running game (110th in FCS 135 ypg) means that Natson and QB Thomas Woodson have to deal with defenses that are in constant pass-rush mode and its hurt the Zips balance and production.
Surprisingly, Akron has actually had good success in recent years against Toledo, especially at home. They beat the Rockets as 11-point underdogs the last time they met on this same field in 2013, 31-29. In 2008 it was a similar story, beating the Rockets, 47-30, in a high-scoring affair. But prior to those two games, it was all Toledo as the Rockets are 7-3 SU against the Zips including six in a row from 1994 to 2006.
Akron has also been a good wager against the Rockets too, winning three straight to go 3-0 ATS since 2008. But all told, Toledo is 6-4 ATS in the series.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: If Toledo wouldnt have crapped the bed last week versus Ohio at home I might have taken the barking home dog in the Zips for this one. But I think the Rockets come out with a major chip on the shoulder and I just dont think the Zips will be able to hang with the Rockets offense the entire game. Im taking Toledo minus the 8.5 points.
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