Toledo Rockets vs. Buffalo Bulls Pick 11/20/19
Toledo Rockets (6-4 SU, 4-6 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bulls (5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS)
When: Wednesday, November 20, 7:30 p.m EST
Where: UB Stadium, Buffalo, N.Y.
Point Spread: TOL +7.5/BUFF -7.5 (BetNow - 50% Real Cash Bonus up to $1000!)
Total: O/U 54
Outlook For Week 13
It should have been so easy for Buffalo. It was all there for the Bulls to claim bowl eligibility and set themselves up for their second consecutive postseason appearance. All they had to do was hold a 27-6 lead on Kent State over the final 12 minutes of the game. But the Bulls blew it, allowing the Golden Flashes to roar back with 24 unanswered points to hand Buffalo a loss and severely damage their bowl hopes. Six wins in the MAC mean a team is eligible, but on the bubble, because there’s no guarantee that enough bowl slots will be available for a MAC team to claim one.
Seven wins, however, is guaranteed postseason, and that’s the opportunity that Toledo now has in front of it. In fact, the Rockets have a chance at much more than that, as if they win out and get some help from Northern Illinois against Western Michigan, they’d be in the position to claim the MAC’s Western Division thanks to tiebreakers with both Western Michigan and Central Michigan. But to do that, Toledo’s going to have to do something it’s yet to do in conference play: win outside of the Glass Bowl. The Rockets have left their home twice in league play, and the results have not been pretty: they’ve been outscored 72-21.
How the Public is Betting the Toledo/Buffalo Game
Despite Buffalo’s collapse, the public is putting more faith in the Rockets’ awful road performances than it is in the Bulls’ recent showing, giving Buffalo an extra point on the spread since the opening. The total has moved up just slightly, jumping from 53.5 points to 54.
Quarterbacks Mitchell Guadagni and Carter Bradley are both questionable with undisclosed injuries while running back Bryant Koback is questionable with a leg injury. Defensive end Terrance Taylor was ejected for targeting against Northern Illinois and is suspended for this game.
Quarterback Matt Myers is out for the season with a neck injury.
When Toledo Has the Ball
Bryant Koback gave it a go last week, but he only lasted two carries before re-injuring his leg and having to leave the game. The Rockets aren’t counting on him being on the field, so the job falls to Shakif Seymour. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Seymour carried it for 175 yards on the ground against Kent State and followed with 133 yards against Northern Illinois. He’s done a nice job in relief of Koback, but like his team, all of his damage has come in the Glass Bowl. Against Bowling Green and Ball State, it was a much different story, as he accumulated just 31 yards in the two contests combined.
Toledo coach Jason Candle would love to see Eli Peters build off of his game against Northern Illinois, which might have been his best game yet in a blue and gold uniform. Peters tossed for 300 yards and three scores and gave Toledo a chance against the Huskies, ultimately ending up with a 31-28 defeat that was the Rockets’ first home loss of the season. How Peters deals with the loss will be an interesting subplot that will determine how well the Rockets bounce back. Is he encouraged by the numbers, or discouraged by defeat at home?
When Buffalo Has the Ball
Forget the spread offense that has dominated college football when this offense takes the field. Buffalo will pound the rock, and it will do so with two bell cow backs, Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks. Patterson has 1,136 rushing yards on the season, which puts him second in the MAC behind Western Michigan’s Levante Bellamy, while Marks has produced a solid 783 rushing yards. In fact, the Bulls are so reliant on their ground game that Patterson has only four fewer carries than Buffalo has passing attempts for the entire season.
Kyle Vantrease has been a game manager under center for the Bulls since Matt Myers’ injury, and to his credit, he doesn’t lose games for the Bulls. He doesn’t win games either, but the Bulls don’t ask him to do that, relying on Patterson and Marks to bulldoze their way to a win. As long as Vantrease makes his reads and doesn’t turn the ball over, Buffalo will be pretty happy with his performance, and for the most part, that’s exactly what he’s done. For the year, he’s thrown six touchdowns against a single pick, and the interception meant nothing in a game Buffalo won by 23 over Central Michigan.
These teams don’t see each other very often, being in separate divisions. In fact, the last time Toledo played Buffalo, current Iowa State coach Matt Campbell was the Toledo coach. So the fact that Toledo is 1-5 ATS in the past six matchups between the teams doesn’t tell you much. What is helpful is the fact that Buffalo had been a cover machine in MAC play up until the Kent State choke, having covered the past four games prior to that defeat. Buffalo has also been a reliable home team, having posted a 13-4 ATS mark in its last 17 games at UB Stadium.
Toledo’s at the other end of the spectrum. The Rockets haven’t covered on the road once this season, and they’ve managed just one cover in their past five league games. Where the Rockets do succeed is either in putting up points or giving them up. The over has hit in Toledo’s previous four league games, and that fits well with the Bulls, who have hit the over in seven of their past nine November games with one push.
Given what Lake Erie is capable of producing in November, this could be a heck of a lot worse. The temperature is projected to hit 40 degrees, with partly cloudy skies.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
I’d be lying if I said my faith in Buffalo wasn’t shaken right now after watching the Bulls fall apart against Kent State. But Toledo has been nothing short of horrendous when it ventures outside of its stadium. The Rockets faced a rivalry game at Bowling Green, which might be one of the five worst teams in the nation, and managed to lose 20-7. Against Ball State, a credible squad, the damage was even worse, as the Cardinals cruised to a 52-14 win over the Rockets in Muncie.
All season long, that’s been the book on Toledo: the Rockets play well at home but get them outside the Glass Bowl, and Toledo becomes infinitely easier to defeat. There’s a reason that Buffalo’s giving more than a touchdown despite a lesser record and the Rockets’ opportunity, and that’s because Toledo has yet to prove that it knows how to play football when it gets away from its home stadium.
Buffalo burned me last week, but this time, the Bulls are at home and know that there’s no margin for error. If they succeed here, their final game is at home against Bowling Green, and that means they’d almost certainly get win No. 7 and another chance at the program’s first-ever bowl victory. I can’t see them blowing this chance again, not against Toledo at home. Did you know that you can lay -105 on sides/totals instead of the spendier -110 that you’re risking? Start saving money today by taking advantage of reduced odds sports betting at 5Dimes!
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