Toledo Rockets (5-3 SU, 2-6 ATS) vs. Kent State Golden Flashes (1-7 SU, 2-6 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date and Time: Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 8:00 pm EST
Where: Dix Stadium, Kent, Ohio
TV: ESPNU, DirecTV 208
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Tol. -12.5/Kent +12.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
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The Toledo Rockets will try and maintain their half-game lead in the Mid-American Conference West Division this week, when they go on the road to Dix Stadium to face the one-win Kent State Golden Flashes in a MAC shootout in primetime on ESPNU Tuesday night.
The Rockets sit atop the MAC-West standings at 4-0, a half-game ahead of Western Michigan (4-1), even though the Rockets have already beaten the Broncos earlier this season in an overtime thriller. Dont let the 5-3 record fool you, the Rockets have been the class of the MAC-West for some time now and their three losses this season have come against Missouri, Cincinnati and Iowa State, three teams from power conferences.
Its been a steady slope downward for the Golden Flashes since they won the MAC a few years ago, losing their first six games of the season this year before winning their first and only game of 2014 a few weeks ago over Army. Last time out the Flashes lost to Miami (Ohio) is what could have been he ugliest game in college football this season, a 10-3 loss on October 25th that saw Kent State go 2-for-13 on third down while the 2-8 Redhawks went a sterling 4-for-14 on 3rd down.
With nothing left to play for but pride, the Flashes will try and throw a monkey wrench in the Rockets march to another West Division title on Tuesday night, hoping to catch Toledo looking ahead to next weeks rivalry game against Northern Illinois in what many expected to be the game for the West division title.
With Kent State floundering again this season, its no surprise that oddsmakers installed Toledo as large 12.5-point favorites in the game Tuesday. The over/under total for the game has not yet been released as of press time.
Toledo enters the game on Tuesday with the MACs top-ranked offense, averaging 505 yards per game and a whopping 35 points per contest. Sophomore running back Kareem Hunt is one of the conferences top runner (145 ypg, 8 TDs) and sophomore receiver Corey Jones in one of the MACs top threats on the outside. Expect a big game out of Hunt, especially since the Kent State defense is one of the worst in the MAC and the entire FBS nation, allowing 217 yards a game on the ground.
Of course, the Rockets best defense is their high-scoring offense, as Toledo is dead last in the MAC in pass defense allowing an almost unheard of 344 yards passing a game through eight games. Whether or not Kent State is capable of capitalizing on that poor defense is a big question mark, since the Flashes are dead-last in scoring offense (14 ppg), dead-last in rushing offense (74 ypg) and not much better passing it either.
The last time these two teams crossed divisions and met on the field was back in 2010, in what turned into a 34-21 victory for Toledo. Historically, Toledo has won five of the last six games played (going back to 1991), although the Golden Flashes are a decent 2-2 SU at home against Toledo over the years. Toledo has covered some pretty big numbers in the past, including a 19.5 and 15 point spread in a couple of those early meetings. However, Tuesday night games have not gone so well for the Rockets in the past since they are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven games in the early-week time slot.
There is one betting trend thats worth a mention, and thats a wager on the under. The under is 9-3 in Toledos last 12 road games, while the under is 3-1-1 in Kent States last five home games at Dix Stadium.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I dont really like laying so may points in these back-n-forth MAC games early in the week. However, the Golden Flashes just arent a very good football team these days. They may keep it close early, but I just dont think they have the firepower on offense to get into a shootout with Toledo and remain close enough to keep it a game. Take Toledo minus the points.