Tuesday MAC Pick: Western Michigan vs. Ball State
Western Michigan Broncos (6-4 SU, 3-7 ATS) vs. Ball State Cardinals (3-7 SU, 4-6 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 11
Date/Time: Tuesday November 13th, 2018. 6:00PM (EST)
Where: Scheumann Stadium Muncie, I.N.
Point Spread:WMU -7.5/BALL +7.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
College Football will get an early start once again this week as the MAC takes over the prime-time spotlight on Tuesday when the Western Michigan Broncos visit the Ball State Cardinals at Scheumann Stadium. The Broncos dropped their 2nd straight game last week in a big 59-14 loss to Ohio. The loss hurt the Broncos chances of taking down the MAC West as they now trail Northern Illinois by two games. To have a chance at the division, the Broncos need to take care of business this Tuesday night and hope for a Northern Illinois loss on Saturday. If that happens, it will set the stage for next week’s meeting between Western Michigan and N. Illinois for the division. However, the Broncos must first take care of business this Tuesday in the wake of a significant setback following last week’s loss to Ohio.
Western Michigan QB Jon Wassink out for the year
The Broncos blowout loss to Ohio hurt in more ways than one last week. Aside from the damage suffered in the race for the MAC West, the Broncos also lost junior quarterback Jon Wassink with an ankle injury. It was reported Sunday that Wassink will require season-ending surgery meaning the offense will turn to backup freshman quarterback Kaleb Eleby. Eleby came in after Wassink went down in the 1st quarter last week but completed just 10 of 19 passing for 152 yards with 1 touchdown and two picks. Obviously, Eleby does not have much experience as the prior starter so there will be some lingering concerns surrounding his effectiveness ahead of Tuesday night’s matchup with the Ball State defense.
So far this season, Ball State has struggled massively on the defensive side of the ball. The Cardinals rank 87th in the FBS allowing over 30 points per game, and they have also allowed 412 total yards per game. However, perhaps Ball State can take advantage of the Western Michigan backup quarterback situation this week and force a few turnovers. The Cardinals are not strangers to turnovers. In their most recent loss to Toledo, there were 10 turnovers in the game including 5 from each team. For the Ball State defense, the key will be winning the turnover battle and putting the major focus on Broncos running back LeVante Bellamy. Bellamy has been great this season with 907 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns. Given the situation, I expect Bellamy to be a big focus for the offense this week and that will be an important match-up for this Ball State defense.
Ball State offense struggles continue
The good news for Western Michigan fans is that the Broncos will likely not need a huge offensive effort this Tuesday because the Cardinals have struggled tremendously to put points on the board. In fact, Ball State has only scored more than 20 points once in the last 5 games. The Cardinals have averaged just 17 points per game during the last 5 games. The problems have been all over the field. The offense has not run the ball well, the quarterback play has been poor, and there have been too many turnovers. Starting quarterback Riley Neal was sidelined with an ankle injury in the loss to Toledo and is currently considered a game-time decision. If Neal is unable to go, quarterback Drew Pitt will step into the starting role again. Neal is definitely the better quarterback, but I am not sure if either player is the answer for this offense. Still, the injury status from the Cardinals starting quarterback should be monitoring leading up to game time.
Neither team has produced results for bettors in recent weeks. The Broncos are just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games while the Cardinals are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games. In fact, Ball State is just 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games at home to show an even longer depressing trend. From a head to head standpoint, the Broncos have shown some hope going 4-1 SU and 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings against Ball State.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I am trusting the offense here with the least problems and capable of producing a lot of points. Take Western Michigan -7.5. BONUS ALERT: Get the best bang for your deposit by visiting Intertops.