Today is a sad day as it is the last Tuesday night MACtion for the 2021 season. The good news is that we are approaching Bowl Season, and there will be a lot of awesome games in the future.
The even better news is that we have two excellent matchups tonight, and the board is looking great. Let's get right into the picks as tonight is not just another night of gambling, it is a celebration of the greatest league in sports. The MAC holds a special place in the hearts of all gamblers, and I intended to end this season with a bang.
I wish everyone good luck tonight, and please remember to always gamble responsibly.
*Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Buffalo Bulls at Ball State Cardinals
Buffalo has a strong roster, but they have been terrible in MAC play this season. They have lost three-straight games, and the Bulls are only 2-5 in conference play. In their conference games this season, Buffalo is giving up 34.6 points per game.
On the other side, Ball State is playing for bowl eligibility tonight, and while the record doesn't show it, the offense has been playing well lately. Over their last six games, they are putting up 29.5 points per game, which is five points higher than their season average. The Cardinals are only gaining 5.0 yards per play, and if we are talking efficiency, Ball State is not very efficient.
I am going to be honest, neither of these teams does anything very well. Buffalo runs the ball at a 57.7% rate, but they only gain 4.3 yards per carry. Quarterback Kyle Vantrease has had an average season, but with him out for the season, Buffalo is turning to Matt Myers, who has only started one game this season.
The Ball State defense is not better than the Buffalo offense, but they do a good job at eliminating the explosive plays. The Bulls are 34th in 20+ yard plays allowed, and they only allow 4.3 yards per rush.
Both teams are evenly-mediocre, but one team is starting an inexperienced quarterback against a defense that keeps everything in front of them. The other team, which is Ball State if you have not caught on, is going to the MAC Championship for the second straight year. This is not a must-win game since they have two chances, including tonight to become bowl eligible, but they certainly would rather have that sixth win heading into the MAC Championship game.
Pick: Ball State -6.5 (-110)
Western Michigan Broncos at Northern Illinois Huskies
Northern Illinois ran away with the MAC West division this year and has a date in Detroit with Ball State next week for the MAC Championship. Like every team in the MAC, the Huskies have problems on the defensive side of the ball, but the reason why they have the best record in the MAC is their rushing attack.
The Huskies are ranked 38th in yards per rush (4.8) and 10th in rushing yards per game (222). While quarterback Rocky Lombardi has shown that he can be a gunslinger this season, the running game will be key tonight against a Western Michigan defense that allows 146 rushing yards per game.
The good news for Western Michigan is that they also run the ball extremely well. They average 4.3 yards per rush and 189.3 rushing yards per game. The offense is one of the most explosive in the MAC, but they have been shut down on a few occasions against Eastern Michigan, Toledo, and Ball State.
When both teams are good and bad at the same thing, it makes me nervous, but there is one key detail for this game. Northern Illinois has absolutely nothing to play for, and that is a big reason why they are a 4.5 point home dog. I am throwing the trends out for this one and going with Western Michigan and their lethal offense against a team that probably doesn't really care about this game.
Pick: Western Michigan -4.5 (-106)
Photo: Getty Images