November 6, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Brian Edwards went 3-0 last Tuesday and Wednesday in MAC games, and then cashed another easy winner with Buffalo last night. He is now on a 9-2 run (81,8%, +6.8 Units!) with his past 11 guaranteed picks, so don't miss out on his next pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
Gamblers have a pair of MACtion games to tackle Wednesday, meaning there are a pair of sides and totals, in addition to first quarter and first-half wagers. Let’s get you prepped up for these contests now before sorting through a plethora of national notes in Bonus Nuggets down below…
**Ohio at Miami (OH.)**
-- As of Tuesday morning, most betting shops had Ohio (6-3 straight up, 6-3 against the spread) installed as a 3.5-point road favorite with a total of 63. The RedHawks were +145 on the money line (risk $100 to win $145).
-- Ohio is 4-1 in MAC play, one game back of 5-0 Buffalo in the East Division standings. (The Bulls were hosting Kent State as heavy home favorites on Tuesday night. These rivals will collide in Athens in next Wednesday.
-- Frank Solich’s squad has won five of its past six games both SU and ATS, including last week’s 59-14 win at Western Michigan as a three-point road ‘chalk.’ The 73 combined points went ‘over’ the 65-point tally. The Bobcats stormed out to a 45-0 halftime lead and coasted into the win column. QB Nathan Rourke connected on 12-of-14 passes for 149 yards and three TDs without an interception. He also ran for 68 yards and two TDs on nine attempts. Senior RB A.J. Ouellette ran for 71 yards and one score on eight carries. Senior WR Andrew Meyer had four receptions for 65 yards, while senior WR Papi White had four grabs for 39 yards and one TD.
-- Ohio has won three straight games vs. Bowling Green (49-14), vs. Ball State (52-14) and at Western Michigan, combining to score 160 points. The Bobcats have taken the cash in four straight outings. Their three defeats came vs. Virginia (45-31 in Nashville), at Cincinnati (34-30) and at No. Illinois (24-21).
-- Rourke has completed 62.9 percent of his throws for 1,766 yards with a 17/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The junior signal caller has rushed for a team-high 637 yards and eight TDs with a 7.3 yards-per-carry average. Rourke’s favorite target is White, who has 42 receptions for 706 yards and seven TDs. Andrew Meyer has 27 catches for 370 yards and three TDs.
-- Ouellette has rushed for 609 yards and eight TDs with a 4.8 YPC average, while Maleek Irons has 566 rushing yards, six TDs and a 6.5 YPC average. Ouellette has 13 catches for 117 yards and one TD, while Irons has five receptions for 34 yards and one TD.
-- Miami (3-6 SU, 5-4 ATS) has lost outright in three of four home games while going 2-2 ATS. This is Chuck Martin’s second game as a home underdog this year, as it covered the spread in a 40-39 loss to Western Michigan as a three-point ‘dog.
-- Miami saw its 5-0 ATS run ended last Tuesday night in a 51-42 loss at Buffalo as a seven-point road underdog. The Bulls missed an extra point when they took a 48-42 advantage with 8:53 remaining, but kicker Adam Mitcheson made amends with 3:54 left by burying a 37-yard field goal to secure the spread cover. The RedHawks twice led by seven in the first quarter and battled back from two separate 14-point deficit in the third quarter. Trailing 42-28 with 2:29 left in the third, senior QB Gus Ragland hit Kenny Young for a 59-yard TD pass. Then with 17 ticks remaining in the third, Ragland pulled his team even at 42-42 on a one-yard TD plunge.
-- In the loss at Buffalo, Ragland completed 20-of-35 passes for 313 yards and one TD without an interception. He rushed 16 times for 53 yards and three TDs. RB Alonzo Smith ran for a team-best 63 rushing yards and two scores on 13 attempts. Young had five receptions for 95 yards and one TD.
-- Ragland has enjoyed a stellar career. During his senior campaign, he’s completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 2,082 yards with a 15/3 TD-INT ratio. Ragland has rushed for 198 yards and five TDs. For his career, Ragland has 5,847 passing yards, 866 rushing yards, a 54/11 TD-INT ratio and 12 rushing TDs.
-- Smith has run for 405 yards and four TDs with a 4.8 YPC average. Young has 34 receptions for 308 yards and four TDs, in addition to rushing for 259 yards and three TDs with a 6.8 YPC average. Jack Sorenson has become Ragland’s favorite target since two-time All-MAC selection James Gardner went down with a season-ending injury. Gardner, who had 92 receptions for 1,677 yards and 17 TDs in 2016 and ’17, had 12 catches for 157 yards before getting injured early in a Week 3 loss at Minnesota. Sorenson had made 39 grabs for 593 yards and two TDs.
-- As a home underdog during Martin’s five-year tenure, Miami owns a 5-4-1 spread record in 10 such spots.
-- Before last week’s loss at Buffalo, Miami went 3-2 SU and 5-0 ATS with its outright defeats coming by two combined points. In addition to the gut-wrenching defeat vs. Western Michigan, the RedHawks lost 31-30 at Army in double overtime as 6.5-point road underdogs. After the Black Knights went ahead 31-24 on their first possession to start the second OT, Miami responded with Ragland’s 18-yard TD pass to Luke Maycock. Martin then elected to go for two and the win on the road, but Ragland’s conversion pass failed. Ragland threw for 329 yards and four TDs without a pick at Army.
-- Ohio has won five games in a row in this head-to-head series, going 3-1-1 ATS with three consecutive spread covers. The lone non-cover came in a 41-16 win as a 26-point home favorite in 2013. The Bobcats won a 45-28 decision last season as 6.5-point home ‘chalk.’ The 73 combined points soared ‘over’ the 54-point total to end a 7-1 surge of ‘unders’ in this in-state rivalry. Rourke completed 21-of-33 passes for 294 yards and three TDs without an interception, in addition to rushing for 54 yards and three scores on 10 carries. White had five receptions for 80 yards and one TD. Ragland didn’t play due to an injury.
-- Miami will be without two defensive starters in senior LB Junior McMullen and senior DT Nate Trawich, both of whom are ‘out’ with season-ending injuries. In six games, McMullen had recorded 42 tackles, one sack, 3.5 tackles for loss, one QB hurry and one pass broken up. In five games, Trawich had produced 11 tackles and 0.5 sacks. Also, three other defensive starters – DB De’Andre Mongomery, DB Daryus Thompson and DB Deondre Daniels – are listed as ‘questionable.’ Daniels has missed four games in a row and Thompson sat out last week’s loss at Buffalo. Montgomery has 55 tackles, one sack and 0.5 TFL’s despite missing the loss at Army and being limited at Buffalo. Thompson has 19 tackles, two PBU, 1.5 TFL’s and one QB hurry.
-- The ‘over’ is 6-3 overall for the RedHawks, 2-2 in their home games. They’ve seen the ‘over’ hit at a 5-1 clip in their past six games. Miami's games have averaged combined scores of 55.8 PPG.
-- The ‘under’ is on a 3-1-1 run for the Bobcats, but they’ve watched the ‘over’ go 5-3-1 overall and 2-2 in their road assignments (3-2 if you count the ‘over’ that hit when Ohio’s road game at Virginia was moved to Nashville due to a hurricane in September). Ohio’s games have averaged combined scores of 67.8 PPG.
-- According to weather.com on Tuesday morning, the forecast in Oxford for Wednesday night was calling for clear skies, lights winds of 4-5 miles per hour and temperatures in the mid-30s Fahrenheit.
-- Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU.
**Toledo at Northern Illinois**
-- As of Tuesday morning, most spots had No. Illinois (6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS) listed as a three-point favorite with a total of 55.5. The Rockets were available to win outright for a +140 payout (risk $100 to win $140).
-- Since losing 37-19 at FSU in a game that was closer than the final score indicated on Sept. 22, Rod Carey’s team has won five games in a row while going 4-1 versus the number. NIU is off a 36-26 win at Akron as a six-point road favorite last Thursday. The 62 combined points catapulted ‘over’ the 37-point total to end a 4-0 run of ‘unders’ for the Huskies. Sophomore QB Marcus Childers attempted 28 passes and completed 21 of those for 188 yards and one TD without an interception. Sophomore RB Tre Harbison rushed 23 times for 169 yards and one TD.
-- No. Illinois has won two of its three home games while compiling a 1-2 spread record. The outright defeat was a 17-6 setback vs. Utah when the Utes got a pick-six late in the fourth quarter to put the game on ice. The only other loss for the Huskies came by a 33-7 count at Iowa in the season opener. They're 5-0 in conference play and sit atop the MAC West with a 1.5-game advantage over Western Michigan, which is 4-2 in league action and hosts NIU on the regular-season finale on Nov. 20. The Rockets still have a pulse in the division with their 3-2 MAC record, but they must win here to keep their conference hopes alive.
-- NIU is ranked 12th in the nation in run defense and 29th in scoring ‘D,’ limiting foes to an average of 21.7 PPG. This unit won’t have DE Quintin Wynne in the first half due to a targeting penalty from last week. Wynne has produced 21 tackles, one sack, four TFL’s and two QB hurries.
-- Toledo (5-4 SU, 4-5 ATS) has won back-to-back games both SU and ATS, including a 45-13 win over Ball State as a 19.5-point home favorite last Wednesday. The 58 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 64-point total. The Rockets’ defense produced five turnovers and scored a TD. Therefore, QB Eli Peters’s four interception were easily overcome. Peters completed 25-of-34 passes for 327 yards and two TDs. WR Diontae Johnson had five receptions for 100 yards, while Cody Thompson brought down six catches for 75 yards and one TD. Redshirt freshman RB Bryant Koback ran for 78 yards and two TDs on 15 attempts.
-- Toledo is 1-2 both SU and ATS in its three road assignments. The Rockets are 1-1 both SU and ATS as road underdogs this year and 3-3 ATS as road ‘dogs during Jason Candle’s three-year tenure.
-- Toledo is ranked 11th in the nation in scoring, averaging 41.2 PPG.
-- Peters is expected to get the starting nod at NIU since Mitchell Guadagni is ‘doubtful’ with a shoulder injury. Guadagni has missed two games and parts of several others. He has completed 57.5 percent of his passes for 1,053 yards with a 13/3 TD-INT ratio. Guadagni has rushed for 429 yards and three TDs with a 5.6 YPC average. Peter has connected on 53.7 percent of his throws for 998 yards with an 11/6 TD-INT ratio.
-- Toledo has one of the nation's top groups of WRs. Diontae Johnson, a first-team All-MAC selection last year, has 33 receptions for 583 yards and seven TDs. Diontae Johnson is second in the MAC in all-purpose yards with 1,095. Thompson, a first-team All-MAC choice in 2016 who missed last season injured and was redshirted, has 31 catches for 425 yards and 10 TDs. Jon’Vea Johnson has 21 grabs for 415 yards and four TDs.
-- Koback has rushed for a team-high 512 yards and nine TDs with a 5.8 YPC average. Shakif Seymour has 422 rushing yards, three TDs and a 4.6 YPC average, while Art Thompkins has 328 rushing yards, three TDs and a 5.3 YPC average.
-- Toledo beat NIU 27-17 as a 7.5-point home favorite in last season’s encounter at The Glass Bowl. The 44 combined points went ‘under’ the 56.5-point tally. Diontae Johnson had 10 receptions for 166 yards.
-- The ‘under’ is 7-2 overall for NIU, 3-0 in its home contests. The Huskies have seen their games average combined scores of 40.9 PPG.
-- The ‘over’ is 6-3 overall for Toledo, 2-1 in its road assignments. However, the Rockets have watched the ‘under’ go 3-1 in their past four contests. They’ve seen their games produce average combined scores of 72.0 PPG.
-- The ‘under’ has been a winner in six straight head-to-head meetings between these schools.
-- According to weather.com as of Tuesday morning, temperatures in Dekalb on Wednesday night are expected to dip into the mid-20s Fahrenheit. Conditions are supposed to clear but winds could be a factor at 10-20 mph.
-- ESPN2 will provide the broadcast at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman is ‘out’ for Saturday’s home game vs. Texas. The Red Raiders might be without star senior LB Dakota Allen, who was ‘questionable’ after leaving last week’s narrow loss to Oklahoma with a knee injury.
-- Stanford is dealing with a slew of key injuries heading into Saturday’s home game vs. Oregon State. RB Bryce Love (ankle), WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (ankle), OG Nate Herbig and back-up RB Trevor Speights are listed as ‘questionable.’ Love and Herbig were first-team All-Americans in Phil Steele’s preseason magazine and Arcega-Whiteside was a fourth-teamer. The Cardinal remains without defensive starters in LB Joey Alfieri and safety Ben Edwards, both of whom are out indefinitely. Arcega-Whiteside has 48 receptions for 754 yards and 11 TDs. The ‘over’ is on a 5-1 run for Stanford in its past six games.
-- The ‘under’ has cashed in five straight games for California, which was – depending on how you look at it -- fortunate to cover the number yet unfortunate to not pull the outright upset in a 19-13 loss at Washington State as a 7.5-point road underdog this past week. The Cougars missed a short field goal and an extra point in the second half, in addition to missing out on an easy scoring opportunity when Willie Taylor‘s interception that appeared destined to become a pick-six turned into a touchback instead. Taylor intercepted Cal’s RS freshman QB Chase Gabers at the Cal 40 and was tripped up three yards shy of paydirt. As Taylor was going down, however, he coughed the ball up before his knee was down and the ball went through the end zone. With the game tied and 7:34 remaining, Garbers was inexplicably lifted in favor of the more mobile back-up QB Brandon McIlwain, who started his career at South Carolina, on a first-and-10 play from WSU’s 12. McIlwain rolled to his right and overthrew his receiver in the end zone and was intercepted by Skyler Thomas. Nevertheless, Justin Wilcox’s defense held Mike Leach’s offense to a season-low 19 points one week after limiting Washington 10 points. The Golden Bears are at USC this week. They were 5.5-point road underdogs Tuesday morning, and a few offshores had released the total at 48.
-- As of early Tuesday, Utah State QB Jordan Love was ‘questionable’ for Saturday’s home vs. San Jose State. The Aggies improved to 8-1 both SU and ATS with last week’s 56-17 win at Hawaii as 18-point road ‘chalk.’ Love, who has thrown for 2,185 yards with an 19/4 TD-INT ratio, left the game in the first half after taking a knee to the helmet and didn’t return. The ‘over’ also improved to 8-1 when the 73 combined points went ‘over’ the 70.5-point total before the end of the third quarter. Love also has five rushing scores this year. He was replaced by RS freshman Henry Colombi, who has completed 33-of-40 throws this season for 239 yards. Colombi also has 122 rushing yards and one TD on 13 carries. Love has been on fire since Week 3, throwing 18 TD passes compared to merely one interception.
-- Speaking of Hawaii, this team has needed an open date in the worst way for more than a month. The Warriors, who are finally off this weekend after playing 11 games in 11 weeks, got off to a shocking 6-1 start, but they’ve lost four games in a row both SU and ATS as their insane travel schedule has caught up with them. All four of the L’s during Hawaii’s current slide have come by margins of 18 points or more. Although he’s certainly cooled off in recent weeks, QB Cole McDonald still has outstanding numbers for the season: 3,163 passing yards with a 32/6 TD-INT ratio.
-- South Alabama QB Evan Orth is dealing with a shoulder issue that has him listed as ‘questionable’ for Saturday’s home game vs. ULM. Orth has thrown for 1,704 yards with a 10/3 TD-INT ratio for the Jaguars.
-- UNLV QB Armani Rogers is hoping to return to action Saturday at San Diego State. Rogers has been out since late September with a broken toe. He’s ‘questionable’ against the Aztecs. Rogers had a 6/4 TD-INT ratio, 488 rushing yards, six rushing scores and a 6.9 YPC average before going down in Week 4. Without Rogers, the Rebels have lost five consecutive contests and gone 1-4 ATS.
-- San Diego State had been without star RB Juwan Washington since Week 4 until he returned this past weekend in a 31-23 non-covering triumph at New Mexico. Washington ran for 95 yards and two TDs on 11 carries. In five games, Washington has run for 608 yards and seven TDs with a 5.5 YPC average. Starting QB Christian Chapman also came back at UNM after missing six straight games while injured. Chapman connected on 13-of-19 throws for 182 yards and one TD without an interception.
-- Appalachian State QB Zac Thomas (concussion) has been upgraded to ‘probable' at Texas State. Thomas has an 11/4 TD-INT ratio, 1,145 passing yards, 281 rushing yards and six rushing TDs. After going down in a 34-14 loss at Ga. Southern, Thomas missed a 23-7 win at Coastal Carolina.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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