Last Updated Nov 23, 2022, 10:31 AM
Tuesday MACtion Picks, Predictions, Odds
Sports Betting Expert
Four MAC teams will finish up their regular season schedules on Tuesday, and each team has something on the line. Ball State will travel to Miami-Ohio with both teams looking to get their sixth win in order to become bowl eligible.
Ball State Cardinals at Miami (Ohio) Redhawks
Ball State is happy to take on another middle of the pack MAC team after facing the two best teams in the conference the last two weeks. The Cardinals were unable to beat either Toledo or Ohio, but they were competitive in both games. That has Mike Neu optimistic that Ball State can make a bowl game for the third straight season under his watch. However, the Cardinals may not have star running back Carson Steele available after he left last week's game due to injury. Steele has run for 1,376 yards (5.2 YPC) and 12 touchdowns this season, and the second-leading rusher on Ball State has just 133 yards.
That would put more pressure on quarterback John Paddock to get it done through the air for the Cardinals. Paddock has largely dumped off underneath to receivers as this is more of a lateral passing game than a downfield attack. He is completing 59.7% of his passes for 2,606 yards (5.8 YPA) with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Paddock hasn't averaged more than 7.0 YPA in a game since October 1, and that will likely need to change if Ball State is going to pull off the upset. Jayshon Jackson is the top receiver with 72 receptions for 822 yards and three touchdowns, while tight ends Brady Hunt and Tanner Koziol are worth watching in the red zone with a combined 12 touchdown receptions.
Miami of Ohio has one of the best defenses in the MAC. The RedHawks rank 37th in Defensive SP+, as they are surrendering 23.9 PPG and 5.3 yards per play on the season despite playing good teams like Kentucky and Cincinnati in non-conference play. However, this offense has been one of the worst with Aveon Smith under center, ranking 127th in Offensive SP+. Brett Gabbert has been solid in his four starts, but he was injured against Ohio and didn't play last week. He will get another year of eligibility if he misses this game, so it seems unlikely that he will suit up given the circumstances. That gives Ball State an edge as Smith isn't anywhere near as good of a passer. The RedHawks are averaging just 3.9 YPC, making it smart to go with the underdogs here as the Cardinals can definitely pull off the upset on Tuesday night to become bowl eligible.
Bowling Green Falcons at Ohio Bobcats
No one knows whether or not Kurtis Rourke will be available for this game. Rourke was on his way to being named the best player in the MAC this season before he went down with a knee injury in last week's win over Ball State. He has completed 69.1% of his passes for 3,256 yards (9.2 YPA) with 25 touchdowns and four interceptions while also being a mobile threat for Ohio this season, but the Bobcats will be much different on offense if he can't suit up. C.J. Harris is the backup quarterback, and he has only attempted 13 passes in his two years in Athens.
Bowling Green is 6-5, but this is not a very good team. The Falcons are 5-2 in MAC play, but they have a -31 point differential in conference action due to blowout losses to Buffalo and Kent State. They are ranked 116th nationally in SP+, and currently the only worse bowl eligible team is UConn.
Matt McDonald is completing 61.8% of his passes for 2,422 yards (7.0 YPA) with 21 touchdowns and five interceptions, and he was huge in last week's upset win over Toledo. He will likely need another big game for the Falcons to get the win and make an improbable trip to Detroit. This defense is below average across the board, so Ohio's ground game is likely to have success even if Rourke can't go.
I'm going to go with Bowling Green to cover the number, but this is largely based on the assumption that Rourke will be out. Harris is so unproven that it's hard to put a lot of faith in him. If Rourke can start and looks like himself though, Ohio has the potential to role in this game.