CFB Picks: Trust Northern Illinois, Miami (Ohio) in MACtion contests

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

#MACtion is BACK!!

Our midweek November love affair with the Mid-American Conference begins on Tuesday with three games and extends into Wednesday with two more games.

Ten of the 12 MAC teams are in action over the next few days and each of them carries some significant betting trends.

While we may want high-scoring contests across the five-game slate, some of those trends show us that unders might be better plays than overs for our first venture into MACtion.

Overall Record (57-43; 8-5 Saturday)

Ball State at Akron (+20.5) (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

Ball State should win on the road in Akron, but I’m not confident in the Cardinals winning by close to three touchdowns.

Akron covered as a double-digit underdog in two of its last three games and it lost by more than two touchdowns once in its three MAC defeats.

Ball State is a middle-of-the-run MAC team this season and it is coming off a loss to Miami (Ohio) at home. The Cardinals have played in one-or-two-score games in five of their last six trips to the gridiron.

Miami (Ohio) (-7.5) at Ohio (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Ohio has not recovered from Frank Solich’s offseason departure.

The Bobcats have not played well under their new coaching staff and sit at 1-7 overall with a 1-3 conference record. Ohio’s only MAC win is over Akron.

Miami (Ohio) is 3-1 in the MAC. The RedHawks won by seven points or more in each of their three conference victories.

Ohio also has a much worse defense than the RedHawks. The Bobcats allow 31.3 points per game compared to Miami’s 22.3 PPG. Ohio allows 78 more total yards per game as well.

Eastern Michigan at Toledo (Under 53.5) (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

It’s never fun betting a MACtion under, but that is the spot I find myself in with Toledo.

The Rockets are 6-0 to the under in their last six games. They allow 18.3 points per game, and even in their losses, they have held teams to low totals.

Toledo conceded 25.5 points per game in its four losses. Notre Dame was the only opponent to put up 30 points on the Rockets.

Eastern Michigan scored 55 points in its last game against Bowling Green, but the Falcons pale in comparison to Toledo on the defensive side of the ball.

The Eagles played in a pair of low-scoring contests against Northern Illinois and Ball State and we should see the same against Toledo on Tuesday night.

Central Michigan at Western Michigan (Under 67.5) (Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Central Michigan is 3-1 to the under in its last four games.

Western Michigan is 3-2 to the under in its last five games.

As much as it pains me to pick another MACtion under, it feels like the right play with how both defenses have played.

The Chippewas and Broncos both average 29 points per game on offense and concede fewer than 30 points per contest.

I’ll run with those averages for Wednesday night’s game in Kalamazoo.

Northern Illinois (+3.5) at Kent State (Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Northern Illinois is the best team in the MAC.

The Huskies are 4-0 in conference play and they have not lost since they were blown out by Michigan in mid-September.

Kent State is on top of the MAC East, but it has wins over Ohio and Bowling Green, two struggling teams, and a Buffalo side that has been inconsistent all season.

NIU battled to wins over Toledo, EMU and CMU to create separation on top of the MAC West. The Huskies are a bit more battle tested than the Golden Flashes and I expect them to keep the game close.

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