Akron faces Eastern Michigan onTuesday (11/14/23) in an intriguing MAC matchup. In this article, find the latest betting odds and a full game breakdown. In addition, find our best bet which is under 39 points.
Akron vs. Eastern Michigan Prediction
Both of these teams are out of the picture when it comes to the MAC title game, but at 4-6, Eastern Michigan is still alive for a bowl game. First, the Eagles must knock off a 2-8 Akron team whose lone FBS win came over 1-9 Kent State. Eastern Michigan has struggled to find consistency on offense all year, particularly with the poor play of Austin Smith.
Austin Smith has become Eastern’s full-time starter this year after the departure of Taylor Powell, and it hasn’t gone well. Smith ranks 154th out of 162 qualified FBS passers with a putrid 48.8 PFF passing grade. His 5.9 yards per attempt rank 148th in that same group. The team had toyed with starting Ike Undegwu, but Smith took every snap last week and completed just 9 of 24 passes for 86 yards and a pick.
Akron isn’t much better off at quarterback as starter D.J. Irons is out for the year after a torn ACL. In his place, Jeff Undercuffler has struggled. He ranks outside the top 140 qualified passers with a 55.4 PFF passing grade and 6.1 yards per attempt. Undercuffler left the game briefly last week with an injury of his own, but he later returned.
I have no confidence in Undercuffler moving the ball against a solid Eastern Michigan pass defense that ranks 10th in pass play success rate allowed. The Eagles also rank 25th in PFF’s tackling metrics, indicating strong coaching on that end. Cornerbacks Daiquan White and Kempton Shine each have five pass breakups this season.
Akron’s defense ranks top 60 in PFF’s coverage and tackling grades, and they’ve mostly been sound on that end of the field. I don’t trust Smith to take advantage even of weak defenses, so I’m not anticipating a ton of Eastern Michigan points. I lean toward the Eagles pulling out the home win, but the under is the only bet I can endorse with the current numbers.
Akron vs. Eastern Michigan Prediction: Under 39 Points
Akron vs. Eastern Michigan Best Betting Odds
After this spread opened as high as -8 in favor of Eastern Michigan, action hit the road team hard, driving it down to the current spread of -4. If you’re looking to back Akron, you’re still getting this over the key number of 3, but it’s tough for me to endorse a bet on the Zips at such a deflated number. The over/under sits at 39 points, which is above the key numbers of 37 and 38.
Akron vs. Eastern Michigan Key Matchups
While Akron and Eastern Michigan aren’t dominating national headlines, they have some talented players worth spotlighting. Let’s take a look at Eastern Michigan running back Austin Smith, who I believe will be the player of the game on Tuesday night.
Samson Evans vs. Akron’s Run Defense
With Austin Smith’s clear limitations as a passer, defenses have loaded the box repeatedly this season and mostly neutralized Samson Evans. He’s been held to 12 carries for just 38 yards over the last two weeks as negative game scripts and tough matchups have limited his opportunities. That’s a shame as he dominated the past two years for EMU with 29 total touchdowns.
Perhaps this is a matchup where Evans can gain some traction as the Zips rank just 92nd in rushing EPA allowed. Last week, Akron allowed Miami’s Rashad Amos to run for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Eastern Michigan’s offensive line isn’t as good as it was last year, but expect a heavy dose of Evans in a much more favorable game script.