On Tuesday (11/21/23), Eastern Michigan faces Buffalo in a midweek MAC game. In this article, find a full breakdown of the matchup and the latest betting odds for the game. In addition, find our best bet, which is Eastern Michigan +6.5.
Eastern Michigan Eagles Vs. Buffalo Bulls Prediction
This season hasn’t gone according to plan for either Eastern Michigan or Buffalo, but the Eagles still have plenty to play for on Tuesday night, as a win gives them a bowl berth for the fifth straight year (not including the COVID-shortened 2020 season). Chris Creighton is one of the most respected coaches in the conference, and I believe the motivational edge is enough of a reason to back Eastern Michigan here.
The Eagles’ biggest issue this season has been a drop-off at the quarterback position. Austin Smith has struggled mightily for most of the season, but he’s coming off his highest-graded game of the year by far per PFF with 214 passing yards and a touchdown against Akron. His 72.4% adjusted completion rate was a season high in conference play.
Smith’s matchup gets much tougher this week against Buffalo, however. The Bulls are a top-20 defense against the pass by EPA and boast a strong secondary led by fifth-year senior safety Marcus Fuqua. Hoever, the loss of star linebacker Shaun Dolac has hurt the run defense, and they rank 122nd in PFF’s tackling grades.
Buffalo’s offense leaves a lot to be desired as they rank just 117th in overall EPA/play. Poor quarterback play from Cole Snyder has been a primary culprit, and unlike Eastern Michigan’s Smith, Snyder is coming off one of his worst games of the season with a brutal 42.9% completion rate against Miami OH.
Eastern Michigan’s defense has graded out very well thanks to a surprisingly strong secondary that ranks 32nd in passing success rate allowed. Fifth-year starting cornerback Kempton Shine has shined on the perimeter (excuse the pun) while freshman Daiquan White has also been excellent in coverage.
Ultimately, we have two very similar teams with uninspiring offenses and well-coached defenses that have limited passing production. However, Eastern Michigan has a strong motivational edge with one more win needed for bowl eligibility and the coaching edge with Creighton over Buffalo’s Maurice Linguist. I’ll take the points with the road dog here.
Eastern Michigan Vs. Buffalo Prediction: Eastern Michigan +6.5
Eastern Michigan Vs. Buffalo Best Odds
The spread for this game opened with Buffalo as high as 8-point home favorites and has since been bet down to the current 6.5-point spread. 7 is of course an incredibly key number, so keep that in mind when placing a wager on this game. The total for this MAC affair sits at a brutally low 35.5 points, leading to an implied score of around 21-14.
Eastern Michigan Vs. Buffalo Key Matchups
When these MAC teams face off, defenses are expected to rule the day. However, there are some intriguing matchups to take note of in this one. With the forecast showing wind and rain in Buffalo, let’s take a look at the running backs that could dictate this matchup.
Samson Evans Vs. Buffalo’s Run Defense
Eastern Michigan will rely on running back Samson Evans to shoulder the offensive burden in this matchup, and he’s coming off an impressive three-touchdown outing against Akron. It’s been an up and down season for Evans as the lack of a consistent passing game has encouraged defenses to load the box.
There should be room to run against Buffalo’s 4-2-5 defense that’s focused on taking away big passing plays in this game, especially with the absence of star linebacker Shaun Dolac. Last week, Buffalo allowed Miami’s Rashad Amos to run for 82 yards and two scores and two weeks ago Ohio’s Sieh Bangura finished with 78 yards and two touchdowns.
Ron Cook Jr. Vs. Eastern Michigan’s Run Defense
With Cole Snyder’s ineffectiveness as a passer hampering the offense all season, it’s been tough for Ron Cook Jr. to find traction on the ground, but he’ll have to against an Eastern Michigan defense that has been adept against the pass. The Eagles haven’t been as effective against the run after losing top defensive lineman Jose Ramirez to the NFL.
The Eagles do rank 20th in PFF’s tackling grades, and two weeks ago, they held Toledo’s dynamic Peny Boone to just 11 carries for 52 yards, although he did find the end zone three times. Overall, Eastern Michigan ranks 90th in rushing EPA/play allowed, so perhaps Cook can get some traction here.