On Wednesday (11/8/23), midweek MACtion continues with a matchup between Eastern Michigan and Toledo. In this article, find the latest betting odds for this game as well as a full matchup preview. In addition, find our best bet which is Eastern Michigan +19.
Eastern Michigan Eagles Vs. Toledo Rockets Prediction
As has consistently been the case in recent seasons, Toledo is the class of the Mid-American Conference. The Rocekts have a 5-0 record in conference play and an 8-1 overall record this season, with their only loss being a narrow one to Illinois in Week 1. The duo of DeQuan Finn and Peny Boone lead an explosive ground-oriented offense that ranks 12th in EPA/play overall.
However, there’s reason to believe the Rockets are overvalued entering this game. Toledo has gone 1-4 ATS as a favorite of 13+ points in conference play, and there have been some underwhelming results including a two-point win over a 4-6 Northern Illinois team and a seven-point win over a 3-7 Ball State team.
Eastern Michigan heads into this game as 19-point underdogs on the heels of a much needed bye week. Chris Creighton’s team has struggled this season overall with a 4-5 record, but they do seem to be trending up with a 4-1 ATS record in their last five games.
Austin Smith, the Eagles’ starting quarterback, has struggled all season with 19 turnover-worthy plays to just eight big-time throws. His 48.3 PFF passing grade ranks 155th out of 162 qualified FBS quarterbacks. Ike Undegwu III started over Smith in their last game before leaving with an eye issue, and he could get another start here. That can only help an offense ranked 124th in EPA/play.
The Eagles do bring in a strong defense, particularly against the pass. They’re 7th in passing success rate allowed and will limit Finn through the air. Eastern’s run defense has been more shaky, but they do rank 30th in rushing explosiveness allowed, so they have a decent chance of limiting big plays on the ground.
Eastern Michigan won’t be competing for the MAC championship this season, but I believe they’re undervalued here, and I see this as a great opportunity to buy low with a quarterback change potentially on the way. Creighton is a great coach well worth backing off his bye week.
Eastern Michigan Vs. Toledo Prediction: Eastern Michigan +19
Eastern Michigan Vs. Toledo Best Odds
Toledo currently sits between an 18 and 19-point favorite depending on the sportsbook you are utilizing, and that has come up from an opening line of 17.5. The total currently sits at 46.5 points, leading to an implied score of around 33-14.
Eastern Michigan Vs. Toledo Key Matchups
In this MACtion showdown, there are some fascinating matchups to take note of. Let’s break down the key matchups that will determine the winner of this Wednesday night game.
Samson Evans Vs. Toledo’s Run Defense
I’m excited to see what Eastern Michigan puts together for quarterback Ike Undegwu III here if he does indeed get the start over Austin Smith. However, there’s no question that Samson Evans is the engine of this offense. It’s been a tough year for him with a limited downfield passing game allowing opponents to stack the box. However, he ran for 88 yards and three touchdowns against Toledo last season.
If this Toledo defense has a weakness, it would be against the run where they rank middle of the pack in EPA and success rate allowed. Linebacker Dallas Gant has been the star of that unit with a 90 PFF tackling grade (3rd in the FBS) and an impressive missed tackle rate of just 4.9%.
Samson Evans is synonymous w/ TOUCHDOWN
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) July 19, 2023
Peny Boone Vs. Eastern Michigan’s Run Defense
Toledo runs the ball 61.8% of the time, which ranks 10th in the FBS, and former Maryland transfer Peny Boone has elevated his game this season. Boone is averaing an elite 7.2 YPC, which ranks ninth among qualified FBS runners, and he’s tied for fifth with 31 runs of 10+ yards. He’s a big play waiting to happen.
Eastern Michigan’s secondary has been excellent, but their run defense has lagged behind, especially after losing star defensive end Jose Ramirez to the NFL draft. The Eagles rank 113th in rushing success rate allowed, and Creighton’s staff will need to enter this game with a strong game plan for how to keep Boone in check.
Peny Boone is him pic.twitter.com/3Y9k5xTQFM
— CFBTalkDaily (@CFBTalkDaily) November 7, 2023