Opening up Saturday’s slate of conference championship games, the MAC Championship kicks off at noon with Toledo and Ohio battling it out for the hardware. With both teams suffering through injuries and quarterback uncertainty, this game is as intriguing as ever as both offenses try to find success on the field.
Toledo Vs. Ohio Odds
Oddsmakers come into this one suspect of Ohio’s injury troubles, pegging Toledo as a -4.5 favorite on the open. Bettors thought otherwise as they were quick to pounce and have shot this number to as low as -1.5 in some shops. This comes on the heels of Toledo’s quarterback uncertainty with no one building a strong case to be the starter.
Bettors and oddsmakers were not aligned on the total either as oddsmakers opened this at 60.5 with bettors hammering the under. Going as low as 55 in some shops, points are expected to be scored at a premium behind the offensive uncertainty that both units bring with massive changes late into the season.
Toledo Vs. Ohio Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Toledo -1.5
This is definitely one of the more interesting matchups of the weekend, both fielding question marks as to how each will find success for different reasons. Toledo is in the midst of a quarterback overhaul with both Tucker Gleason and DeQuan Finn both splitting duties. Gleason has made his case in their last game, throwing for more yards, touchdowns, and less interceptions than Finn.
As for Ohio, tragedy struck as star quarterback Kurtis Rourke went down with a season ending injury. Rourke has next level potential for the NFL, leading Ohio’s high-powered attack with 3,256 yards, 25 touchdowns, and four interceptions. His production has been sorely missed as the offense has been prone to stalled out drives without him.
As the total has dipped too far for my liking, I will shift my focus towards the spread as this has hit a buy low spot. With projections having this around -2, I will take -1.5 and continue to add small positions should this slip even more.
With the loss of Rourke, Toledo’s advantages while on defense have now been amplified. With Harris bringing a more conservative approach, the Rockets can shift a majority of their focus in shutting down the run. With one of the top Def Success Rates in football, we can expect Toledo’s defense to carry the load and put their offense in the best position possible.
Speaking of their offense, Toledo comes in with advantages in Off Success Rate, Explosiveness, and Finishing Drives. When either quarterback isn’t making mistakes in the pocket with a weak Off Havoc rank, they are a fine-tuned machine that can burn you in a flash.
Toledo Vs. Ohio Key Matchups
How will Ohio handle the explosive Toledo offense? Can CJ Harris exploit the Toledo red zone defense?
Toledo’s Explosiveness vs Ohio second level
Even with a change at quarterback, Toledo’s identity remains the same as the offense relies on explosiveness. Ranked well above average, they have an opportunity to outpace Ohio on the field as Ohio is one of the worst defending units in slowing down opposing units’ pace.
Especially on the ground as Ohio ranks 110th in Def Rush Explosiveness. This sets up nicely for the Toledo ground game to get going as they have lacked throughout the season. While they have numerous running backs who can attack the defense, none have pulled away as a true workhorse as no one has eclipsed 600 yards on the ground or four touchdowns.
CJ Harris vs Toledo secondary
No Rourke no problem as CJ Harris led the Bobcats to victory against the lowly Bowling Green in their season finale. While he is a massive downgrade to Rourke with his inconsistencies, Harris has been able to at least move the ball down the field.
Even with Toledo fielding a great defense, they are not without flaw as they are very poor at Def Finishing Drives. Should Harris be able to build momentum and cut down on his inaccuracies, they will have scoring opportunities anytime they get past the 40.
With both units fielding massive question marks, I will take Toledo since they have more answers than questions. They also field a defense that is capable of shutting down Ohio’s success with a top-15 Def Rush Success and generate pressure to the backfield to rattle CJ Harris and force them into early outs.