Western Michigan -6.5 2.2% play
Ball State's offense leans on the run, but they are averaging 2.4 ypc less on the road. They have run the ball well in their last two games at home against Toledo and Ohio, but those two teams rank 123rd and 124th in stopping the run. Western Michigan is not great but they rank 92nd against a very challenging opponent schedule an average 62nd rushing ypc. Their run defense is better than they're getting credit for and it shows up in their other numbers. They allow just 51% red zone TD %, and that # is 40% at home. Ball STate has a decent passing attack, but they can't protect the QB ranking 96th in the nation in sack % allowed. They have faced 3 TOP 50 pass rushing units, and they have lost those 3 games by 10, 13, and 11 points. Western Michigan ranks 29th at getting after the QB and they have that ranking against a very good opponent sack % allowed so I think Western Michigan if they can stop the run, they can get to the QB, which is key, because the biggest weakness for Western Michigan's defense is the secondary, but if Ball State who is bad at protecting the QB doesn't have time to throw it won't matter.
Western MIchigan's offense is dictated by their running backs. They rank 8th in ypc, and they are even more dynamic at home. They rank 15th in explosive rushing plays, and while Ball State's defense has been good their strength is against the pass. Their run defense has not faced anyone. They faced a good Ohio rushing attack that ranks top 50, and gave up 316 yards rushing at home in a 13 point loss. Ball State also not playing particularly well in the red zone allowing 2/3 of opponent opportunities to result in a TD. I think Western Michigan can score some points early, and continue to lean on the rushing attack to keep a 7+ point lead here at home in a big game. Western Michigan's home field advantage has been great 5-0 SU and ATS. Ball State has been great on the road, but I think with this line we are getting value on the favorite. Ball State has really relied heavily on TO margin, and Western Michigan does not turn the ball over ranking in the TOP 25 in TO margin. Western Michigan keeps doing what they do at home.
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