Western Michigan -1 2.2% play
Only 36% of the money is on Western Michigan right now. I don't really understand it other than the fact that Western Michigan has not won a road game, but they faced two P5 opponents, and Ohio is 0-5 ATS at home and have lost to two opponents that are worse than Western Michigan at home. Western Michigan has an extra day to prepare for this game as well and the match-up favors them.
I think we have an edge here with Western Michigan in this match-up. Both teams have a lot to play for and are similar in a lot of ways led by senior QB's. Western Michigan's Jon Wassink has put up good numbers with 19 total Td's 7 INT, 7.9 yds/att, 60% completion while Nathan Rourke has put up similar passing #'s 21 total TD's 5 interceptions 8.1 yds/att, 58.8% completion rate, and 625 yards rushing. Both QB's are capable of picking up first downs with their feet. The biggest difference I see here is that Western Michigan has a pass rush that ranks 23rd in sack %, while Ohio ranks 96th in protection. Ohio's defense ranks 103rd in sack %, while Western MIchigan's offensive line ranks 34th in protection. It's going to be a cold night, and both teams prefer to run the ball anyway, and that's just more important to this match-up but I wanted to bring up the even play of the QB situation, and note that Western Michigan's pass defense has been better overall, and that Ohio has faced 4 TOP 50 pass rushes and they are negative TO margin in 3 of those 5 games.
The run game is a big key here, and both teams are capable of running the ball, and have struggled to stop the run. Western Michigan ranks 6th, and 99th in offensive and defensive rushing ypc. Ohio ranks 41st, and 121st, and Western Michigan has allowed around a half yard less in conference play and have gained more over a half yard more in conference play. Against 80 or worse run defenses Western Michigan has averaged 286 yards and 4 TD's to Ohio who has averaged 241 yards and 3 TD's. Defensively Ohio against a Top 50 rushing offense has allowed 261.5 yards and 2.25 TD's per game compared to Western Michigan who is allowing 213.25 yds/game and 1.75 TD. Explosive rushing offense and defense also favors Western Michigan who has 22 rushes of 20+ yards compared to Ohio's 15, and they have allowed 2 fewer as well. There is a pretty large edge in the running game.
Situationally Ohio needs this game to stay alive for a bowl game, but Western Michigan is fighting and has more of a realistic chance at getting to the MAC Championship game. They got their asses beat in this match-up a year ago mainly because they could not run the ball. Only 118 yards in that game, but Ohio's run defense was far better, 57 spots better to be exact. Western Michigan's rushing offense is better this year as well 44 spots better. Ohio was also +6 TO margin in that game, as Western Michigan lost 4 fumbles. Ohio's defense has forced 6 fumbles all year. There is definitely a corelation to how they are playing and the type of teams they are playing that are similar to Western Michigan and TO margin. Western Michigan is 24th in TO Margin, Ohio ranks 114th as they are -7 on the season, but as I mentioned before when they face a team that's in the top 50 in sack % they just turn the ball over more.
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