|Toledo Odds||-6.5 [BET NOW]|
|Eastern Michigan Odds||+6.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-230 / +185 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||61 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
The Rockets must bounce back from a deflating loss after taking a 10-point lead with less than three minutes remaining against Western Michigan.
The offense continues to be efficient: Toledo has achieved at least two first downs on eight of its 12 possessions. Quarterback Eli Peters is ahead of the curve compared to his 2019 numbers, notching a 5:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a completion rate of 64%.
Toledo’s offense has not seen interruptions in scoring, but the defense requires attention after crumbling against the Broncos. The Rockets defense ranks 94th in Rushing Success Rate and 109th in pass rush, per Pro Football Focus.
While the front seven hasn’t been successful in stopping the run, Toledo has been outstanding on third down. Opponents have converted only five out of 24 third-down attempts against the Rockets. Co-defensive coordinators Vince Kehres and Craig Kuligowski have built the seventh-best unit in regards to defensive Havoc. A large portion of that disruption comes via 14 passes defended (PBUs) in just two games. Cornerback Samuel Womack leads the way with four PBU’s on 10 targets and has allowed only five total yards after catch.
Eastern Michigan Eagles
Head coach Chris Creighton continues to be a cash cow as an underdog. After covering against Ball State in Week 11, Creighton now reports a 22-10-1 record against the spread as an underdog at Eastern Michigan.
The variable that Ball State could not stop was quarterback Preston Hutchinson in the red zone. The junior ran for over 100 yards and three touchdowns and racked up an additional 250 yards passing. Any defense not prepared for a dual-threat quarterback will have issues stopping the Eagles offense.
Hutchinson has led the Eagles offense to a top-20 rank in Finishing Drives, a statistical category in which the defense has struggled. On defense, Eastern Michigan ranks outside the top 100 in categories such as Success Rate, coverage and tackling. The one category Eastern Michigan has had success in is stopping the explosive pass. Ball State was limited to just one pass over 20 yards and posted just a 30% Success Rate in passing downs against the Eagles defense.
Betting Analysis & Pick
When Creighton is given more than a touchdown in MAC play, it’s almost an automatic bet, as I showed in the Action App on Sunday night. The Action Network projection has this game at Toledo -5.5; the market has shifted below a touchdown for Eastern Michigan since the opener. With the Rockets market deflated, the memory of the Western Michigan meltdown will be fresh on the minds of the gambling masses.
The handicap on this game is simple enough: Does the Toledo defense have what it takes to limit Hutchinson on the ground and in the air? According to the advanced statistics, the answer is a resounding yes. The Rockets are one of the best teams in FBS in Line Yards, Power Success Rate and Stuff Rate. All of those stat categories are needed when facing a short-yardage rush attack.
Toledo ranks 28th in PFF coverage grade, which should give Hutchinson issues hitting his favorite target, Tanner Knue, who went for over 120 receiving yards last week.
The Rockets’ poor pass rush is not a big factor, because Hutchinson only reports a 7% difference in completion rate with or without pressure. So, rather than rushing the passer, the real key to making Eastern Michigan a one-dimensional offense is by playing elite pass coverage. Toledo matches up excellently in that department.
The Eagles were the play over a touchdown, but leading up to kick, I will be playing back Toledo at -6 or better. The combination of a substandard Eastern Michigan defense and Toledo’s probable ability to limit Hutchinson makes the Rockets the side. If relegated to live betting, look for Eastern Michigan at any number above +8 and Toledo at any number -6 or better.
Pick: Toledo -6 or better.