In a battle of two schools that prefer to run the football, Head Coach Terry Bowden and the Akron Zips (+12) are taking the field against the Buffalo Bulls (-12) at UB Stadium. This crucial conference showdown gets underway at 12:00 p.m. ET and fans can catch it live by tuning in to CBS Sports Network.
Betting Preview: Akron Zips vs. Buffalo Bulls
In this Saturday Mid-American game, Buffalo has been tabbed as the big favorite and the team’s currently giving up 12 points. The Zips are also receiving +340 moneyline odds while the Bulls are -475. If one side finds paydirt early on, it’ll likely produce a nice live betting opportunity.
The opening line was originally set at -9 and the sharp action has been siding with the Bulls.
The Zips are down 3.0 units so far and 2-2 against the spread (ATS). The team has posted an O/U record of 2-2.
The Bulls are up 1.6 units this season. The team is 4-2 ATS and has an O/U record of 5-0.
The Zips have gone 2-2 straight up (SU), including 0-1 SU against MAC opponents. The Bulls are 5-1 SU overall and 2-0 SU in conference play.
These two teams met a year ago with the final result being a 21-20 win for Akron.
The Zips are trying to get back on track after a 41-17 loss to Miami (OH) last week. The passing attack could’ve been sharper as Kato Nelson completed just 19-of-35 passes for 203 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Nelson (30 rushing yards on 14 attempts) also mounted the ground attack. Andre Williams (seven receptions, 66 yards) and Kwadarrius Smith (four catches, 55 yards) handled the receiving duties in the defeat.
Buffalo just earned a 34-24 win over Central Michigan. The Bulls defensive unit allowed the Chippewas to run for 168 yards on 35 rush attempts, along with one rushing TD. Tommy Lazzaro had a good outing in the loss, recording 102 rushing yards on 18 attempts for Central Michigan. For Buffalo, Tyree Jackson completed 10-of-20 passes for 127 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Jaret Patterson (121 rushing yards on 18 attempts, one TD) and Kevin Marks (167 yards on 18 carries, one TD) handled the running game as K.J. Osborn (four receptions, 80 yards) and Tyler Mabry (three catches, 33 yards, one TD) led the pass-catching attack in the win.
Akron has run the ball on 52.3 percent of its offensive possessions this year while Buffalo has a rush percentage of 57.6 percent. The Zips have run for 109.3 yards per game and have two touchdowns on the ground this year. The Bulls are logging 175.0 rushing yards per game (229.5 in conference) and have 12 total rush TDs.
It seems like the Bulls could hold an edge in the trenches, as their offensive line has given up only two sacks while the D-line has registered 14 sacks. The Zips offensive line has given up eight sacks and their defense has sacked opposing QBs on just four occasions.
The Zips offense has averaged 217.5 yards in the air overall and has seven passing TDs so far. The Bulls have produced 223.7 pass yards per contest (226 in the MAC) and have 17 total pass scores.
Defensively, Akron has allowed opponents to rush for an average of 125.5 yards and pass for 232.5 yards per game. The Buffalo D has allowed 182.5 yards per game to opposing passers and 170.2 yards per game on the ground. The Bulls are giving up an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of only 4.40 to opponents, while the Zips have allowed a 5.19 ANY/A.
Offensively, Nelson is up to 712 passing yards this year, and has completed 58 percent of his 89 attempts with six passing scores and four interceptions. Nelson’s got a 6.77 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number is 2.46 over the last two games.
Expect Nelson to distribute the football early and often in this one. Andre Williams (0 receiving yards and two touchdowns), Nate Stewart (87 yards, one TD) and Kato Nelson (0 yards) have all been heavily involved recently.
In the other locker room, Tyree Jackson has managed to complete 88-of-146 passes for 1,179 yards, 16 TDs and four INTs. Jackson’s ANY/A stands at 8.85 for the season and 5.76 over his past two games.
We’re looking for Bulls to control the pace by pounding the defense with their running backs. Along with K.J. Osborn (408 receiving yards, five receiving TDs), Kevin Marks (449 rush yards, six rush TDs) and Jaret Patterson (296 rush yards, four rush TDs) have really been focal points in the Buffalo offense.
Akron Zips at Buffalo Bulls Free Pick
SU Winner: Buffalo, ATS Winner: Buffalo
Team Betting Trends
- The Buffalo offense has lost one fumble this season while Akron has lost four.
- The Buffalo defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks 14 times this year. Akron has registered just four sacks.
- Akron, as a team, has averaged 2.49473684210526 yards per carry over its last three games and 2.5 over its last two.
- Buffalo has averaged 5.0 yards per carry over its last three contests and 5.0 over its past two.
- In its last three games, Buffalo is 2-1 ATS and the over cashed in each of those three.
- Akron was favored by 5 points in its previous game and the Over/Under going into it was 47. The over cashed and Akron failed to cover in the 41-17 loss to Miami (OH).
- Over its last three contests, Akron is 2-1 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
- Buffalo was getting 7 points in its last match and the O/U was 52. The over cashed and Buffalo covered in that 34-24 victory over Central Michigan.