Ball State Cardinals vs. Western Michigan Broncos: NCAA Football Free Betting Pick

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A couple of schools that prefer to feature their running games, Coach Mike Neu and the Ball State Cardinals (+7) are ready to pay a visit to their conference nemesis Western Michigan Broncos (-7) at Waldo Stadium. ESPN2 is scheduled to broadcast the action and this Tuesday matchup starts at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Betting Preview: Western Michigan Broncos vs. Ball State Cardinals

In this early-week Mid-American game, Western Michigan is getting picked as the favorite and the team’s currently giving up 7 points. If they want to play the moneyline, bettors would currently need to wager $300 in order to win $100 back on the Broncos (-300). The Cardinals are getting +220 moneyline odds. Some decent in-game betting possibilities may present themselves during this showdown.

The game’s opening line was originally set at -8 and the sharp action is siding with the Cardinals.

The Cardinals are 5-3 against the spread (ATS) and have lost 0.7 units so far. They’ve been a decent under bet and have posted an O/U record of 3-5.

The Broncos have lost 3.6 units this season. The team is 4-4-1 ATS and owns an O/U record of 2-7.

The Cardinals have gone 4-4 straight up (SU), including 3-1 SU against conference opponents. The Broncos are 5-4 SU overall and 3-2 SU in conference play.

The Cardinals are reeling from a 34-21 loss to Ohio on October 26Their defense allowed the Bobcats to eat up the clock by rushing for 316 yards on 56 attempts, including four rush TDs. Nathan Rourke posted a good day for the Bobcats in that one with 127 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 attempts. On the offensive side, Drew Plitt completed only 11-of-20 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown. Walter Fletcher (156 rushing yards on 14 attempts, one TD) and the signal-caller Plitt (23 yards on 11 carries, one TD) spearheaded the running attack. Justin Hall (four receptions, 26 yards) and Yo’Heinz Tyler (three catches, 44 yards) handled the receiving duties in the defeat.

Western Michigan is coming off of a lopsided 49-10 win over Bowling Green back in Week 9. The team’s defense allowed the Falcons to rush for 130 yards on 27 attempts, along with one rushing TD. Bryson Denley was a bright spot in the defeat for Bowling Green, recording 48 rushing yards and a score on eight attempts. For Western Michigan, Jon Wassink completed 15-of-23 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown. Sean Tyler (85 yards on 17 rush attempts, one TD) and LeVante Bellamy (178 yards on 17 carries, four TDs) handled the running game as Skyy Moore (five receptions, 76 yards, one TD) and Giovanni Ricci (five catches, 56 yards) led the pass-catching attack in the win.

In terms of offensive play-calling, each of these squads sports a similar run-pass ratio on the season. Ball State’s run the ball on 56.1 percent of its offensive possessions while Western Michigan has an overall rush percentage of 54.1. The Cardinals have run for 193.8 yards per game (including 261.8 per game versus Mid-American opponents) and have 15 touchdowns on the ground this year. The Broncos are averaging 205.8 rushing yards per game (208.8 in conference) and have 26 total rush TDs.

It seems like the Broncos may be the more disruptive team in the trenches, as their offensive line has allowed just 14 sacks while their D-line has logged 28 sacks. The Cardinals O-line has given up 20 sacks and their defense has got to opposing QBs just nine times.

The Cards offense has averaged 247.8 yards in the air overall (151 per game against conference opposition) and has 17 passing scores so far. The Broncos have put up 256 pass yards per outing (210 against MAC foes) and also have 17 total pass TDs.

Ball State has let opponents rush for an average of 157.6 yards and throw for 240.5 yards per game. The Western Michigan defense has given up 252.3 yards per game to opposing passers and 178.2 yards per game on the ground. Both teams allow similar adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) to the opposition, as the Cards have given up an ANY/A of 5.03 to opposing QBs, while the Broncos are allowing an ANY/A of 5.46.

Offensively, Plitt is up to 1,771 passing yards this season. He’s connected on 65 percent of his 242 attempts with 14 passing scores and five interceptions. Plitt’s got a 6.55 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, including 7.88 over the last two outings.

The Cardinals will likely try to maintain the clock by feeding their running backs early and often. Malik Dunner (32 yards, one TD) has been a factor in the passing game lately, but the RB tandem of Walter Fletcher (319 rush yards, two rush TDs, one receiving TD) and Caleb Huntley (604 rush yards, five rush TDs) have brought significant production to the offensive game scripts for Ball State.

In the host locker room, Jon Wassink has completed 154-of-256 passes for 2,081 yards, 15 TDs and six INTs. Wassink’s ANY/A stands at 7.48 for the season and 7.70 over his last two games.

The Broncos will also try to dictate the game’s pace by turning to their backfield. Along with Giovanni Ricci (463 receiving yards, six receiving TDs), LeVante Bellamy (942 rush yards, 14 rush TDs) and Davon Tucker (215 rush yards, two rush TDs) have seen quite a few action recently.

These two squads met last year with the final result being a 42-41 win for Ball State.

Ball State Cardinals at Western Michigan Broncos Betting Pick

SU Winner: Western Michigan, ATS Winner: Western Michigan

Team Betting Notes

  • The Western Michigan defense has registered more than three times as many sacks as Ball State this season (28 to nine).
  • Western Michigan has lost four fumbles this season while the Ball State offense has lost seven.
  • The Cardinals offense has produced five pass plays of 40+ yards, while the Broncos have accounted for nine such plays.
  • The Ball State defense has allowed five pass plays of 40 or more yards, while Western Michigan has given up seven such plays.
  • The Ball State offense has created 15 rushing plays of 20 yards or more, while Western Michigan has created 19 such runs.
  • The Cardinals defense has allowed 11 rushing plays of 20+ yards, while the Broncos have given up 16 such runs.
  • The Over/Under for Western Michigan’s last matchup was 65.5. The under cashed in that 49-10 victory over Bowling Green.
  • In its last three games, Western Michigan is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in each of those three.
  • Over its last three matches, Ball State is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
  • The O/U for Ball State’s last game was 60.5. The under cashed in the team’s 34-21 loss to Ohio.
  • As a team, Ball State has averaged 6.2 yards per rush attempt over its last three contests and 7.2 over its last two.
  • Western Michigan has averaged 5.6 yards per carry over its last three matchups and 6.1 over its past two.