It’s a battle of Mid-American Conference teams from the East Division up in Western New York. The Akron Zips are on the road as they take the short trip east to face the Buffalo Bulls Saturday afternoon. Akron dropped their second straight game as they were defeated 41-17 at home by Miami (OH) last Saturday. Buffalo bounced back from their first loss of the season as they dumped Central Michigan 34-24 on the road last Saturday. The Zips hold an 11-6 advantage in the all-time series, including a 21-20 home win in the last matchup on October 28, 2017.
Akron Zips Try to Snap Slide at Two
Akron started the season 2-0 but has dropped two straight after getting hammered by Miami (OH) in their conference opener last week. The Zips now have to go on the road and face an explosive Buffalo team in order to get back on track. Akron rallied from a 14-0 deficit to take a 17-14 lead early in the third quarter before giving up the game’s final 27 points. The Zips were beaten 422-259 in total offense, gave up 19 first downs to their 16 and were edged 31:44 to 28:16 in time of possession. Akron committed five turnovers, including a fumble return for a score, while forcing just two takeaways. The Zips did score on a fumble return of their own in the loss.
Man, he shouldn’t have had that popcorn at halftime! Gilbert to the 🏠 and the lead! We are out in front, 17-14! #AkronMade
— Akron Zips Football (@ZipsFB) October 6, 2018
The Zips enter this contest 82nd in the FBS in passing offense with an average of 217.5 yards per game through the air and 120th in rushing offense with 109.2 yards per contest. That’s obviously not good enough to get it done against the rest of the MAC. Akron is 84th in the FBS in scoring offense with 27.5 points per game and 74th in scoring defense as they allow 27 points per contest. Kato Nelson has completed 64 of 117 passes for 865 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions while ranking second on the team with 165 rushing yards. Van Edwards Jr. is the lead back in the system for the Zips with 49 carries for 189 yards plus two scores. Deltron Sands is next in line but he has only nine carries for 39 yards. Andre Williams leads the team with 16 receptions for 242 yards plus three touchdowns. Kwadarrius Smith (12 grabs, 193 yards, TD) and Nate Stewart (12 catches, 139 yards, TD) are reliable secondary targets. Nick Gasser has hit all 10 extra point attempts and seven of nine field goals this season with a long of 49. Jerry Fitschen hit his lone extra point attempt and has not attempted a field goal this season.
Buffalo Bulls Look to Extend Mark to 3-0 in Conference Play
Buffalo bounced back from their loss to Army as they knocked off Central Michigan, improving their record to 5-1 on the year. The Bulls seek their sixth win of the season here and would improve to 3-0 in conference play with the win here. Buffalo jumped to a 17-3 halftime lead and withstood a pair of rallies by Central Michigan to cut the deficit to seven points. The Bulls outgained the Chippewas 422-340, picked up 21 first downs to Central Michigan’s 19 and controlled the clock by a 34:58 to 25:02 margin. In the most important stat of the game, Buffalo forced four turnovers while committing only one in the game.
Jaret Patterson with a BIG stiff arm.
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) October 6, 2018
The Bulls are 78th in the FBS in passing offense with 223.7 yards per game through the air and tied for 69th in rushing by averaging 175 yards per contest. Buffalo is 41st in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 34.7 points per contest and stand 48th in scoring defense by holding opponents to 24.3 points per game. Tyree Jackson has completed 98 of 170 passes for 1,331 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. Kyle VanTrease is 2-of-2 passing for 11 yards. Kevin Marks leads the ground game with 82 carries for 466 yards and seven touchdowns. Jaret Patterson (44 carries, 264 yards, four TD) and Emmanuel Reed (52 carries, 180 yards) are the next backs in line. K.J. Osborn leads the team with 27 receptions for 490 yards and six scores. Anthony Johnson (18 catches, 308 yards, three TD), Tyler Mabry (12 grabs, 101 yards, two TD) and Charlie Jones (nine receptions, 219 yards, three TD) are all solid targets. Adam Mitcheson has hit 25 of 28 extra point attempts and three of four field goals this season with a long of 46.
- Bulls are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game
- Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 conference games
- Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win
- Zips are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Buffalo’s passing game has worked wonders even with Johnson being neutralized at times and injured at others this season. The Bulls have a big play offense with the passing game and Akron has struggled in the pass defense department as they’ve allowed opposing teams to complete 64.6 percent of their passes. The Zips have averaged just 3.3 yards per carry on the ground and that will prove to be difficult sledding against a Buffalo defense allowing only 3.9 yards per carry this season. The Bulls have held opposing QBs to a mere 50.9 percent completion rate this season. Turnovers will be key in this one: Akron is a +1 in the giveaway/takeaway but Buffalo is a +8 this season with 13 takeaways on the books. That’s enough to give Buffalo the edge at home in this one.
Prediction: Buffalo Bulls -11
Full-Game Total Pick
Buffalo has been taking care of business as they own wins over Temple and Rutgers this season already. Their lone loss was to an Army team that makes life tough for opposing teams with the triple option. Akron started their season with an upset win over Northwestern but back to back losses, including their dusting at the hands of Miami (OH), has taken the shine off things. The Bulls have been very efficient offensively and have pushed over the total in five of their six games. Can Buffalo keep their high octane offensive machine humming in this contest?
The over is 4-1 in the Zips’ last 5 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game. Buffalo has seen the over go 5-0 in their last five overall, 6-0-1 in their last seven after a straight up win, 4-0 in their last four on fieldturf, 4-0 in their last four after an ATS win, 4-0-1 in their last five conference games and 7-2-1 in their last 10 at home. Look for another solid offensive showing from the Bulls as they help push this one over the number as well.
Prediction: Over 53.5
Half-Time Side Pick
Buffalo hasn’t been slowed much this season other than by an Army team that showed their chops by taking Oklahoma to overtime on the road. Akron doesn’t run the triple option like the Black Knights and they haven’t been very good offensively, especially in their last two games. After scoring 80 points in wins over Morgan State and Northwestern, they’ve totaled 30 in their last two games. Buffalo could well get Johnson back in the mix in this one, which would merely make life that much more difficult for the Zips defense. The Bulls showed grit with their win on the road over Central Michigan last week. They should carry that over in this one as they hold the edge at the half.
Prediction: Buffalo Bulls -6.5
Half-Time Total Bet
Buffalo has done a good job moving the ball offensively this season and if Johnson returns, it makes their passing game that much more dangerous. Having Osborn develop into a solid #2 target is going to make things tougher for opposing defenses to try and double Johnson because Jackson has developed a chemistry with other targets in his absence. Akron has to show that they can get back on track offensively but it will be an uphill battle trying to move the ball through the air against the Bulls, who are 25th in the country in pass defense. Look for this one to ease past the total at the half as Buffalo’s offense continues to hum along.
Prediction: Over 27