Saturday evening on the college gridiron and we will see the Mid-American Conference square off with Conference USA as the Buffalo Bulls invade Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium to rumble with the Old Dominion Monarchs. Both teams enter this contest at 1-2 on the year.
Buffalo Nearly Pulls A StunnerThe Buffalo Bulls went 6-1 last year, but they had some rebuilding to do with just 10 starters back from that squad. It has translated into a 1-2 start to the season, but they nearly pulled off a stunning win last week. The Bulls face Coastal Carolina at home last week and they lost by just three points, despite being dogs of 14 points. Buffalo continues to be led by its ground game and after rushing for 250 and 287 ypg t6he last two years, they have put up 236.3 ypg on the ground t his year, which is 17th in the nation. The Bulls have a nice three-headed monster at running back in Kevin Marks Jr. (221 yards), Ron Cook Jr. (183 yards), and Dylan McDuffie (165 yards) and they will face a run defense that has allowed 150 ypg so far.
Kyle Vantrease is back at QB after throwing for 1186 yards with seven TDs and two INTs in six games last year. He threw for just 146 yards against Coastal Carolina and has now thrown for 601 yards with two TDs and an INT in the year. Buffalo will need to get their ground game going as it has not been easy to pass on this ODU defense. The Buffalo defense has been middle of the pack this year and it could have a good showing against a weak Old Dominion offense that has been one of the worst in the nation so far. The Bulls allowed 444 yards of total offense against CC last week and they are 68th in ypg allowed at 352.3 and 57th in points allowed at 21.0 ppg.
ODU Gets Blasted By LibertyThe Old Dominion Monarchs had a miserable season last year that saw them go just 1-11 and they lost 33 of 60 lettermen from that team. Their lone win last year was against an FCS team and that has been their lone win this year so far. TY hat win was against Hampton, but then ODU faced Liberty on the road and were blasted by a score of 45-17. In their other game against an FBS team (Wake Forest) this year, they lost by a score of 42-10, indicating that it could be a long rest of the season for the Monarchs. ODU allowed 424 yards against Liberty, but still, the defense has improved by 50 ypg over last year's unit, despite bringing back just three starters on that side of the ball.
The pass defense has been solid in ranking 21st in the nation, but to stop the Bulls, they must stop the run and ODU is 76th in the nation in that department. The ODU offense was one of the worst in the nation last year and it is bad again as they come in ranked 101st in total yards, 114th in passing, and 97th in scoring at 24.7 ppg. D.J. Mack Jr. has not had a good season so far in throwing for just 335 yards with two TDs and three INTs thus far. He will need to be far better here if the Monarchs are to have a chance at the upset. The running game has not been that bad in ranking 41st in the nation with Elijah Davis leading the way with 235 yards so far. The Monarch could lean on him a lot in this game.
- 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game
- 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games as a favorite
- 14-4 ATS in their last 18 games overall
Trends are Courtesy Of Covers.com Old Dominion is:
- 7-15-1 ATS in their last 23 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game
- 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 home games
- 1-7 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
It is hard to trust the ODU Monarchs as they have been crushed in their two games against FBS opponents so far, plus they have also not been a great home team of late as you can see from the trends above. The Monarchs were just 1-11 last year and it does not appear that they will be much better this year. ODU can stop the pass, but teams have been able to run on them and that is where Buffalo excels as they are 17th in the nation in that department so far. The Monarch offense is better than it was a year ago, but it is still bad, especially a pass defense that ranks at 114th in the nation. I just do not see the Monarchs putting up enough points to keep this one close.
Full-Game Total Pick
We have already lost some value with this pick as it has come down four points from the open, but still, it is a very good pick. The Bulls are not a passing team and their running game will have a good showing against an ODU defense that has not been great at stopping the run so far. Buffalo will chew up plenty of the clock with their ground game. The Monarchs will also eat up plenty of the clock with their ground game as they are 42nd in rushing, compared to 114th in passing. I do not see a lot of ball in the air in this one and I do not see more than 45 points being scored. Lastly, the Under is 13-3 in Buffalo's last 16 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game and 7-2 in Old Dominion's last 9 vs. a team with a losing record.