College Football Free Vegas Pick: Buffalo vs Miami Ohio

Midweek MAC mania gets underway on Tuesday with a game between the Buffalo Bulls and the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks. Game time is scheduled for 8:00 EST on Tuesday, October 30, at UB Stadium in Buffalo, New York. Fans can watch the game on ESPN2.

The Bulls have opened the week as 7-point favorites at home. Click here to check out betting lines for all of this week’s college football games.

Buffalo vs Miami Ohio Game Preview & Betting Odds

Buffalo remains on track to play in the MAC Championship Game. After scoring 24 unanswered points in the 2nd half to beat Toledo a couple weeks ago, the Bulls are 7-1 on the season and 4-0 in conference play. To date, Buffalo’s only loss of the season has come against Army. 

However, there are two teams in the MAC East division that have just one conference loss, so Buffalo doesn’t have much margin for error heading down the stretch. The Bulls may need to win out in order to play for the conference title.

Miami (Ohio) happens to be one of the teams in the MAC East that has just one conference loss on the season. If the Redhawks can beat Buffalo, they’ll put themselves in the driver’s seat for a spot in the MAC title game.

Of course, Miami is also under pressure to win games just to become bowl eligible this season. The Redhawks went 0-4 during their non-conference schedule, including a double-overtime loss to Army in their last time out. At 3-5 overall, Miami needs to win at least three of their four remaining games to have any hope of reaching a bowl. Three of those games are against teams with a winning record, so the Redhawks have a tough challenge ahead of them.

For what it’s worth, Miami has knocked off Buffalo in each of the past two seasons, including a 24-14 victory last year. However, the Bulls have clearly taken serious steps forward since last year’s meeting, so it won’t be easy for Miami to keep up their winning streak.

Free College Football Against the Spread Pick: Buffalo -7

I’m awfully tempted to take Miami and the points in this game. The Redhawks are better than their record suggests, especially since their last two losses have both come by a single point. However, I’ve seen enough from Buffalo to believe that the Bulls are the class of the MAC. I’m comfortable swallowing the points and leaning toward Buffalo to cover.

While it’s common for MAC games to turn into shootouts, Buffalo’s defense has a good chance to prevent that from happening in this game and allow the Bulls to cover. In their last two games, the Bulls have allowed a total of 23 points. If you take out their game against Army’s triple-option, the Bulls have given up less than 20 points per game against FBS teams. Last time out, they gave up just 17 points and less than 300 yards against a Toledo offense that’s one of the best in the MAC. In fact, they’ve allowed less than 300 yards four times this season.

Compared to Toledo, the Miami offense doesn’t quite measure up. The Redhawks have an experienced quarterback in senior Gus Ragland who’s having a strong season. But the Miami rushing attack is average at best. Against quality opponents, the Redhawks have struggled to generate a consistent ground game. The Buffalo defense is more than capable of continuing that trend, forcing Ragland to carry the Miami offense. While his overall numbers look good, Ragland has been too up and down, struggling against quality defenses.

On the other side of the ball, quarterback Tyree Jackson is leading a Buffalo offense that’s averaging 31 points per game in MAC play. Jackson is completing just 57% of his passes on the season, so accuracy and consistency can sometimes be an issue. But he has big-time arm strength and is a constant threat to create big plays down the field. Meanwhile, the Bulls have a solid backfield tandem in Kevin Marks and Jaret Patterson so the Bulls aren’t overly reliant on Jackson. They’re also able to run the ball to set up a deep passing game.

To be fair, the Miami defense is having a good season. However, the three MAC teams they’ve beaten this season are 2-10 in conference play. They’ve held up well against modest offensive teams but have struggled against better offensive teams. When they played Western Michigan, one of the better teams in the MAC, the Redhawks couldn’t hold onto a 13-point halftime lead, ultimately giving up 40 points and losing. It’s not hard to see them having similar problems against Buffalo, who has the balance and playmakers on offense to do damage against the Miami defense,

If Miami were the home team in this game, I could see going the other direction. However, Buffalo is good enough to beat a solid Miami team at home by more than a touchdown. The Bulls have quality on both sides of the ball, and while the Redhawks can challenge them, Buffalo should eventually be able to pull away. I’ll swallow the points and take my chances with the Bulls.

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