The MAC championship is on the line this weekend when the Toledo Rockets battle the Akron Zips. Kickoff is set for noon EST on Saturday, December 2 at Ford Field in Detroit. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
Oddsmakers list Toledo as 20.5-point favorites in the title game. That number is up after the Rockets opened at -18, indicating that early betting has heavily favored Toledo. The over/under is set at 57 points. Click here for a full list of Week 14 betting odds and links to game previews.
Akron vs Toledo Vegas Game Odds & Betting Predictions
Toledo has been the class of the MAC all season. They enter the championship game 10-2 overall and 7-1 in conference play. Their lone conference loss came a few weeks back against Ohio. Other than that game, the Rockets have had no problem taking care of business against MAC teams, with six of their seven wins coming by double digits.
Akron hasn’t been quite that dominant, but they are still a worthy participant in the MAC Championship Game. The Zips are just 7-5 on the season. But they did play non-conference games against Penn State and Iowa State, both losses. In MAC play, Akron was 6-2, losing only to Miami (Ohio) and the same Toledo team they’ll face on Saturday.
The Rockets soundly won the October 21 meeting between these two teams 48-21. Toledo jumped out to a 21-0 lead by the end of the 1st quarter and cruised to victory from there. They ended up out-gaining the Zips in total yards 626 to 333.
Vegas Free NCAAF Betting Pick: Toledo -20.5
I hate swallowing this many points in a championship game, but I’m going to lean toward Toledo to cover in this game. I can’t ignore how dominant the Rockets were when these two teams met earlier this year. Akron is also facing a great deal of uncertainty at the quarterback position. That’s enough to push me into swallowing nearly three touchdowns and take Toledo to blow out Akron in the MAC Championship Game.
Thomas Woodson, who began the season as Akron’s starting quarterback, hasn’t been seen for the past three games. He reportedly served a two-game suspension for a violation of team rules. But he was eligible to play in last weeks’ regular-season finale against Kent State and didn’t.
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In Woodson’s absence, the Zips have gone with freshman Kato Nelson. Akron lost Nelson’s first start of the season to a 5-7 Miami (Ohio) team. He responded by throwing four touchdowns in a win over Ohio, one of the better teams in the MAC. However, last time out against Kent State, Nelson completed just six of his 20 passes for only 69 yards against Kent State.
Akron head coach Terry Bowden isn’t likely to say whether or not Woodson will start until game time. Of course, there’s no doubt that Woodson gives the Zips their best chance of beating Toledo. I’m not going to buy that Nelson can get the job done against one of the better defensive teams in the MAC. If Nelson starts, it could be a long day for the Zips.
Even if Woodson starts, I’m not sure he’ll be able to get the job done against the Toledo defense, especially after missing three weeks. The Akron offense isn’t that effective running the ball, making them a little one-dimensional. That’ll be a huge problem against Toledo. Only teams with a good running game have been able to stay competitive with the Rockets this year.
I also think Toledo is fully prepared for this game. After their loss to Ohio, the Rockets have responded by blowing out an inferior Bowling Green team and beating a quality Western Michigan team 37-10 last week. Not many teams in the MAC are capable of keeping up with Toledo. Akron proved that earlier this year. I’ll take my chances on the Rockets beating the Zips in blowout fashion for the second time this season.