This Wednesday the Toledo Rockets will play host to the Ball State Cardinals in Week 12. Kickoff is set for 7:00 EST at the Glass Bowl and will be televised on ESPN2. Oddsmakers have the Rockets listed as a 20.5-point home favorite.
Ball State vs Toledo Vegas Betting Odds
The Cardinals (4-6, 1-5 MAC) come into this one off a 41-48 loss at home to Eastern Michigan. Ball State jumped out to a 21-0 lead in their home finale, only to trail 28-40 early in the 4th. They managed to retake the lead 41-40 with less than 2 minutes to play, before giving it right back.
The Rockets (8-2, 5-1 MAC) entire off a thrilling 31-24 win at home over Northern Illinois. Toledo trailed the entire way up to the 4th quarter, down as many as 11 points. They went 71 yards in 3:08 to score the game-winning touchdown with less than 1:30 to play.
Free Pick & Odds Predictions: Toledo -20.5
My early lean here would be to lay the big number on the Rockets at home. This might not seem like a great spot for Toledo. They are off the big game against NIU and an even bigger one on deck against Western Michigan.
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However, that game against the Broncos doesn’t mean anything if they don’t win this one. A win over Ball State and 1st place in the West will be up for grabs next week. A loss and next week’s game won’t mean a thing. On top of that, this is senior night for the Rockets, as this is their final home game of the season.
I also think we could see a more focused Toledo team after last week’s near upset loss to the Huskies. If the Rockets show up to play here, winning by 21+ points shouldn’t be a problem. I just don’t think Ball State has a lot left in the tank after last week’s crushing loss in their home finale.
On top of that, the Cardinals could be without a key piece to their offense. Starting running back James Gilbert is questionable with a leg injury. He only had 12 carries for 54 yards last week against Eastern Michigan. Snapping a streak of 5 straight games with at least 115 yards. I believe the spread here is telling you he’s not expected to play.
That puts a lot of pressure on Ball State quarterback Riley Neal and I just don’t think he’s capable of going score for score with the Rockets. So much of what the Cardinals do is built on their running game. While Neal is completing 60% of his attempts, he’s only averaging 6.7 yards/attempt. He’s also got just 10 touchdowns to 11 interceptions.
Toledo is certainly going to get there’s offensively. The Rockets come into this game ranked 5th in the country in total offense at 539.7 ypg. They are 39th in rushing (200.2 ypg) and 8th in passing (339.5 ypg). They’ll be going up against a Ball St defense that ranks 126th in the country against the pass (313.1 ypg).
It’s also worth noting this is a not a spot where the Cardinals have done well in recent years. Ball State is 0-8 ATS in weeks 10 through 13 over the last 3 seasons. They are also just 1-8 ATS during this same stretch after allowing 525 or more total yards. Toledo on the other hand is 15-5 ATS in their last 20. The Rockets are also 8-1 ATS in their last 9 against a team with a losing record.