This Tuesday the Ball State Cardinals are set to host the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Kickoff is set for 7:00 EST at Scheumann Stadium and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network. Oddsmakers have the Cardinals listed as a 1.5-poitn home favorite. Click here for more Week 11 betting leans and game lines.
Eastern Michigan vs Ball State Vegas Odds Preview
The Eagles (5-4, 2-3 MAC) come into this one off a 15-28 loss at home to Miami (OH) as a 7-point favorite. It snapped a streak of 6 straight covers for Eastern Michigan. The pressure is on the Eagles to keep winning, as they haven’t been to a bowl game since 1987.
The Cardinals (4-5, 1-4 MAC) will also be looking to bounce back from a defeat. Ball State fell 20-52 at home to Western Michigan as a 17.5-point dog last Tuesday. The Cardinals are a mere 1-4 ATS in their last 5 after starting out the season 4-0.
This has been a pretty lopsided series. Ball State has won 5 straight and 9 of the last 10 meetings. They Cardinals won 28-17 last year as a 4.5-point road favorite. The game went under the total of 61.5. Snapping a streak of 6 straight overs.
Free Pick & Betting Predictions: Eastern Michigan +1.5
My early lean here is on the Eagles to cover as a small road dog. This Eastern Michigan team has been a covering machine this season, going 7-2 ATS. A big reason for that is they have been so bad for so long. This is a team that went just 1-11 last year and was a mere 23-97 in the previous 10 years coming into this season.
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Each an every game down the stretch means so much to this team. They are trying to become the first team to make a bowl game since 1987. Getting a chance to get hit that magical 6-win mark in a prime time game only adds fuel to the fire.
As for Ball State, this isn’t a great spot. They just hosted by far the best team in the conference in Western Michigan last week. Putting them in a huge letdown spot against a team they have dominated of late. Not to mention they have another big game on deck at Toledo, who they have some revenge against.
As far as the matchup, these are two similar teams. Both have decent offenses, but can struggle defensively. The Eagles are 49th in total offense (424 ypg) and 82nd in total defense (420 ypg). The Cardinals are 43rd in total offense (447 ypg) and 106th in total defense (454 ypg).
With that said, I think you have to give the edge to Eastern Michigan on both sides of the ball. The Eagles are averaging 5.9 yards/play, where Ball State is only averaging 5.6 yards/play. There’s an even bigger gap defensively. Eastern Michigan is giving up 5.5 yards/play, while the Cardinals are allowing 6.3 yards/play.
Another key here is that both defenses are much worse against the pass than the run. That’s important to note, as the Cardinals offense depends more on their running game. The Eagles on the other hand are a much better passing team. Keep in mind that Eastern Michigan is only allowing 3.9 yards/carry against the run. That’s against teams who average 4.2 yards/carry. Ball State on the other hand is giving up 4.6 yards/carry against teams that average 4.3.
We also find a strong system in play favoring a fade of Ball State. Home teams with a line of +3 to -3 after the first month of the season, off a home game are just 45-74 (38%) ATS over the last 5 years. We also see that the Cardinals are just 2-13 ATS in their last 15 against bad pass defenses (allowing 250+ ypg). They are also 0-6 ATS in their last 6 home games against teams who average 5.9 or more yards/play.