The Ohio Bobcats (4-3) host the Ball State Cardinals (3-5) on Thursday night in a Mid-American Conference showdown. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM EST at Peden Stadium and the game will be available on the CBS Sports Network.
Taking a look at the Week 9 college football odds, Ohio opened as a 11-point home favorite earlier this week. That line has moved by a full point after early betting, as the Bobcats are currently listed at -10. The total for the game is sitting at 60.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Ohio vs Ball State
Ball State got dominated at home last weekend by Eastern Michigan, falling by a score of 42-20 to drop to 3-5 on the season. Things haven’t gone very well for the Cardinals since their impressive performance against Notre Dame several weeks ago where they lost by just eight points despite being 34 point underdogs, QB Riley Neal struggled to move the ball down the field against the Eagles in Week 8, throwing for just 157 and a touchdown. Neal has already thrown four interceptions and is completing just 58.4% of his passes. He has contributed on the ground though, rushing for 337 and five touchdowns over eight starts. RB Willie Jones looked good in his first start in several weeks, racking up 80 yards and a touchdown. As a whole, the Ball State offense is currently averaging 25.0 points per game (97th overall).
On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals have been below average defensively – they are currently giving up 26.1 points per game (67th) on 405.9 total yards (82nd). They have really struggled to stop the run all season long, as opponents are currently averaging 192.3 yards per game on the ground (1ooth overall).
Ohio has now won three out of their last four games to get back above .500 on the season. The Bobcats are coming off of an impressive 49-14 home victory over Bowling Green last weekend. Things were really clicking for Ohio on offense against the Falcons, as they racked up 597 total yards. QB Nathan Rourke was outstanding through the air and on the ground, as he threw for 193 yards and four touchdowns while also adding 101 yards and another touchdown on the ground. The real strength of the Bobcats offense has been their ability to run the ball effectively – they are currently averaging a very solid 208.6 rushing yards per game (33rd overall). Overall, Ohio is currently averaging 36.3 points per game (28th overall).
However, the Bobcats have been absolutely dreadful on the other side of the ball, as they are currently giving up an average of 31.0 points per game (95th overall). Ohio has been especially bad at defending against the pass, as opponents are currently averaging a ridiculous 311.0 yards per game through the air (127th overall).
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Ohio -10
This should be a pretty entertaining matchup between two teams who have really struggled defensively so far this season. However, Ohio has been extremely dangerous offensively, as they have scored at least 30 points in five out of their seven games so far this season. They were also extremely close to upsetting the formerly #19 overall Cincinnati Bearcats, who were unbeaten until a tough overtime loss at Temple last weekend. Ball State, on the other hand, has been below average offensively – and while I think that they will be able to put some boards on the scoreboard against a horrific Bobcats defense, I’m not sure if they can keep pace with Rourke and Co.
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Ohio is a very solid 6-1 ATS over their past seven home games. They are also 6-0 ATS in their last six Thursday games and 5-0 ATS over their past five home games against teams with a losing record. Ball State is just 2-5 ATS over their past seven Thursday games and 1-7 ATS in their last games in the month of October.
The home team is 4-1 ATS over the past five meetings between these two teams, so the Bobcats should be able to get a ton of energy from a rowdy crowd at Peden Stadium. Ohio is also averaging 16.1 yards per passing attempt, which is 5th in the entire nation. They have the ability to move the ball effectively through the air and on the ground, while Ball State is certainly much more one-dimensional. Ultimately, I think their should be a lot of scoring on Thursday night (give me the over on 60.5) with the Bobcats eventually finding a way to win by double-digits. I’ll lay the ten points and take Ohio in this spot.