This Thursday the Western Michigan Broncos (6-2) will host the Toledo Rockets (3-4). Kickoff is set for 7:00 EST at Waldo Stadium and will be televised on ESPN2.
Oddsmakers currently have the Broncos listed as a 5.5-point home favorite with the total set for 66 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 9 college football odds and for more links to our game previews.
Western Michigan vs Toledo Vegas Preview & Game Predictions
The Rockets come into this one off a 31-17 loss as a 3-point home favorite to Buffalo. There was nothing fluky about the Bulls upset win on the road, as Buffalo outgained Toledo 463 to 295 and had a 32-8 advantage in first downs. The loss dropped the defending MAC champs to just 1-2 in league play. The Rockets have also now lost 4 straight against the spread.
The Broncos enter off a comfortable win and cover in a 35-10 victory at Central Michigan as a 6.5-point road favorite. Western Michigan’s defense held the Chippewas to just 269 total yards and forced three turnovers in the win. It snapped a streak of 3 straight non-covers for the Broncos. Western Michigan is one of three teams without a loss in MAC play this season.
Last year the Rockets laid it on the Broncos in a 37-10 blowout win at home as a 10.5-point favorite. It was some sweet revenge for Toledo, who had lost 55-35 as a 8-point dog at Western Michigan the year before.
Free NCAAF Betting Prediction: Western Michigan -5.5
My early lean here would be to lay the points with the Broncos at home. Not only do I think Western Michigan is the better team, but I also think they have a huge advantage here playing at home with both teams on short rest, as each were in action this past Saturday.
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I know both teams have struggled against the spread up to this point, but I just feel there’s some hidden value with Western Michigan right now, especially as a small home favorite. The Broncos were dealt a tough hand, having to play 5 of their first 8 games on the road and one of their home games was against a Power 5 opponent.
It’s also worth noting that despite managing just 3-points and 208 total yards in a loss at Michigan, Western Michigan comes into this game ranked 25th in the country in scoring (36.4 ppg) and are 24th in total offense (467.1 ypg). I look for that Broncos offense to have a field day here against a struggling Rockets defense, that comes in ranked 101st in the country against the run (195.1 ypg) and 111th agains the pass (268.6 ypg).
As for the Toledo offense, it’s got some fire-power, but when they have stepped up competition, it’s not been nearly as potent. The best example of that was last week’s home loss to Buffalo, where they managed just 295 total yards and 8 first downs. Note that basically all of their offense came on two plays, as they had a 70 yard TD run and 80-yard TD pass. Not to mention, 8 first downs is atrocious in today’s game, especially at home.
Some might think that Toledo’s ground game, which ranks 42nd at 195.3 ypg will be a factor against a Western Michigan defense that ranks 79th agains the run (168.8 ypg). However, I don’t think that will be the case. Western Michigan allowed 334 rushing yards to Syracuse in their opener and 308 rushing yards to Michigan the very next week. Since those two games, they have allowed just 114.2 ypg on the ground in their last 6.
Something else to note is that while Toledo is getting outgained by 71 ypg in conference play, the Broncos are outgaining opponents by 90 ypg in conference play. I just don’t think it’s asking a lot here for Western Michigan to win by a touchdown on their home field. Not to mention the Rockets are just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games vs a team with a winning home record. Give me the Broncos -5.5.