Free MACtion Picks: Our Best College Football Bets for November 17

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Matt Myers #10 of the Buffalo Bulls. Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images/AFP

Central Michigan has won four of their last five games with the lone loss by one point. Yet the Chippewas are still underdogs going on the road against Ball State. What gives? Let’s see the NCAAF odds.

Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Buffalo Bulls

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 – 7:00 PM EST at UB Stadium

It’s been an odd season for the Buffalo Bulls. At 4-6 on the year, the Bulls have to win both of their next two games to become bowl eligible. Buffalo will need to take it one game at a time moving forward and this game against Northern Illinois certainly won’t be easy.

The Huskies have won four of their last five games with one loss to Kent State, on the road, by five. They’re 7-3 on the season but have still allowed more points than they’ve produced this year. Either way, Northern Illinois has been finding ways to win tight games and that’s what matters. Quarterback Rocky Lombardi has thrown 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the year for Northern Illinois.

The former Michigan State transfer found a new home and has produced plenty of playmaking talent around him. The offense averaged over 30 points per game and 432.5 yards per game which is excellent. However, defensively, Northern Illinois has allowed 441 yards per game and has been awful against the run and in coverage.

Rocky Lombardi #12 of the Michigan State Spartans. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP

The Huskies have allowed 208.9 yards on the ground per game but it could be worse. The tackling has been solid enough to keep bigger plays from happening. Buffalo, on the other hand, has also scored plenty of points. With 32 points per game, Buffalo shouldn’t be 4-6 but here we are.

The defense has had its ups and downs all year. The Bulls have a great pass rush but a terrible coverage that kind of ruins the pass defense. Against the run, Buffalo deserves more credit than the box score shows. They’ve allowed 198 yards per game on the ground but are certainly better than that.

Overall, Buffalo has a much better defense but has struggled a little bit on offense, despite averaging 420.5 yards per game. This will be a tight one, but with Buffalo at home, for my NCAAF picks, I’d lean the Bulls getting the points.

NCAAF Pick: Buffalo +1.5 (-110) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Ball State Cardinals

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 – 7:00 PM EST at Scheumann Stadium

Central Michigan has looked fantastic in the last five games this season. At 6-4, they’re going bowling and have won four of their last five with the lone loss coming against Northern Illinois, but one point. Yet, despite Central Michigan had a terrific finish to the season, the Chippewas are underdogs in this game against Ball State.

The Cardinals have lost two of their last three, but have also lost multiple games by one possession. That’s the beauty of the MAC. The playing field is very tight and exciting. Still, Central Michigan looks like the better team. The defenses are pretty much even with Ball State having the slight edge due to their pass rush.

However, Ball State hasn’t been nearly as good in coverage and that has hurt them a bit in the passing game. Central Michigan doesn’t really have a true weakness on defense as they’ve done everything above average all year long, despite allowing 28.7 points per game.

Head coach Jim McElwain of the Central Michigan Chippewas. Sean Gardner/Getty Images/AFP

Offensively, the Chippewas have the better offense, earning 32.8 points per game to Ball State’s 25.6 points per game. The run game for Central Michigan is superb and the offensive line has been consistently good. For my best bets, therefore, I’ll take Central Michigan, on the road, as a slight dog, with the points.

NCAAF Pick: Central Michigan +2 (-110) with BetOnline

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.