Games of the Day: Kent State at Buffalo, Bowling Green at Toledo

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Kent State Golden Flashes at Buffalo Bulls (-7, 45)

The Kent State Golden Flashes needed 11 hours to get to Buffalo for Wednesday’s game against the host Bulls – and they may find it just as difficult to plow through their opponents’ improved defense. Buffalo comes into this MAC East Division encounter on the heels of a 55-24 victory over Akron, a game in which the normally inconsistent Bulls defense held the Zips to 229 total yards. The Golden Flashes are playing out the string, having lost nine of 10.

A Kent State bus ride that normally takes 3 1/2 hours was extended by three times that length after a massive snowstorm dumped several feet of snow on the Buffalo area. It’s a fitting circumstance facing the Golden Flashes, who are winless in conference play and are coming off consecutive 10-point defeats at the hands of Toledo and Bowling Green. The Bulls will be looking to end their home schedule on a high, coming in with a 4-2 record at UB Stadium.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPNU

WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-20s with snow expected and wind blowing to the north at 15 mph.

WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Kent State is a terrible team as they are just 1-9 SU on the season, including 0-5 on the road. The Golden Flashes offense is especially bad as they’ve scored 20 points or less in nine of their 10 games this season. Overall, Kent State is only averaging 15.3 points per game on 4.7 yards per play. Buffalo is 4-6 on the season with all four wins coming on their home field. The Bulls have a strong offense that averages 31.4 points per game on 5.8 yards per play. Buffalo’s weakness is their awful defense that is giving up 32.6 points per game on 5.9 yards per play, however Kent State’s awful offense might not be able to exploit this weakness.” – Covers Expert Steve Merril.

WHAT BOOKS SAY: “With the over 70 inches of snow falling in Buffalo the past 24 hours and wind gusts up to 29 mph during game time, the 42.5 point total is getting 75 percent of the action on the Under for the Kent State-Buffalo game. The Bulls are also getting 83 percent of the action as 7.5-point home faves.” – Michael Stewart, CarbonSports.ag.

CHEERLEADER WAR:

ABOUT KENT STATE (1-9 SU, 4-6 ATS, 3-6-1 O/U): Golden Flashes quarterback Colin Reardon had his most eventful game of the season last time out, erupting for 284 yards and three touchdowns but also throwing four interceptions. He didn’t get much help from a rush attack that managed just 22 yards on 14 carries – a far cry from the 171 rushing yards it compiled in a 30-20 loss to the Rockets on Nov. 4. Kent State hasn’t even been able to get up for winnable games, going 1-5 ATS in its last six against teams with losing records.
 
ABOUT BUFFALO (4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS, 6-4 O/U): Last week’s blowout win over the Zips was a significant one for quarterback Joe Licata, who became the school’s all-time leader in touchdown passes. Licata threw his 52nd career scoring pass in the second quarter of the victory to break a tie he had held with current CFL quarterback Drew Willy. The Bulls have been a strong play ATS following blowout victories, going 5-2 in their last seven when coming off a win of 20 or more points and 4-1 in their last five when scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.

TRENDS

* Kent State is 6-2-1 ATS in its last nine November games. 
* Buffalo is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games versus teams with losing records.
* Under is 5-0-1 in the Golden Flashes’ last six conference games.
* Underdog is 5-1-1 ATS in the last seven meetings.

Bowling Green Falcons at Toledo Rockets (-6.5, 55)

The Battle of I-75 has even more meaning than usual for the Toledo Rockets, who host the Bowling Green Falcons on Wednesday in the thick of a playoff mess in the MAC West Division. Last week’s 27-24 loss to Northern Illinois dropped the Rockets into a first-place tie with the Huskies and Western Michigan, leaving Toledo needing a win over Bowling Green to remain in the hunt for a spot in the MAC title game. The Falcons come in having already won the East.
 
Bowling Green may have already booked its spot in the conference championship, but that doesn’t mean the Falcons are ready to roll over for their rivals. The Falcons have lost four straight games in the storied series, and will be looking for revenge following last year’s heartbreaking 28-25 home defeat. It’s the final home game of the season for Toledo, which will wind down its quest for a division championship Friday, Nov. 28 with a game at Eastern Michigan.
 
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2

WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-30s with snow in the forecast and wind blowing to the northeast at 17 mph.

WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Bowling Green and Toledo both have winning records on the season. The Falcons are 7-3 while Toledo is 6-4 on the year. However, injuries have hampered both teams and most sportsbooks have delayed posting a line on this matchup due to the uncertainty of who is playing. Both teams have terrible defenses. Bowling Green is allowing 32.2 points per game on 6.0 yards per play (versus opponents averaging just 27.2 ppg on 5.7 yppl). Toledo is giving up 31.6 points per game on 6.1 yards per play (versus opponents averaging only 27.4 ppg on 5.5 yppl).” – Covers Expert Steve Merril.

WHAT BOOKS SAY: “The weather is a little better for the Bowling Green Toledo game up in Toledo. With 12-mph winds during game time, the Under 56-point total is seeing 78 percent of the action and Toledo is getting 79 percent of the action as 6.5-point home faves.” – Michael Stewart, CarbonSports.ag.

CHEERLEADER WAR:

ABOUT BOWLING GREEN (7-3 SU, 4-6 ATS, 4-6 O/U): Wins in four of the last five games have allowed the Falcons to emerge as the best of an East division that hasn’t been all that competitive. And the division-clinching victory was by no means a gimme, as Bowling Green had to fend off lowly Kent State 30-20 after watching the Golden Flashes close to within three points in the fourth quarter. Running back Andre Givens was the hero with 157 rushing yards and a pair of scores, giving him back-to-back 100-yard performances and TDs in four straight games.

ABOUT TOLEDO (6-4 SU, 3-7 ATS, 6-4 O/U): Toledo enters the most important game of its season with a wide receiver likely taking the quarterback snaps for the second game in a row. Dwight Macon was pressed into duty against Northern Illinois following injuries to Philip Ely (knee), Logan Woodside (ankle) and Michael Julian (concussion) – and he asserted himself well, passing for 140 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 111 yards and two scores. The Rockets have struggled in bounceback games, going 0-4 ATS in their last four contests following a loss.

TRENDS

* Bowling Green is 7-1 ATS in its last eight road games against teams with winning home records.
* Toledo is 2-6 ATS in its last eight conference games.
* Under is 12-2 in the Falcons’ last 14 games following an ATS loss.
* Under is 7-0 in the last seven meetings.

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