Buffalo Bulls vs. Akron Zips Picks and Game Preview - 10/23/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Venue: InfoCision Stadium, Akron, OH
Where to watch: ESPN+

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Buffalo -11
BetMGM: Buffalo -11
Caesars: Buffalo -11

Season record
Buffalo: 3-4 (1-2 MAC)
Akron: 2-5 (1-2 MAC)

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Buffalo - Akron preview and analysis


Last week
Buffalo: won 27-26 vs. Ohio on Oct. 16
Akron: lost 34-21 at Miami-Ohio on Oct. 16

The Buffalo Bulls will visit the Akron Zips in a meeting between two MAC teams that could cause some waves for the winner on Saturday.

Both teams are 1-2 in the East Division and the winner could find themselves back in the thick of things in the division with the Miami-Ohio Redhawks and the Kent State Golden Flashes.

Buffalo got on the board in the conference record ledger with a one-point win over the Ohio Bobcats last week. The Bulls had a 16-play, 86-yard drive in the final 6:19 to cap off a 16-point fourth-quarter comeback for the win.

The Bulls were favored by 7.5 points but fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter. Even former UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers ran for a 99-yard touchdown in that opening quarter, making the Ohio offense look completely unstoppable.

In the end, Buffalo quarterback Kyle Vantrease threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead the comeback. Alex McNulty hit two field goals, including the game-winning 26-yarder at the horn.

The Bulls have been one of those average teams where the offense and defense cancel each other out. For a team that puts up 30.4 PPG, they’ve given up nearly 28 a game. The defense has even given up almost 12 yards a game more than what the offense has produced.

But Buffalo is an 11-point favorite because this matchup does not help Akron in any potential way. The Zips have lost three of four, including a 13-point loss on the road to those first-place Red Hawks. Quarterback Zach Gibson threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns in what was a spectacular day for him, but the defense could not stop the Miami-Ohio running game.

The Zips defense, which gives up 215.6 rushing yards per game, was gashed for 245 yards and two scores on 39 carries. Four players had at least seven carries, led by eight from Keyon Mozee for 73 yards and a touchdown.

Akron’s offense has been pedestrian to this point with DJ Irons as the quarterback. Gibson showed some life in that unit by throwing the ball 39 times. Miami had three sacks on the day, but it’s the best that offense has looked all season.

Unfortunately for those Akron supporters, that won’t be enough this weekend.

Prediction


I need to see more from Gibson to believe that Akron can hang with Buffalo. There’s an emotional high after that kind of come-from-behind victory last week for the Bulls and they see the door is open to make a move in the division. Buffalo wins by 17

Betting trends


Buffalo is 12-8 ATS as a favorite in the past three seasons and is 16-4 straight up in that same scenario.

Buffalo is 22-9 ATS since 1992 following three straight games of forcing at least one turnover.

Akron is 0-10 ATS as a home underdog the past three seasons and is 1-20 straight up as an overall dog in that same time frame.

Statistical leaders


Buffalo:
Passing: Kyle Vantrease -- 1,423 yards, 5 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Dylan McDuffie -- 492 yards, 6 TD
Receiving: Quian Williams -- 579 yards, 1 TD
Defense: James Patterson -- 72 tackles, 1 INT

Akron:
Passing: DJ Irons -- 824 yards, 8 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Blake Hester -- 255 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Konata Mumpfield -- 459 yards, 6 TD
Defense: Charles Amankwaa -- 3 INT

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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