Buffalo Bulls vs. Ball State Cardinals Prediction & Game Preview -- 11/23/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 7 p.m. ET
Venue: Scheumann Stadium, Muncie, IN
Where to watch: ESPN+

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Ball State -6.5
BetMGM: NL
Caesars: Buffalo -6.5

Season record
Buffalo: 4-7 (2-5 MAC)
Ball State: 5-6 (3-4 MAC)

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Buffalo - Ball State preview and analysis


Last week
Buffalo: lost 33-27 (OT) vs. Northern Illinois 
Ball State: lost 37-17 vs. Central Michigan

The Ball State Cardinals will look to clinch bowl eligibility on Tuesday when they host the Buffalo Bulls to close out their regular seasons.

Ball State has dropped two straight games and has put its bowl status up in question. The Cardinals are coming off a 20-point home loss to the Central Michigan Chippewas on Wednesday that saw the CMU offense explode for 567 total yards while holding Ball State to just 329.

Quarterback Drew Plitt had a rough day throwing the ball, going 21 of 39 for 170 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Running back Carson Steele ran for 93 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries; one would say a productive day, but that touchdown was the game’s opening score with 12:25 left in the first quarter.

After that, the pedestrian Ball State offense could not muster anything else. It’s a group that depends more on running the ball averaging 141.5 yards per game, while the passing attack has only 202.7 yards per game. The defense has tried its hardest to not be bad, but you can only do so much when you’re allowing almost four points more than what’s being scored, and giving up 422.9 yards per game.

Normally this would spell well for Buffalo’s offense that is dominating at nearly 200 rushing yards per game. Unfortunately for the Bulls, their defense is just as atrocious giving up 433.3 yards per game, including 208 on the ground.

Buffalo is coming off a 6-point overtime loss to the Northern Illinois Huskies, who will be playing in the MAC Championship game. Running back Dylan McDuffie, the catalyst behind the Bulls’ offense, ran for 125 yards and a touchdown and is inching closer by the game to a 1,000-yard season.

But McDuffie’s running prowess wasn’t the best performance of the day. Northern Illinois as a whole combined for 308 rushing yards on 6.6 yards per carry to go along with four touchdowns.

Buffalo quarterback Matt Myers went 16 of 23 for 162 yards and a touchdown in place of starting QB Kyle Vantrease, but yet despite being outgained by over 100 yards still had a chance to win against the top team in the MAC. Even though neither of these teams will be in the MAC Championship game next week, they can close November with plenty of fireworks.

Prediction


I think it’s safe to take the over in a game like this because both defenses are not going to be up for the challenge. It’s a matter of which defense do you trust more to get the stops necessary to win games, and Ball State’s might be the one to go. During its three-game losing streak, Buffalo has given up 56, 45 and 33 points respectively. Ball State’s lone problem has been scoring on its own end. With it being Senior Day and a chance to clinch a bowl berth, it would be shocking for the Cardinals to come up short. Ball State by 14

Betting trends


Buffalo is 1-5 ATS against conference opponents this season.

Buffalo is 1-5 ATS following a straight-up loss after going 5-1 last season.

Ball State is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 November games.

Statistical leaders


Buffalo:
Passing: Kyle Vantrease -- 1,861 yards, 8 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Dylan McDuffie -- 982 yards, 11 TD
Receiving: Quian Williams -- 805 yards, 2 TD

Ball State:
Passing: Drew Plitt -- 2,072 yards, 16 TD, 5 INT
Rushing: Carson Steele -- 784 yards, 6 TD
Receiving: Justin Hall -- 606 yards, 5 TD

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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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