Toledo Rockets vs Massachusetts Minutemen Prediction, Game Preview, and Best Bet - 10/02/2021

by James Q

Toledo Rockets vs Massachusetts  Minutemen Prediction, Odds and Preview - 10/02/2021

Game Time: Noon ET, Saturday, October 2nd, 2021 
Venue: Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium, Amherst Mass
Where to Watch: ESPN

Opening NCAAF Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Spread: Toledo -26:  O/U: 58
Circa:  Spread:  Toledo -26:  O/U: 58
Caesars:  Spread: Toledo -26:  O/U: 58

Season Record

Toledo: 2-2 (MAC West)
UMASS: 0-4 ( FBS Independent) 

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Toledo vs UMASS Preview and Analysis. 

Toledo is 2-2, yet in first place in the MAC West.  September is the time of year when every team in the MAC West plays a few bigger schools out of conference to replenish the budgets. Toledo opened with an easy win over Norfolk State 49-10.  Then game 2 took them to South Bend and face to face with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Toledo played great but fell short 32-29.  Game 3 Brought Colorado State to Toledo and Colorado State got the easy win 22-6.  Game 4 helped them right the Rocket as they picked up a win in Muncie, Indiana over MAC West rival Ball State Cardinals 22-12.  

The Home opener for UMASS was particularly brutal as the Pittsburgh Panthers hit them with a variety of big plays.  The final score was 51-7.  Umass played better in Game 2 making it more of a contest, but still the Boston College Eagles beat them 45-28.  Game 3 against Estern Michigan seemed like a repeat of game 2.  The starters hung in there enough to score 28 points, but the turnovers and special teams mistakes were too much.  UMASS lost 42-28.  Game 4 was another blowout loss, this time to Coastal Carolina 53-3.  Sep was tough.

Offensive Analysis 
Toledo’s offense is scoring 26.5 points per game on 382.3 yards per game. They are averaging 4.4 yards per rush in the running game and 8 yards per pass attempt in the passing game, yet for some reason they have 141 rushes to just 114 pass attempts.  Down and distance will dictate whether you rush or pass in a traditional game plan, but Toledo will need to open the passing game more if they want to improve on the results.

The Minutemen are scoring a paltry 16.5 points per game on 305.3 yards per game.  They punt a lot.  QB Brady Olsen has 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions on  the season.  He has been sacked 4 times, but is seemingly under pressure all the time behind an offensive line made up of freshmen.  He’s 50-90 for a 55.6 completion percentage.  RB Ellis Merriweather gets most of the work from the backfield, WR Rico Arnold gets a majority of the targets… but the Minutemen have tried nearly everybody on the roster looking for a breakout player. 9 different guys have had rushes, 15 different guys have pulled in a reception.

Defensive Analysis

The Rockets’ defense ranks 56th in the FBS defensive rankings.  They have given up 338.8 yards per game and only 6 touchdowns. They are tied for 69th in stopping 3rd down conversions and they are in the top ten in blocking kicks this season with 2 over the first four games.

Umass is 129th out of 130 in defensive ranking.  They haven’t been able to stop anyone they’ve played yet.  They only rank above Arkansas State and Arkansas State doesn’t seem to play defense.  Umass has given up 26 touchdowns on an average of 533.5 yards given up per game.  They give up 7.49 yards per play.  10 of the 11 defensive starters are Freshman or Sophomore.  That is a recipe for not stopping anyone.  The kids will get a great education at Umass and hopefully they field a tough experienced defense two seasons from now.


Rockets vs Minutemen Prediction 

Our prediction for Saturday, October 2nd is…. Toledo 49 - Umass 10

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NCAAF Betting Trends

Toledo is 8-13 ATS the last 3 seasons.
UMASS is 6-14 ATS as an underdog the last 3 seasons.
Toledo is 4-3 SU in non-conference games over the last 3 seasons.
UMASS is 5-11 ATS in non-conference games the last 3 seasons.

Players to Watch

Toledo:  QB Carter Bradley.  This is going to be his career day.  He will be facing the worst defense he has seen in an opponent all year… and he is going to have the whole field available to him.

Umass:  QB Brady Olsen.  He will need to lead out of pride.  The whole year will be about whether he communicates to his line and skill players that they need to give him full effort. 

Starting Lineups

Toledo: QB Carter Bradley, RB Bryant Koback, TE Drew Rosi, WR Danzel McKinley-Lewis, WR Bryce Mitchell, WR Devin Maddox, LT Mitchell Berg, LG Vitaliy Gurman, C Bryce Harris, RG Tyler Long, RT Lavel Dumont

Umass:  QB Brady Olsen, RB Ellis Merriweather, TE Taylor Edwards, WR Rico Arnold, WR Tray Pettway, WR Jermaine Johnson Jr, LT Max Longman, LG Helber Fagundas, C Joe Horn, RG Ethan Mottinger, RT Johnny Hassard


Statistical Leaders 

Passing:  Carter Bradley 802 yards
Rushing: Bryant Koback 282 yards
Receiving: Devin Maddox  329 yards
Tackles:  Dyontae Johnson 23
Interceptions:  Samuel Womack  1

Passing:  Brady Olsen 588 yards
Rushing:  Ellis Merriweather  231 yards
Receiving:  Rico Arnold   181
Tackles:  Gerrel Johnson  29


Toledo:  Jason Candle
Umass:  Walt Bell

Weather Forecast

Mostly Sunny.   58% humidity.  Wind 7 mph.  Bit of advice, skip the Clam Chowder in Massachusetts… it’s literally how they spot tourists.


James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

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

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