Akron Zips (1-3) vs Bowling Green Falcons (1-3)

Saturday, October 01, 2022 at 3:30 pm

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I had Bowling Green as one of the most improved teams in the nation entering the 2022 campaign, but the team continues to underperform under fourth-year head coach Scot Loeffler. The Falcons are 8-25 overall under Loeffler’s leadership, including 1-3 this season despite leading the nation in returning production (84%; 18 returning starters). Bowling Green’s Week 2 loss to FCS Eastern Kentucky (59-57, seven OT) epitomizes how far the program has deteriorated during Loeffler’s tenure. The Falcons are 0-2 as favorites since the beginning of the 2020 season and their defense currently ranks 128th in both scoring defense and total defense despite having ten returning starters. Starting quarterback Matt McDonald sat out last week’s 45-14 loss to Mississippi State but is expected to return against Akron. The betting market reacted favorably to the news, but McDonald is averaging a pathetic 5.8 yards per pass attempt (114th out of 128 qualified quarterbacks) and 10.3 yards per completion (112th). Akron has won just four games since the start of the 2019 season, but two of those victories have come against Bowling Green. Akron defeated the Falcons 31-3 as a 2.5-point home favorite in 2020 and upset Bowling Green 35-20 as a 14-point road underdog last season. The Zips are 33rd in returning production (71%; 16 returning starters) and first-year head coach Joe Moorhead used the transfer portal to further improve the roster (No. 71 in 247Sports Transfer Portal Rankings). Moorhead was the head coach at both Fordham and Mississippi before serving as Oregon’s offensive coordinator in 2020 and 2021. The veteran coach added high-ceiling receivers in Shocky Jacques-Louis (Pittsburgh) and Alex Adams (LSU), both of whom have made an immediate impact for the Zips. Minnesota transfer Cam Wiley leads the team in rushing and operates behind an offensive line that boasts 96 career starters. Moorhead brought in Anthony Wigan (Penn State) and Max Banes (Houston) to provide further depth upfront. The value rests squarely with Akron as my math model only favors Bowling Green by 5.3 points and the Falcons are 5-11 ATS in their last sixteen conference affairs. Akron also has a substantial advantage in special teams with a Pro Football Focus grade of 75.9 (60th). Bowling Green’s 51.9 PFF special teams grade is 130th in the country. Grab the points with the live home underdog and invest with confidence.

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Jeff’s Pick Akron Zips: +9 -110

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