Ohio – over 7.5 (-130) – 1*
Nathan Rourke is clearly the best QB in the MAC, but he’s not joined by a lot of his best friends from last year. RB AJ Ouellette leaves after back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons. Rourke’s two top targets are gone and so are three of his starting O-linemen.
But the defense is pretty much always good and I’ll never bet against Frank Solich.
Miami (OH) – over 5.5 (even) – 2*
We are right in that 6-6 pocket the Redhawks have lived in the past three years. Analytics contend that Miami has gotten better the last three years, but the records have remained stagnant because they’ve sucked in close games. They’ll play a lot more of those this year, so take them at your own risk.
Buffalo – under 6 (+125) – 2*
Buffalo has become a much stronger program under Lance Leipold, but the losses are pretty severe this year. They lose QB Tyree Jackson and 75% of the receiving production from last year. Their two-headed monster at RB is back, though, and will have to carry the load behind an experienced O-line.
The defense only has three starters back and none of them are Khalil Hodge, who had 144 tackles, which was 67 more than anybody else.
Kent State – over 4 (+155) – 1*
The Flashes have basically everyone who mattered last year back on offense. The defense may stay steady this year (still bad).
The non-conference schedule is brutal with road trips to Auburn, Wisconsin, and Arizona State and a home game with a Top 10 FCS team in Kennesaw State.
Akron – under 3.5 (-155) – 1*
The offense scored less than ten points on four occasions last year and now their defense only has three starters back.
Bowling Green – under 3 (+110) – 2*
They were 3-9 last year and now lose their QB and top WR. They play a pretty tough non-con schedule, have the two best teams from the MAC West, and they have a first-year head coach who’s basically only had one truly good offense as a coordinator.
Toledo – over 8 (+135) – 2*
The Toledo offense couldn’t make up its mind last year. They scored more than 50 points on six occasions. They also scored less than 30 on five occasions and just twice in-between.
They were about as balanced as you could hope for, but the backfield may have to carry the heavy load this year. Both starting QBs from last year are back, but the three starting receivers who combined for over 2,000 yards and 27 TDS, are gone.
The defense was less than steady last year and now they only have five starters back. They’ll probably need to win some shootouts again this year.
The schedule is extremely favorable for the Rockets this year. They get their top three West contenders at home and they avoid Ohio and Miami out of the East.
Western Michigan – over 7.5 (-130) – 2*
The Broncos are kind of the opposite of Toledo. They have nearly everyone that matters back, yet the MAC schedule breaks horribly for them.
They do lose their top receiver and their starting center on offense, but QB Jon Wassink and RB LeVante Bellamy give them the best backfield in the league.
The defense has ten starters back, which is always nice, but the defense was pretty lackluster last year.
The Broncos have road games with Michigan State, Syracuse, Toledo, Ohio, EMU, and NIU. That’s tough.
Northern Illinois – under 7 (-185) – 1*
It’s hard to bet against such a stable program, but there are a lot of questions this year. The offense was rather sucky last year and now they lose their two best receivers and two All-Conference linemen.
The defense has been stellar the last couple years, but now two guys – Sutton Smith and Josh Corcoran – are gone, who themselves combined for 25 of the team’s 50 sacks.
Thomas Hammock is the new HC. Hammock has only been a RB coach in his career and the last five have been in the NFL, away from CFB.
The Huskies have to play Utah, Nebraska, Vanderbilt, Ohio, Toledo, and Miami on the road this year. They have seven true road games in total and have to play three teams coming off of a bye.
Eastern Michigan – under 6.5 (-125) – 1*
With the slow play, good defense, and all of the close games that leads to, it just seems like the Eagles are the epitome of 6-6 every year.
Ball State – over 4 (-120) – 1*
The Cardinals would’ve really had some high hopes this year, if not for QB Riley Neal and RB James Gilbert transferring to Power 5 schools. Even still, Ball U still has 17 starters coming back and a lot of depth to go with it.
Central Michigan – under 4 (-130) – 1*
Somebody’s gotta lose the games and a team with a new HC, a dreadful offense, and a lack of returning production on defense seems like a pretty good candidate.
BEST BET TO WIN MAC
I just don’t see where the competition comes from in the East this year. The Bobcats probably should’ve been in the title game the past couple years, but now Buffalo has a lot to replace, Miami is firmly Miami and the other three will be happy to just compete for a bowl.