Today's Free Picks for
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Western Michigan @ Ball State +195
Scheumann Stadium, Muncie, IN
2:00 PM EST: One of the mantras we preach is to “stick with it”. That is to come right back on a team who forced you to rip up your ticket last time out. In our sights is Ball State, who we figured would be able to keep up with Tennessee as a 35½-point pooch. A 59-10 final would suggest the Cardinals are not quite ready to compete with the SEC, but not all was lost in that game. Junior pivot John Paddock completed 27 of 43 passes for 269 yards and one touchdown. The Cardinals will take a big step down in competition here with their brothers in MACtion Western Michigan coming to Muncie.
The Broncos had problems of their own in Week 1 after losing to Michigan State 35-13. Sure the Broncos had a little better showing against elite competition than Ball State, but once you’re down by 23, does it really matter if you lose by 23 or 43? At that point, who is counting?
Well, if you read the headlines, you’ll read that WMU caused the Spartans’ offense to “sputter”. The Broncos were a 21½-point underdog to Michigan State, so on the surface, it looks like they were “in it”. Perhaps they were, as Western Michigan was down just 21-13 after the third quarter. Those holding tickets on the Spartans were gripping them tightly headed to the fourth quarter. That feeling is resonating in this market. Sure Michigan State would post a 14-0 fourth quarter for the win and cover, but it wasn’t easy.
These two MAC squads played Power Five competition and got whack, but this market thinks the Broncos had a “good showing” against the then #15 Spartans. Let’s use that misguided perception to our advantage.
The Broncos move from a three-touchdown pooch to be favored by less than a converted touchdown. That might make for an appealing wager on the surface, but it’s near a 30-point swing. The Broncos must travel again this week, which is never easy. Meanwhile, Ball State is a pooch on its home field. Preseason MAC ranking had the Cardinals #9 and the Broncos #7. Had this game been played last week, would the Broncos be favored in this range? We think not. Cardinals outright.
Ball State +195 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.90)