2022 MAC Football Preview, Best Bets: Buffalo Set For Bounce Back Season? – Fan side | Hot Mobile Press

MAC is a beautiful conference that brings you betting excitement on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in mid-November like no one else can. So let’s get ahead of the competition and play some regular season wins.

Buffalo looks to be bouncing back in the second year of the Maurice Linguist era and has one of the most explosive receivers in the MAC, Quian Williams, on hand. On the other hand, Ball State is in the early stages of a rebuild with one of the lowest-yielding production facilities in the country. With that in mind, let’s find some winners in the regular season overall wins market.

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The Bulls were eviscerated by a late spring move from head coach Lance Leipold to Kansas, leaving new head coach Linguist somewhat unprepared. However, with a plethora of transfers on both sides of the ball, I expect Buffalo will return to a bowl game it did for the last three straight seasons.

The team rebuilt its offensive line through the portal, bringing in players like Desmond Bessent (19 starts at San Diego State, missed last season at Rutgers through injury) and transfers from FCS schools. Linguist brought in Cole Snyder, who was a backup at Rutgers last season, as quarterback.

Synder will likely be the under-center starter, working with dynamite pass catcher Williams, who received 835 yards last season. The team also brought in transfers from Arizona (Boobie Curry) and Louisville (Justin Marshall).

The defense has arguably the best player in the conference in James Paterson, who led the team in tackles last season. Overall, the defensive line brought in North Carolina transfer Ibrahim Kante to a group that returned three starters and helped generate 37 sacks in 2021.

Overall, the team has had 21 transfers and ranks 30th in the nation, according to 247Sports. With a full season to build his program, Linguist can bring this team back to bowl eligibility.

I expect the team to win 2-2 in non-conference play and win against Holy Cross and UMass. After that, conference play has good seats at Bowling Green and the home of Akron.

The remaining MAC schedule includes Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan while hosting Miami (Ohio), Toledo and Kent State. 2-3 in the meat of the MAC schedule is required to get past that number if they can’t get excited in Week 3 at Coastal Carolina.

With so many transfers and a poor record over the last year (4-8) this team has advantages and I will buy them as I think the performance ratings understate one of the most talented groups in the MAC.

PICK: Buffalo OVER 5.5 wins (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook

It’s expensive, but with the variance of the MAC, I’m trying to dig into specific teams and angles. Enter: ball status.

The Cardinals lost their two key offensive players in quarterback Drew Plitt and wideout Justin Hall, who had 3,300 yards in five seasons, in addition to Curtis Blackwell, a 2nd-team All-MAC guard. How do they make it work? They hope John Paddock can succeed as Plitt’s successor at QB.

Two years ago, this team won the MAC championship behind one of the best offenses in school history, now it’s an unproven O with just six returning starters. However, more questions arise on the defensive side of the ball.

The team brings most of the contributions back to the defensive line, including Tavion Woodward, who had five sacks in six games last season. However, the rest of the defense has unproven players filling key roles. They lost three of their high school starters and their two starting linebackers.

In a transition year like this it’s hard to expect the same record as last year (6-7), which leads me to this Under.

There are likely wins on the schedule, including Murray State and UConn at home and one game away at Georgia Southern, but they’re drawing a brutal MAC schedule. The team will likely need to win two of the three scheduled home games against western Michigan, eastern Michigan and Ohio to have any chance of a puncher passing, and all of those games will be within a point count.

On the go in the conference game? They’ll likely be big underdogs to Central Michigan, Kent State, Toledo and Miami (Ohio), leaving a team with very little margin for error bottom 20 returns production in the country.

If that number is five before last week, there’s an easy hedging opportunity for the Cardinals in Miami, Ohio, last week.

PICK: Ball State UNDER 5.5 wins (-150) at DraftKings Sportsbook

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