This week is all about tradition with the nation celebrating Thanksgiving, and "The Game" headlining rivalry week in college football. While the Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. the Buffalo Bulls may not be on the level of Michigan vs. Ohio State, there’s a lot on the line with an Eagles win tonight getting them to 6-6.
Despite Chris Creighton’s program being just one win away from bowl eligibility for the sixth time in eight years, college football odds have the 3-8 Bulls as 6.5-point home favorites. In what will surely be a cage match between two feisty defenses, this could come down to which offense makes a play in crunch time.
Find out where my best bets lie in my college football picks for Eastern Michigan vs. Buffalo on Tuesday, November 21.
Eastern Michigan vs Buffalo best odds
Eastern Michigan vs Buffalo picks and predictions
It’s going to be a wet cold night in Buffalo when two of the worst offenses in college football take the field for what can only be described as the perfect MACtion game.
Neither of these teams have consistent quarterback play, neither scores a lot of points, and both want to run the football. It sets up a perfect recipe for the Under in what will be the last MACtion game of the year. While 36 is a low game total, these two teams can do it.
Even though his team still has a shot at bowl eligibility, this has been one of the more lackluster squads under Creighton — specifically due to its offense and inability to get consistent play at QB.
The Eastern Michigan Eagles are 115th in EPA per play, 118th in EPA per pass, and 83rd in EPA per rush while scoring just 20 points per game (115th). The play of QB Austin Smith has been inconsistent at best with him coming off his best game of the year against Akron, but still having thrown just eight touchdowns to seven interceptions this season
The Eagles are averaging the third least total yards per game in college football (265.1) and the 11th least passing yards (160.2) Not only are they not hitting a lot of big plays through the air — averaging 5.9 yards per attempt as a team — they’ve been inefficient when passing with a 55.2% completion rate.
While its running game has been slightly better with the combo of Samson Evans and Jaylon Jackson, Eastern Michigan is still only averaging 104.9 rushing yards per game, the 18th fewest in college football. The Eagles' 3.3 team average per carry is impacted by the number of sacks they’ve given up — 31 in 11 games.
This Buffalo Bulls defense isn’t a joke either. The team may not be winning, but head coach Maurice Linguist and defensive coordinator Robert Wright have done an impressive job... particularly with the secondary. Buffalo is 29th in EPA per play on defense and 12th in EPA per pass, having only allowed 18.1 points per game in MAC games this season.
Led by Devin Grant and Marcus Fuqua, two All-MAC caliber safeties, the Bulls have 11 interceptions this season and have been forcing quarterbacks into all kinds of mistakes with an aggressive front seven led by Max Michel and Daymond Williams.
With the poor play of Smith for the Eagles and the NFL talent in Buffalo’s backend, the Bulls can key in on the Eastern Michigan rushing attack to slow it down and keep the scoring down. They’ll have to if their offense keeps playing the way it has this season.
Buffalo is scoring just 21.8 points per game — 106th in the country — and has rarely been able to get into a rhythm with the passing game. Starting QB Cole Snyder hasn’t thrown for 200 yards in a game since October 7 against Central Michigan and has more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (two) in his last six starts.
It’s one of the worst offenses in college football, sitting 117th in EPA per play, 114th in EPA per pass, and 109th in EPA per rush. The Bulls haven’t scored more than 10 points in their last three MAC games and are averaging just 17.3 points per game in the conference.
It’s not as if Eastern Michigan has a terrifying defense — allowing 25.2 points per game — but if it can focus on stopping the run, it should keep Buffalo in check. Linebackers Chase Kline and Joseph Sparacio are tackling machines and one of the best duos in the Group of Five with a combined 257 tackles, 11 TFLs, and 4.5 sacks in 11 games.
My best bet: Under 36 (-110 at bet365)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.
Eastern Michigan vs Buffalo same-game parlay
The key in a low-scoring rock fight with potentially impactful weather is who can run the ball better. That goes to the Eagles who are only 83rd in EPA per rush on offense, but that’s sadly the most efficient area either of these offenses brings to this game.
Buffalo can also be exploited on the ground somewhat. The Bulls are 70th in EPA per rush on defense and allowing 175.7 rushing yards per game and five yards per carry. Between the physical running style of Evans and the electric athleticism of Jackson, they can do enough for the Eagles to cover the spread in Buffalo.
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Eastern Michigan vs Buffalo spread and Over/Under analysis
Most books have had the Bulls favored by slightly less than a touchdown since opening — between 5.5 and 6.5 — and many have settled in with them as 6.5-point home favorites. This season, Buffalo is 5-6 against the spread and 3-4 in the MAC. Meanwhile, Eastern Michigan is 5-5-1 ATS, having gone 4-2-1 in the MAC.
The total opened at between 41 and 40 at most books with it slowly trickling down to between 36.5 and 35.5.
After hitting the Over in their first four games of the season, the Bulls have gone seven straight hitting the Under: they’re 7-0 betting the Under in the MAC. Eastern Michigan has been slightly better as an Over bet going 5-6, with its defense allowing enough points against better opponents to hit the Over.
Eastern Michigan vs Buffalo betting trend to know
Buffalo has hit the game total Under in nine of its last 14 games (+3.50 Units / 23% ROI). Find more college football betting trends for Eastern Michigan vs Buffalo.
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Eastern Michigan vs Buffalo game info
|Location:||UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY|
|Date:||Tuesday, November 21, 2023|
|Kickoff:||7:30 p.m. ET|
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