Take Toledo Over Akron In Likely MAC Championship Game Eliminator

Toledo Rockets players walking on the field

Matthew Jordan

Monday, October 31, 2016 4:12 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 31, 2016 4:12 PM UTC

You know we are getting late in the college football season because there's MACtion early in the week. And on Wednesday, it's a crucial game for both Toledo and Akron at the Rubber Bowl. The Rockets are -8.5 on BetOnline college football odds.

Rockets Can't Afford Another Slipup

Toledo (6-2, 3-1 MAC) is a game behind ranked Western Michigan in the Mid-American Conference's West Division. Those two schools close the regular season against one another in Kalamazoo, Mich., so Toledo would control its own fate to play in the conference title game as long as it doesn't lose again before that.

However, the Rockets come off a 31-26 upset loss to Ohio on Thursday, the Bobcats' first win at Toledo since 1967. UT, a 15-point favorite, was down 31-20 late in the fourth quarter but cut it to five on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Logan Woodside to Jon'Vea Johnson with 3:28 to go. The 2-point conversion to make it a field goal game failed. Toledo was able to force Ohio to punt on the next drive and the Rockets quickly got to the Ohio 49. But the Rockets, who were out of timeouts, were called for a false start while trying to get off one final play in the waning seconds and the 10-second runoff ended the game.

Woodside finished 32-for-46 passing for 438 yards and three touchdowns with an interception. He now has 31 TD passes, breaking the school's single-season record held by Bruce Gradkowski (29 in 2003 and 2005). Woodside is among the national leaders in yards (2,715) and TDs (first in that category). Johnson caught six balls for 156 yards and two scores and he's among the NCAA leaders in yards and catches. Toledo had 560 yards of offense but allowed 512. The Rockets had won 12 straight against Ohio and were 18-1 in the previous 19 games against the MAC's East Division. Toledo hadn't lost a home game to MAC East school since a 27-13 setback against Miami on Oct. 26, 2002.

Toledo is 5-3 ATS on college football odds (2-1 ATS on road).


Zips Crushed As Huge Favorites

Akron (5-4, 3-2 MAC) no doubt was rooting for Toledo on Thursday, although the Zips were busy that night as well in losing 41-20 at Buffalo, which had been winless in the MAC. So Akron, which was a 19.5-point favorite, is now a game behind Ohio for the MAC East lead. Those schools close the regular season against one another in Ohio. Thus the loser here probably can kiss the MAC Championship Game goodbye.

The Zips couldn't slow Buffalo running back Jordan Johnson as he rushed for a school-record 282 yards. Akron led 3-0 but wouldn't again. Its defense allowed 378 rushing yards, the most by Buffalo since the school joined the FBS in 1999. Buffalo's 518 total yards and 41 points also were season highs. Not a huge surprise as Akron is one of the worst defenses in the nation.

Zips QB Thomas Woodson struggled, hitting on just 18 of 42 for 178 yards with a TD and interception. JoJo Natson had a 33-yard TD catch and a 79-yard punt return for a score. He also returned a punt for a TD earlier this season vs. Wisconsin. 

With one more victory, the Zips will be bowl eligible for the second consecutive season -- something never before accomplished in school history. Akron is 3-7 all-time against Toledo but has won the past two meetings at the Rubber Bowl, most recently in 2013.

Akron is 3-6 ATS on college football picks (1-3 ATS at home). Toledo is 11-1 ATS in its past 12 on the road. The Zips are 1-4 ATS in their past five at home vs. teams with a winning road record. Toledo should have little trouble hanging 40 on Akron. 

NCAAF Free Pick: Toledo -8.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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