Ball State vs Buffalo Odds, Lines and Spread for MAC Championship

Buffalo running back Jaret Patterson carries the ball during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Akron in Amherst, N.Y., Saturday Dec. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
  • The 24th Mid-American Conference championship game pits Buffalo against Ball State on Friday, Dec. 18th, at 7:30 PM EST
  • The Bulls (5-0) stormed through the conference’s east division with ease, while the Cardinals (5-1) clinched the west division in dramatic fashion
  • Check out the odds for the game and key information about the matchup in the article below

Ball State might not be a “David,” per se, but Buffalo is definitely the Goliath of the Mid-American Conference this season. Now, the two will meet for just the second time ever in the MAC championship game on Friday, Dec. 18th, 2020 at 7:30 PM EST at Ford Field in Detroit.

In 2008, the No. 12 Cardinals were upset by a plucky Bulls team, 42-24, dashing any hopes for a BCS bowl bid. A dozen years later, the roles are reversed, in a way, as Ball State will now seek an upset as 12.5-point underdogs on the current line.

Buffalo vs Ball State MAC Championship Odds

Team Moneyline Point Spread Over/Under Total
Buffalo -500 -12.5 (-114) Over 66.5 (-106)
Ball State +360 +12.5 (-106) Under 66.5 (-114)

Odds taken Dec. 14 at FanDuel

How They Got Here

Calling Buffalo’s run to the conference title game a “cakewalk” would be a disservice to their efforts this season — but boy, they made it look easy.

The Bulls trounced all five of their opponents by at least 19 points, winning by an average margin of 30.8 points. Their offense ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division I with 51.8 points per game. Oh, and Buffalo hasn’t faced a deficit on a single snap in 2020.

The road has certainly been less smooth for Ball State, who kicked off their season with a one-score loss to Miami (OH). Since then, though, they’ve run the table with five consecutive wins — four of which have come by one score.

This past weekend’s game, between Ball State and Western Michigan, decided the fate of the MAC West division. And let’s just say viewers got their money’s worth. The Broncos took a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter, where Ball State came back with 17-straight points. Then this happened:

The million-lateral play didn’t count, thankfully for the Cardinals, but yikes. They were awfully close to missing out on the conference title game.

Common Opponents

Buffalo and Ball State haven’t faced each other in three years, which means their head-to-head history (9-2 for Ball State, though Buffalo won in 2017) isn’t relevant. But they had a pair of common opponents in 2020: Miami (OH) and Northern Illinois.

Buffalo beat the Huskies, 49-30, and the RedHawks, 42-10, in their first two matchups of the season. Ball State lost to the RedHawks in their opener, 38-31, and later beat Northern Illinois, 31-25.

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So, for however much it’s worth, the Bulls posted a plus-51 point differential against the common opponents, while the Cardinals posted a minus-two point differential.

2021 CFP National Championship Odds Tracker

ATS Analysis

Buffalo has been perfect this year, and they’ve been near-perfect against the spread. The Bulls are 4-1 ATS this season, failing only to cover as 31.5-point favorites against Bowling Green (Buffalo won that game by 24 points).

Most of the other spreads have been obliterated by Buffalo. In their past three ATS wins, the Bulls’ ATS margins are 16 points, 21.5 points, and 25 points. Is it possible oddsmakers have disrespected them in the MAC title odds, too?

Yes, it is possible. But it’s fair to at least consider the Cardinals’ position here. Ball State is only 3-3 ATS, but they’ve rattled off three consecutive wins — two of which came as outright wins against a favorite. The Cardinals’ ATS margins in those games were 5.5 points, 22.5 points, and 13 points.

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Well no, actually, it shouldn’t. The Bulls are playing in a different stratosphere (seriously, they’re averaging 7.5 yards per rush this season) and, have showed no signs of slowing down.

Don’t bet against a team that is winning by 30 points per game. Just don’t.

Pick: Buffalo -12.5 (-114)

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