Midweek MACtion may have abandoned us, but that didn’t stop the theatrics the conference has become known for.
Eastern Michigan made ESPN’s Bad Beats sports betting segment for failing to cover in its 31-23 loss to Central Michigan last Saturday. Meanwhile, Western Michigan nearly lost straight up as a 20-point favorite. The Broncos were forced to rally for a 30-27 fourth-quarter comeback win over Northern Illinois.
The three Michigan teams from the Mid-American Conference are in action once again on Saturday. Eastern will continue its matchups within the state when it travels as a 14-point underdog to face Western at noon on Saturday, while Central Michigan is a 1.5-point favorite for Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. game against Ball State (3-1).
Eastern Michigan’s Bad Beat
The Eagles made ESPN’s Bad Beats segment after failing to cover as 6.5-point underdogs in the 30-27 loss to Central.
Eastern entered the fourth quarter with a 20-6 lead. Central (3-1) rallied to start the fourth, but Eastern had possession with a 23-21 lead and just 4:34 left in the game. At this point, the Eagles had a 99% chance to cover the 6.5-point spread. Then, chaos ensued.
A fumble in Eastern’s own end led to a 21-yard Central field goal for a 24-23 lead. OK, not the worst thing in the world for the Eagles. Just 2:31 was left on the clock.
But on the next Eastern play from scrimmage, the Eagles threw an interception. Still, Eastern just needed to limit Central to a field goal or get the ball back. It didn’t seem unreasonable since Central was back on the Eastern 47. And yet, it only took three plays for Central to score a TD. Kobe Lewis scored on a 9-yard run after setting up the score with a gain of 31 when Central was simply trying to kill the clock.
Eastern bettors’ frustration came to a climax when any hope for an Eagles backdoor cover was killed with another interception.
Heartbreak has been the norm for an 0-4 Eastern team which has been the underdog in all four games. The Eagles had the chance to be one of the conference’s most profitable teams. In three of the four losses, Eastern blew fourth-quarter leads, breaking the hearts of moneyline backers with each debilitating loss.
The Broncos (4-0) entered last Saturday’s matchup against Northern Illinois (0-4) with a perfect 3-0 record against the spread.
But the typical explosive Broncos offense was held in check for much of the afternoon by the Huskies normally porous defense. Western entered averaging the second-most points per game in the country (50.3) and was coming off a 52-44 win over Central where the Broncos recorded 628 yards of offense.
The big gains did not come as frequently for Western against NIU (0-4), with the Broncos finishing with its lowest yardage output of the season with 325 yards. NIU’s sterling defensive effort allowed the Huskies to take a 27-20 lead with 10:28 left in the fourth quarter.
However, the Broncos responded with a 26-yard TD pass from Kaleb Eleby to Skyy Moore to cap a three-play, 76-yard drive and would add a Gavin Peddie 24-yard field goal to remain unbeaten.
Western’s defense recorded two three-and-outs and a turnover on downs to secure the comeback victory. If the Broncos can close out the regular season unbeaten, it will set up a MAC title game with undefeated Buffalo (4-0).