MAC Championship Game: Ball State vs. Buffalo odds and preview

Profile Picture: Jason Ence

December 15th, 2020

The MAC Championship Game is Friday night in Detroit, where the Ball State Cardinals will face off with the Buffalo Bulls in a high-octane matchup.

Let's dive in and take a look at the conference title game.

Buffalo vs. Ball State

Sat, December 19 2020, 12:30 AM

Buffalo Bulls






O 66.5

Ball State Cardinals






U 66.5

Ball State snuck in

The Cardinals will play for the conference title, after they mounted a fourth-quarter comeback against Western Michigan.

Ball State scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to go up 30-27, then survived a wild finish, where Western Michigan appeared to pull off numerous laterals and score, even as the entire Ball State sideline poured onto the field. The Cardinals were saved, because one of the tosses went forward, and the victory gave them the MAC West title.

The Cardinals are led by quarterback Drew Plitt, who has thrown for seven touchdowns and just one interception over his last two games. His top target, wide receiver Justin Hall, caught 10 passes for 175 yards and two scores last week.

Ball State averages more than 33 points per game, but only one of its five victories this season has come by a margin of more than one score.

Buffalo has run over opponents

Buffalo running back Jaret Patterson put on a show two weeks ago against Kent State. The junior ran for 409 yards on 36 carries and found the end zone eight times in a 70-41 victory.

In just five games, he has rushed for 1,025 yards and 18 touchdowns on 123 carries. He has yet to fumble and he has led the highest-scoring offense in college football.

Buffalo’s defense has held up, as well, as it has limited the opposition to just 21 points per game and allowed an average of 206 yards passing per game.

The Bulls major weakness is their passing game. Quarterback Kyle Vantrease has thrown just one touchdown over their last three games but has thrown only one interception all season.

How they match up

Buffalo is going to try to run the ball down Ball State’s throat, and the Bulls should have success. Ball State allowed almost 500 yards last week, including 218 rushing yards on 51 carries. While Ball State has a decent red-zone defense, Buffalo leads the nation in red-zone touchdown percentage. The Bulls have found the end zone on 20 of their 21 red-zone trips this season.

On the other side, Ball State running back Caleb Huntley opted out of the game to prepare for the NFL Draft, but he has missed the Cardinals' last three games. Without him, they have been unable to run the ball effectively, which has put more pressure on Plitt.

If Ball State cannot keep Buffalo’s offense off the field, the Cardinals defense may get worn out early, and Patterson could end this game quickly.

Look for Buffalo to win this game easily, but Ball State will do enough to put this game Over.

Score prediction: Buffalo 49, Ball State 24

NCAAF free picks: Buffalo -13.5, Over 66.5

Check out all the odds for this week's conference championship games at BetAmerica!