College football’s ‘MACtion’ is intriguing betting arena

Lights, camera, MACtion!

The Mid-American Conference realized a few years ago it could grab the national spotlight by moving football games to Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Ever since, “MACtion” has become a staple of November TV schedules.

Football bettors love being in action seven days a week. Sharps know lesser-followed conferences often feature softer point spreads. Less market awareness of edges combined with slower adjustment time.

There’s no greater example of that than this year’s Akron Zips. They’re basically the polar opposite of the Ohio State team VSIN discussed this past Saturday. The Buckeyes consistently cleared high expectations until the market finally over-adjusted versus Rutgers (Ohio State is still 8-2 ATS this season). The Zips consistently have failed to reach low expectations.

Heading into this week’s MACtion, winless Akron is “a perfect 0-10” against the spread. Ten games. Ten failures.

And, it’s not as if faders have had to sweat many finishes. Akron is missing the mark by a mile. Going in schedule order, Akron missed the spread by 21, 3, 18¹/₂, 7¹/₂, 17, 8¹/₂, 3¹/₂, 27, 25¹/₂ and 11 points.

That’s an average of 14¹/₂ points, with midpoints from low to high of 11 and 17 (many quants prefer “medians” to averages because they diminish the numeric impact of extreme results). Akron’s “typical” weekly result misses the point spread by double digits.

If the Zips had been spotted a 7-0 lead in every game, they’d still be 2-8 ATS. If they had been spotted a 14-0 lead, they’d be have juicing out at 5-5.

It’s not always that easy to handicap the MAC. Just be aware that there are windows of opportunity worth peeking through. Here’s this week’s schedule:

  • Ohio at Bowling Green (Tues., 7:30 p.m., ESPNU): Ohio (4-6, 2-8) must win out for a bowl. Bowling Green (3-7, 3-7) has nothing but pride to play for. Despite that 2-8 ATS record, the Bobcats are likely to close between 17- and 20-point favorites.
  • Eastern Michigan at Northern Illinois (Tues., 7:30 p.m., ESPN2): Both teams are thinking about bowl eligibility. Eastern Michigan (5-5 straight up, 4-6 ATS) has to win just one of its last two games. Northern Illinois (4-6, 6-4) must win out. Northern likely will close more than a field-goal favorite.
  • Toledo at Buffalo (Wed., 7:30 p.m., ESPN2): Big game for Buffalo (5-5, 5-5), with a chance to clinch a bowl bid on national TV in front of a home crowd. Visiting Toledo (6-4, 4-6) will go bowling, but needs a miracle or two to rise to the top of the West from its current 3-3 league record. Buffalo should close near a touchdown favorite.
  • Akron at Miami (Ohio) (Wed., 7:30 p.m., ESPNU): This might turn into a glorified scrimmage. You already know about Akron (0-10, 0-10). Bowl-bound Miami (6-4, 6-4) already has clinched the MAC East with a 5-1 league record. Miami opened a whopping -31. The market is still trying to adjust to Akron.

Good luck if you attack the MAC!

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