Can Toledo make it two straight MAC Championships?
The Rockets head to Detroit, Michigan, in hopes of winning a second straight conference title against an opponent on its backup quarterback, as Miami (Ohio) enters without Blake Gabbert, but the often-used Aveon Smith and a vaunted defense.
Can the RedHawks keep up as more than a touchdown underdog against an explosive Toledo offense? Here's my outlook for the MAC title game on Saturday:
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Miami (Ohio) vs. Toledo Odds, Spread and Total
Toledo vs. Miami (Ohio) Betting Trends
- Miami (Ohio) is 9-3 against the spread (ATS) this season
- Toledo is 6-6 ATS this season
- Miami (Ohio) has gone UNDER in seven of 12 games this season
- Toledo has gone OVER in seven of 12 games this season
Miami (Ohio) vs. Toledo How to Watch
- Date: Saturday, December 2nd
- Game Time: 12:00 PM EST
- Venue: Ford Field
- How to Watch (TV): ESPN
- Miami (Ohio) Record: 10-2
- Toledo Record: 11-1
Miami (Ohio) vs. Toledo Key Players to Watch
Aveon Smith: The Redhawks are not a potent offense, especially without Smith, who has passed for less than 200 yards in each of his starts this season, but he is a capable runner, rushing more than 10 times in three of four starts. Smith may need to try and create some big plays somewhere against a Toledo team that is top 20 in yards per play this season.
Dequan Finn: The Rockets offense has been a big play machine this season as Finn is pushing 3,000 total yards this season with 27 total touchdowns. The unit is top 10 in EPA/Play and has plenty of ways to attack this Redhawks offense, but Finn must be careful with the ball. He has 17 big-time throws, up from last season, but 14 turnover-worthy plays, the same as last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
Miami (Ohio) vs. Toledo Prediction and Pick
These two played back in October with Toledo winning as a two-point road favorite, 21-17, when Gabbert was still on the field. Of course, a lot has changed with Smith taking over for the injured RedHawks signal caller, so the line movement makes sense on the surface.
Miami's game plan is pretty clear, slow this game down and play the field position battle. The RedHawks have the best defense in the MAC, top 20 in the nation in yards per play, and 20th in sacks, so I expect the team to keep a lid on this Toledo offense that is prone to some poor decisions. Miami is 29th in yards per carry allowed, so the game could fall on Finn's arm, which could lead to more volatility.
Finn has been awesome, but Toledo's ability to run the ball, the team's top 10 in yards per carry, makes life easier for him.
The RedHawks will have a vanilla game script as the team looks to pounce on any Toledo mistake. Miami is the third-slowest team in the league from a plays-per-minute standpoint and also has an elite punter who boots it 46 yards per punt.
I don't expect much success against Toledo's defense. It is top 30 in success rate and has an elite defensive line for MAC standards, top 50 in yards per carry, and top 20 in yards per play allowed, but I do think Miami can keep this game low scoring.
As mentioned above, Miami is elite on defense, and is top 20 in red zone touchdown percentage allowed (48%), if the unit can limit chunk plays and make the Rockets work for scores, this game can be a bit of a slog.
I think the under is the best look in this game as Miami has been regularly lined in the 30s total-wise, and still going under it, three of four games since Smith took over.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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