The Western Michigan Broncos are 2-0 both straight up and against the spread in two meetings with the Ohio Bobcats since 2014, winning by an average score of 46-18. The unbeaten Broncos hope to make it three in a row over the Bobcats and earn a big-time bowl berth when the teams meet in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game on Friday evening on neutral turf at Ford Field in Detroit.
Point spread: The Broncos opened as 17-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 44.3-23.6 Broncos (College football picks on every game)
Why the Western Michigan Broncos can cover the spread
Western Michigan moved to 12-0 on the season—and 9-3 ATS—with a 55-35 victory over Toledo last week, clinching its first berth in the MAC Championship Game since 2000. The Broncos took a 7-0 lead on the Rockets on an interception return for a touchdown 12 seconds in, and they later put the game away with a 28-0 run on their way toward an easy cover as seven-point favorites.
Western Michigan racked up 449 yards of offense on the day, including 253 on the ground, as sophomore running back Jamauri Bogan popped off for 198 yards on 31 carries and a touchdown. The Broncos also dominated time of possession by a 39-21 margin.
Western Michigan is now 6-1 ATS when favored by less than 20 points.
Why the Ohio Bobcats can cover the spread
Ohio just secured its first MAC Championship Game berth since 2011 with a tough 9-3 victory over Akron last week. The Bobcats used a pair of Louie Zervos field goals to take a 6-0 lead into halftime and held on from there, as the Ohio defense kept the Zips out of the end zone all game long, including on a late drive near the red zone.
For the day, the Bobcats outgained Akron 299-226 and outrushed the Zips 130-95. Ohio has now outrushed each of its last nine opponents.
The Bobcats are only 6-6 ATS on the season but 3-0 ATS as underdogs, winning two of those games outright—against Kansas and Toledo.
Seven of Western Michigan’s wins this season have come by 20 points or more. Also, in six games this year against common opponents, the Broncos outgained them by 170 yards per game, while Ohio came in at just plus-20 yards per game. WMU also has a Cotton Bowl bid waiting for it at the end of a championship game victory. The best bet for this MAC bout is the Broncos, minus the points.
Western Michigan is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games against Ohio.
The total has gone over in Western Michigan’s last four games against Ohio.
The total has gone under in eight of Ohio’s last nine games against its conference.
All college football betting lines and point-spreads data courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and Odds Shark YouTube for picks and analysis, or download the free odds-tracker app.