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Akron Zips will travel to UB Stadium in Buffalo, New York to face the Buffalo Bulls on Friday afternoon. NCAAF handicapper Matt MacKay is here with his prediction.
ANALYSIS

Buffalo vs. Akron Prediction, Pick, Odds: Should Buffalo Be on Upset Alert in Friday Night's MACtion?

It's not the MAC Championship game, but Buffalo will look to become bowl-eligible during a home game on Friday afternoon. Their opponent, the Akron Zips, are bad on both sides of the line of scrimmage, which is why the Zips sit at 2-9 and 1-6 within conference play. Conversely, the Bulls have endured a three-game losing slump of their own, following a five-game winning streak mid-season. Buffalo's offense is better than its defense, but that shouldn't matter much against the Zips, who are ranked 108th out of 131 FBS offenses.

Buffalo's second-year head coach, Maurice Linguist, has slowly rebuilt the Bulls' football program, taking them from a 4-8 finish in 2021 to a potential bowl-game invitation if they can secure a win against Akron on Friday afternoon. There is plenty of motivation for the Bulls, but how will Akron respond in its final game of the 2022 season?

There haven't been many highlights to focus on within the Zips' locker room, but they did find some confidence after snapping a nine-game losing skid against Northern Illinois in Week 13. The Zips have had a few close losses that contrast with several sizable blowouts, led by first-year head coach Joe Moorhead, who previously coached Mississippi State to consecutive bowl appearances in 2018 and 2019. The 44-12 road win over NIU could be enough to boost the play of Akron's players, who will attempt to play spoiler in Buffalo, New York once Friday afternoon arrives.

Will the Bulls cruise to an easy win over the Zips? Or should Buffalo be on upset alert due to its current three-game losing slump? Here are our picks, predictions, and odds for Friday afternoon's game between the Akron Zips vs. Buffalo Bulls.

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Buffalo vs. Akron Start Time and Where to Watch

  • Date: Friday, December 2
  • Game Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Where to Watch: ESPN

Buffalo vs. Akron Odds

  • Spread: Akron +13 (-110), Buffalo -13 (-110)
  • Total: Under 56.5 (-105), Over 56.5 (-115)
  • Moneyline: Akron (+410), Buffalo (-520)

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Buffalo vs. Akron Injury Report

Akron

DJ Irons (Questionable - Undisclosed)

Buffalo

WR Jamari Gassett (Questionable - Undisclosed), RB Ron Cook Jr. (Questionable - Undisclosed)

Buffalo vs. Akron Prediction

Akron has found something sustainable within its offense with junior quarterback Jeff Undercuffler. He completed 65 percent of his pass attempts for 312 yards and three touchdowns against Northern Illinois in Week 13 while committing one interception. Wideout Alex Adams is the biggest weapon for the Zips' offense, hauling in 56 receptions for 838 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Shocky Jaques-Louis is equally talented as Akron's other wideout, recording the most receptions (69) and matching Adams with 837 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

The Zips' running game is not good, averaging under 3.0 YPC on the year. However, it's improved in recent games against Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois, averaging 4.7 YPC or more with four touchdowns across this recent two-week stretch. Cam Wiley and Clyde Price each have at least five rushing touchdowns, with Wiley averaging 4.6 YPC.

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Akron will have difficulty stopping Buffalo's run-centric offense in this matchup. The Bulls have handled at least 55 carries in its past two games, leading to three touchdowns on the ground in both matchups. Granted, these were close losses instead of wins, but expect Linguist to stick with the run-centric scheme against the Zips' bottom-ten defense. Akron has been good at defending the pass, holding quarterbacks under 200 passing yards in four of the past five games, and holding the opposing offenses to two or fewer passing touchdowns. Buffalo has not thrown a passing touchdown since a 45-24 loss to Ohio University on November 1st. The Bulls have also been committing untimely turnovers while failing to force them on defense.

Oddsmakers are showing confidence in Buffalo's outlook at home in a must-win game to get bowl eligibility. Akron would be a hefty payout at +410, especially since they just beat the brakes off Northern Illinois on the road. It will be Akron's sixth road game of the season, where they have gone 1-4 straight up, but the momentum from their recent win is enough to consider Akron with moneyline odds this favorable.

Buffalo is laying 13 points at home to Akron, with each side being equally valued at -110. The Bulls are 6-4-1 ATS overall, including 2-2 ATS at home. In Week 13, Buffalo lost its second home game outright to Kent State with a final score of 30-27. The Zips have a much better ATS record than straight-up record, sitting at 6-5 overall. The Zips are 3-3 ATS on the road, which makes +13 fairly enticing.

Akron's defense has not been an opportunistic unit when it comes to turnovers, but they have recorded three interceptions in its last two games. This will likely force Buffalo to run another 55-60 times on Friday, but it could go south if the Zips bottle up the running game as they did against Miami (OH) and Northern Illinois. The Zips have a lot of losses but three of the most recent losses have been by seven points or less. 13 points is a lot against a one-dimensional Buffalo offense that is playing without confidence, so I'm taking the Zips to cover the 13-point spread on the road.

Buffalo vs. Akron Pick

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Article Author

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Matt is an avid writer, editor, and researcher. He enjoys analyzing the game within the game which is fantasy sports and sports betting. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his wife and three pets. He likes to read, listen to podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the sports betting industry.

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