Line: Buffalo -11
Akron vs Buffalo Breakdown and Betting Odds
The Akron Zips (2-9) are heading to Western New York to face the Buffalo Bulls (5-6) Friday at 1:00 p.m. ET. The Bulls are 11-point favorites. The over/under is set at 55 points.
Akron holds the slight edge historically, winning 11 of 21 matchups. However, Buffalo has won the last four meetings. Akron’s last win came in 2017. Akron has not won in Buffalo since 2005, losing seven in a row. Akron opened the rivalry with eight wins in a row, but the Bulls have won 10 of 13, and they will be able to tie the lifetime series Friday. To add insult to injury, Buffalo has won each of the last four matchups by at least 18 points.
The Zips have endured another rough season. Akron only has one win over an FBS team, knocking off Northern Illinois last week. They began their season 0-9 against FBS teams after beating FCS St. Francis (PA). This included a pair of blowout losses to Michigan State and Tennessee before a slew of MAC losses. Akron enters its final game of the season with a 1-6 record in the conference. Four of their six losses have come by one score with beatdowns at the hands of Ohio and Miami (OH). Neither side of the ball has been able to generate much traction this season.
The offense ranks 108th in scoring, pouring in a paltry 21.7 points per game. To the Zips’ credit, they did score 44 last week over a similarly hapless Northern Illinois side. They have been led by quarterback Demarcus Irons Jr. Irons has 10 passing touchdowns, four rushing touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also leads the team in rush attempts, averaging 13.3 per game. Cam Wiley has been the top rushing option, leading the team with 486 yards and 4.6 yards per carry. Clyde Price has scored seven times, and he has a healthy 27 catches. Daniel George, Shocky Jacques-Louis, and Alex Adams have led the way in the receiving game. All three have at least 56 catches and 693 yards.
Defensively, Akron is one of the worst teams in the FBS. They have allowed 34.5 points per game, good for 122nd in the country. Victor Jones has had some success, recording a team-high 4.5 sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss. Bubba Arsianian has 9.5 tackles for loss and an interception. Akron’s biggest issue has been with turnovers. They have twice as many giveaways as takeaways. While the per-play defense has been poor regardless, the unit is often put in disadvantageous positions. Akron averages 1.1 lost fumbles per game.
Against the spread, Akron has won four of its last five games. While only one became an outright win, Akron also covered against Eastern Michigan, Kent State, and Central Michigan. Their lone blemish is an 18-point loss as 8.5-point underdogs to Miami (OH). The under is 3-2 in their last five games, but the over has hit in each of their last two games.
Buffalo has had a tale of three seasons. They began the season 0-3, stumbling to Maryland, FCS Holy cross, and Coastal Carolina. However, they rode a hot streak to start MAC play. They knocked off Eastern Michigan, Miami (OH), Bowling Green, and Toledo as part of a five-game winning streak. After their 4-0 start in conference play, the Bulls have dropped their last three to slip to 5-6 on the season. A win over Akron clinches a winning conference record and a .500 season while a loss would result in a .500 season in conference play and a losing overall record. The season might be lost, but they can end it on a high note.
The offense has been remarkably consistent. They have scored at least 24 in their last 10 games, crossing 30 in five games. Their high-water mark was a 50-burger dropped on Eastern Michigan. All told, Buffalo is 59th in the nation in scoring. They have been led by Cole Snyder’s 18 total touchdowns. Snyder has thrown for 2,501 yards and rushed for 139 more. On the ground, Buffalo has two useful backs in Ron Cook Jr. and Mike Washington. Cook has the slight edge in attempts and yards, but Washington has three extra touchdowns. In the receiving game, Quian Williams and Justin Marshall represent the two-headed monster. Both players have over 600 receiving yards and they have caught 10 total touchdowns.
The defense has not been quite as productive as the offense. They rank 80th in points allowed per game, squarely in the bottom half of the country. They have been particularly undone by a porous run defense. They are allowing 185.8 yards per game at a 5.2 per-carry clip. They have had a stable pass defense, allowing only 55.7% of passes to be complete, but many teams opt to run on the Bulls. The defensive leaders are Shaun Dolac and James Patterson. Dolac has 122 total tackles with 10 for a loss. He also has seven pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Patterson has 101 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks.
Buffalo is 2-3 ATS in their last five games with all five games involving the winning team also covering the spread. Their three consecutive losses included two games they were favored in. However, they have not been double-digit favorites since their 27-point win over Massachusetts. The over has hit in four consecutive games, a testament to Buffalo’s consistent offense and below-average defense.
Free Pick: Akron +11
Buffalo is in a bit of a skid. While they should beat the Zips regardless, it is tough to ask Buffalo to cover 11 points. All told, Akron +11 banks on the Zips having some success on the ground, keeping a low-scoring game and covering the spread. Akron has had an inconsistent rushing offense, but Buffalo has had a consistently bad run defense. Over 55 could also be a reasonable play as neither team has particularly good defenses.