Eastern Michigan Seeing Early Money In Tight MAC Matchup Vs. Ball State

Written By Julie Walker on October 12, 2021

Eastern Michigan’s defense held strong last weekend against Miami (Ohio), and the Eagles escaped with a 13-12 win over the RedHawks for their first Mid-American Conference victory. This Saturday, Eastern Michigan hosts a Ball State team on a two-game win streak.

Will Eastern and its defense hang with a booming Cardinals offense, or will they drop another MAC meeting in an intriguing matchup this week in the Michigan sports betting scene?

Ball State at Eastern Michigan: NCAA Football Odds

Early money coming in on underdog Eastern Michigan

Eastern is 1-2 this season when entering the game as the underdog — which it is again for the Week 7 tilt against Ball State.

But early-week line movement has seen this MAC game tighten considerably.

BetMGM Sportsbook opened with Ball State as a 3-point favorite Monday afternoon, while both FanDuel Sportsbook and Caesars Sportsbook favored the Cards by 2.5 points.

All of those sportsbooks initially predicted an over/under of 54.5 points. Eastern and its foes have hit more than 54.5 points twice this season. Ball State and its opponents have scored more than 54.5 points three times in the first six contests.

By Tuesday afternoon, the total had ticked up to 55.5 at most Michigan sportsbooks. But the spread had Ball State as just a 1.5-point favorite in many spots, with the best action on Eastern Michigan still at +2.5 at BetRivers Sportsbook.

On the money line, the Cardinals were favored for the first time this season. Caesars and BetMGM initially set it at -135 for Ball State and +115 for Eastern. By Tuesday afternoon, was down to -120 at both DraftKings Sportbook and PointsBet Sportsbook.

Eastern, on the other hand, has closed to an even-money pick at both those books. They’re still +112 at BetRivers as of early Tuesday afternoon.

For real-time odds updates on both sides of this matchup throughout the week, consult our game tracker above.

How to watch: Ball State Cardinals at Eastern Michigan Eagles

  • Who: Ball State (3-3, 1-1 MAC) at Eastern Michigan (4-2, 1-1)
  • When: 2 p.m. ET Saturday
  • Where: Rynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, Mich.
  • Online livestream: ESPN+ (Announcers: Michael Reghi, Jerod Cherry)
  • Radio: 89.1 WEMU-FM

Eastern’s defense seals homecoming win

Eastern celebrated its 100th homecoming with a 13-12 win over Miami.

The field-goal-filled contest featured a lone 16-yard touchdown pass from Ben Bryant to Bryson Cannon about halfway through the second quarter after a 73-yard drive. The extra point gave the Eagles a 7-6 lead going into halftime.

RedHawks kicker Graham Nicholson cut the lead to 13-12 with his fourth field goal of the game late in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles stopped the RedHawks’ last comeback attempt by deflecting Andrew Homer’s pass on a fourth-and-5 with 1:50 to play.

Bryant finished 21-of-31 for 206 yards, the touchdown and one interception. Freshman running back Darius Boone Jr. carried the ball nine times for 36 yards.

Dylan Drummond led the team’s receiving efforts with seven receptions for 93 yards. Cannon, a senior tight end, finished with two catches for 21 yards and the score.

Kicker Chad Ryland was perfect hitting an extra point and two field goals, the longest a 47-yarder.

Ball State scores big in second half for lopsided victory in Kalamazoo

Ball State’s 2021 Michigan tour started last week in Kalamazoo with a 45-20 win over MAC foe Western Michigan. The Cardinals had not beaten the Broncos on the road since 2013.

Ball State went down 14-7 by the end of the first quarter, but headed into halftime tied at 17-all. Western led 20-17 with just under seven minutes to play in the third quarter, but the Broncos didn’t score again.

Cardinals quarterback Drew Plitt had his best game of the season, finishing 15-of-25 for 310 yards and four touchdowns.

Carson Steele carried the ball 10 times for 41 yards. Justin Hall had two carries for 14 yards and a touchdown.

Four Cardinals netted 49 receiving yards or more. Yo’Heinz Tyler led the receiving effort with five catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns.

Jalen McGaughy caught one pass for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage to start the game. Jayshon Jackson had three receptions for 61 yards, and Justin Hall had three catches for 49 yards and a touchdown.

Eastern Michigan last beat Ball State in 2018

Ball State is now riding two-game win streak both on the season and against Eastern Michigan.

The Eagles last bested the Cardinals with a 42-20 road win in 2018. The Cardinals have won by a touchdown or less the past two meetings, including a 38-31 win in Muncie, Ind., last year.

Since 1985, the Eagles are 15-21 against the Cards overall and 6-12 against them when playing at home.

The Cardinals are scoring an average of 23.5 points a game, and the Eagles’ defense is giving up an average of 22.8. On offense, Eastern scores an average of 29.3 points a game, and Ball State’s defense gives up an average of 28 points a game.

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Julie Walker

Julie has written, edited and designed words at five Michigan newspapers and websites. She’s worked on two sports desks, including at The Oakland Press and most recently at The Detroit News. Julie has contributed to stories on many big sports moments, from the NFL's 100th season to Super Bowls to Justin Verlander’s trade to the closing of the Palace of Auburn Hills.  Julie loves lakes, bonfires, Dachshunds, coaching Little League and carrying on her Dad’s fantasy football legacy that he started in 1987 — before there was an app for that.

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