MACtion Football Betting

Lights, camera, MACtion.

Mid-American Conference football is already fun, but moving most games mid-week in the late fall with a captive national audience has turned it into an annual sports betting sensation.

Latest Mid-American Conference odds: Spreads, totals, MAC title futures

This week’s MACtion games

There’s no MACtion yet, as Mid-American Conference football teams will be starting their seasons in nonconference play.

Thursday, Sept. 1

  • St. Francis at Akron, 6 p.m., ESPN3
  • Central Michigan at No. 12 Oklahoma State, 7 p.m., FS1
  • Ball State at Tennessee, 7 p.m., SEC Network
  • Long Island University at Toledo, 7 p.m., ESPN3
  • Eastern Illinois at Northern Illinois, 8 p.m., ESPN+

Friday, Sept. 2

  • Western Michigan at No. 15 Michigan State, 7 p.m., ESPN
  • Eastern Kentucky at Eastern Michigan, 7 p.m., ESPN3

Saturday, Sept. 3

  • Buffalo at Maryland, noon, Big Ten Network
  • Bowling Green at UCLA, 2:30 p.m., PAC 12 Network
  • Florida Atlantic at Ohio, 6 p.m., ESPN+
  • Miami (OH) at No. 20 Kentucky, 7 p.m., ESPN+/SEC Network
  • Kent State at Washington, 10:30 p.m., FS1

MACtion betting promos, odds boosts

DraftKings Sportsbook MI is offering a college football promotion for new customers that runs through Sept. 19. Register a new account, make your first deposit and your first cash bet of at least $5, and receive $200 instantly.

The $200 will be paid out in eight free bets of $25.

When does MACtion start this season?

MAC football teams will begin playing a full conference schedule on Oct. 1, but the madness they call MACtion will still be a month away.

Tuesday, Nov. 1, and Wednesday, Nov. 2, will be our first taste of midweek games in the conference. Ball State travels to Kent State, and Buffalo travels to Ohio on Nov. 1, while Central Michigan plays at Northern Illinois, and Western Michigan plays at Bowling Green on Nov. 2.

That starts four straight weeks of weekday games in the conference.

How did MACtion get its name?

In a maneuver to get some attention on the national college football stage at the turn of the century, the Mid-American Conference made what now looks like a brilliant move for both the Michigan sports betting world and across the country.

Since 2000, the conference has been playing mid-week football games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Simply put, they’ve been grabbing the national spotlight on nights when there’s no other football to be found.

Bettors noticed, and #MACtion was born, both among sharps and squares and on social media alike.

These ESPN and ESPN2 MAC games, otherwise among the lowest rungs of Football Bowl Subdivision competition, are some of the most frequently wagered-on contests each football season, according to data from national sportsbooks.

The games have also provided some instant classics, with high scores, unbelievable finishes and fantastic plays that many other leagues often cannot deliver. There’s also been a fair share of gaffes and bloopers.

The games are usually played in front of sparse crowds, as these mid-sized Midwest towns don’t draw many visitors during the week. And who can even blame students for not wanting to stand in the cold?

MAC schools do have some proud football histories, though. Here’s all the betting information and a few other things you didn’t know about the lovable, wacky MAC.

What teams are in the Mid-American Conference?

MAC East Division

  • Akron
  • Bowling Green
  • Buffalo
  • Kent State
  • Miami (Ohio)
  • Ohio

MAC West Division

  • Ball State
  • Central Michigan
  • Eastern Michigan
  • Northern Illinois
  • Toledo
  • Western Michigan

(More teams could reportedly be on the way in an expansion.)

Former Mid-American Conference members

  • Butler (1946-49)
  • Central Florida (2002-05, football only)
  • Cincinnati (1946-53)
  • Marshall (1954-69 and 1997-2005)
  • Massachusetts (2012-16, football only)
  • Wayne State (1946-47)
  • Western Reserve (1946-55)

When is the MAC Football championship game?

The 2022 MAC championship game was once again played at Ford Field in Detroit on Dec. 3, 2022.

The game is sponsored by Rocket Mortgage and pits the East Division champion against the West Division winner.

In the 2021 title game, Northern Illinois defeated Kent State 41-23.

Who has won the most MAC Football championship games?

The MAC has pitted the East and West Division winners in a championship game since 1997.

The game was on campus sites for the first seven seasons, then moved to Ford Field in 2004.

Marshall played in the first six MAC championship games, winning five of them.

Here are the MAC teams with the most appearances and titles in MAC Championship games:

AppearancesTeamYears WonYears Lost
9Northern Illinois2011, 2012, 2014, 2018, 20212005, 2010, 2013, 2015
6Marshall1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 20022001
6Toledo2001, 2004, 20171997, 1998, 2002
5Miami (Ohio)2003, 2010, 20192004, 2007
4Bowling Green2013, 20152003, 2014
4Central Michigan2006, 2007, 20092019
4OhioNone2006, 2009, 2011, 2016
3Buffalo20082018, 2020
3Western Michigan20161999, 2000
2Akron20052017
2Ball State20202008
2Kent StateNone2012, 2021

Top 3 Wildest #MACtion moments

3. Central Michigan 34, Western Michigan 31, Nov. 6, 2007: The rivals combined for 48 points in the fourth quarter. The win was finalized when Dan LeFevour ran it in for the winning CMU score.

2. Nov. 4, 2020: During a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, all 12 teams played on the same Wednesday for the first time in MAC history. Akron started the proceedings with a failed onside kick against Western Michigan. There was then a power outage in Mount Pleasant as Central Michigan played Ohio. Six different teams missed six extra points, which led to a lot of betting shrapnel.

1. This is where #MACtion as a social media phenomenon came to be. In consecutive weeks in November 2011, Northern Illinois beat Toledo 63-60, and then Toledo beat Western Michigan 66-63.

The first game could’ve been even wilder if Toledo’s last-ditch lateral effort didn’t stall near the NIU red zone.

The second game featured 945 combined passing yards between the Rockets and Broncos.

Biggest Mid-American Conference rivalries

3. Kent State vs. Akron: There are only 15 miles between these schools, though there frankly isn’t a lot of historical success for these programs. The teams have played for the Wagon Wheel trophy since 1946.

2. Toledo vs. Bowling Green: Another Ohio rivalry has just about 25 miles separating these campuses. The teams have combined for 10 MAC Championship appearances. The Ohio schools have played for the Battle of I-75 Trophy since 2011.

1. Central Michigan vs. Western Michigan: The biggest MAC rivalry out there, Western leads the all-time series 51-39-2. There’s genuine animosity between some corners of the fan bases. The teams have played for the Victory Cannon since 2008.

MAC Men: 5 best MAC football players

5. J.J. Watt, DE, Central Michigan: You didn’t know J.J. Watt played in the MAC, did you? Before Watt went on to star for his home state Wisconsin Badgers (and, later, the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals), Watt was a young tight end prospect at Central Michigan. He even had some nice moments for the Chippewas before famously leaving the team and delivering pizzas in Mount Pleasant for a time. He gave football another shot … and it appears to have worked out.

4. Antonio Brown, WR, Central Michigan: Brown grew up in Miami and fell through the recruiting cracks, ending up in Mount Pleasant. He became an All-American return specialist and one of the most dynamic players in college football. Brown then became a generational wide receiver for Pittsburgh before riding the Tom Brady train in New England and Tampa Bay.

3. Byron Leftwich, QB, Marshall: The enduring visual of Leftwich in college is his Marshall offensive lineman teammates carrying him down the field against Akron. Leftwich won MAC Offensive Player of the Year twice in 2001 and 2002.

2. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Miami (Ohio): Roethlisberger won MAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2003 the year after Leftwich won twice. That’s a pretty great run of conference quarterbacking. Roethlisberger was drafted No. 11 by the Pittsburgh Steelers and then won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

1. Randy Moss, WR, Marshall: Moss previously had won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1998. He also made the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018 after a dominant run with Minnesota, Oakland, New England, Tennessee and San Francisco.

MAC football players as recent first-round NFL Draft picks

(Since 1998)

2017 — Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan, Tennessee, No. 5
2014 — Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo, Oakland, No. 5
2014 — Jimmie Ward, DB, Northern Illinois, San Francisco, No. 30
2013 — Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan, Kansas City, No. 1
2011 — Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple, NY Jets, No. 30
2009 — Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois, San Diego, No. 16
2007 — Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan, San Francisco, No. 28
2004 — Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Miami, Pittsburgh, No. 11
2004 — Jason Babin, DE, Western Michigan, Houston, No. 27
2003 — Byron Leftwich, QB, Marshall, Jacksonville, No. 7
2000 — Chad Pennington, QB, Marshall, NY Jets, No. 18
1999 — L.J. Shelton, OT, Eastern Michigan, Arizona, No. 21
1998 — Randy Moss, WR, Marshall, Minnesota, No. 21

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