Western Michigan Brings Bruised MACtion Ego Into Expected Akron Walkover

Written By Julie Walker on November 7, 2021

Western Michigan must shake off an especially bad game as the Broncos host the Akron Zips on Tuesday in Mid-American Conference football betting action.

Western started strong but fell short in its annual rivalry game last week, losing to Central Michigan at home, 42-30, after winning three straight against the Chippewas and holding an early double-digit lead last week.

Can Western bounce back against an underwhelming Akron team hungry for a win?

Akron at Western Michigan: NCAA Football Odds

Wait, Western Michigan is favored by … how much?

Michigan sportsbooks opened wagers Sunday by giving underdog Akron a whopping 26 points in most locations. BetMGM Sportsbook and BetRivers Sportsbook gave the underdogs 25.5 points.

Caesars Sportsbook was among those offering an over/under of 62 points.

“Best” is a relative word moneyline offerings for the at DraftKings Sportsbook, at -3000. Akron is a +1400 underdog on the moneyline at BetMGM.

The Broncos are 4-3-1 against the spread this season. Akron has four occasions beating the spread.

How to watch: Akron Zips at Western Michigan Broncos

  • What: Akron (2-7, 1-4 MAC) at Western Michigan (5-4, 2-3)
  • When: 7 p.m., ET, Tuesday, Nov. 9
  • Where: Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, Mich.
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Radio: Bronco Radio Network

Western loses Victory Cannon trophy after Central comes alive in 2nd quarter

The rivalry game seemed to start as expected, with the nine-point favorite Broncos scoring first to go up 14-0 by the second quarter. But Central then scored three unanswered touchdowns to make it 21-14 at the half.

The Broncos never got the lead again in the 42-30 loss that moved fifth-year head coach and former Western quarterback Tim Lester to 3-2 against the rivals. (He was 2-2 vs. Central as a player).

Western outgained Central in total yardage 445-389 and controlled possession with 34:46, but had three turnovers and gave up two scores on long punt returns.

Quarterback Kaleb Eleby was 22-for-36 for 276 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

Sean Tyler had 15 carries for 59 yards and two touchdowns. La’Darius Jefferson finished with 11 carries for 56 yards and a score.

Sophomore wide receiver Corey Crooms had seven catches for 118 yards and a 31-yard touchdown. Crooms’ other 100-yard-plus game came against Pitt on Sept. 18. He piled up 161 in the 44-41 Broncos win.

Akron beats the spread, but not Ball State

At game time last week, Ball State was favored by 20 points against the ailing Akron team. A fourth-quarter rally pulled the Zips to within six, but a late fumble by quarterback Zach Gibson killed any comeback hopes with 1:32 to play.

The 31-25 loss extended Akron’s losing streak to three and was their closest loss of the season.

Gibson was 24-of-31 and threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns. Jonzell Norrils finished with 17 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown.

Michael Mathison and Tristian Brank added a touchdown a piece in the comeback effort. Mathison finished with eight catches for 154 yards and the score and Brank had five receptions for 38 yards.

Western Michigan dominates series with Akron

The Broncos have 15 wins to the Zips’ five in the series. Western won 58-13 in Akron last season. Akron’s wins against Western came in 1938, 1975, 1996, 2007 and the most recent,  a 14-13 win in Kalamazoo in 2017.

Akron’s offense and defense are both ranked last in the MAC. Western’s No. 7 offense is averaging 29.1 points a game and Akron’s No. 12 defense is giving up an average of 38 points a game.

History and stats aside, Western will need to stay on guard to fight off a desperate Akron team trying to claw its way out of the MAC’s basement.

Photo by Al Goldis/AP
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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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