Western Michigan Opens MAC Play As Solid Road Favorite At Buffalo

Written By Drew Ellis on September 28, 2021

It’s been a pretty impressive start to the college football season for Western Michigan, which faces Buffalo on the road this week to open Mid-American Conference play.

Since a rough opener against Michigan, the Broncos have reeled off three straight wins. That ledger includes an upset of ACC squad Pitt on the road.

Now, WMU is set to kick off its league schedule away from home. Will the win streak continue?

Western Michigan at Buffalo: NCAA Football Odds

Western Michigan a road favorite at Buffalo

Oddsmakers seem to be noticing Western Michigan’s recent play.

The Broncos step into their MAC opener as a road favorite against the Bulls. Western Michigan was listed early as a 6.5-point road favorite across the board.

On the moneyline, Caesars Sportsbook was listing Western at -240 to win as of Tuesday morning, while BetMGM Sportsbook had Buffalo at +200.

The over/under total was listed mostly at 59 points for Saturday’s clash.

(Check our real-time odds tracker above for the best available odds and totals on each side of the line.)

The Broncos are 3-1 against the spread this season, and the under has hit on three out of four occasions. Buffalo is 2-2 against the spread and the over and under are on a 2-2 split so far in 2021.

Western Michigan is 7-2 all-time against Buffalo, winning the last two meetings as well. The Bulls have covered in four of the past five encounters, however.

How to watch: Western Michigan at Buffalo

  • What: Western Michigan (3-1, 0-0 MAC) at Buffalo (2-2, 0-0)
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 2, Noon ET
  • Where: UB Stadium in Buffalo, N.Y.
  • TV: CBS Sports Network
  • Online livestream: CBS Sports App
  • Radio: Bronco Radio Network

WMU locks up San Jose State

After getting a 44-41 shootout win at Pitt two weeks ago, Western turned to its defense last week in a 23-3 win over San Jose State at home.

It was a dominant showing for the Broncos, who held the Spartans to just 119 total yards and only 59 passing yards. The unit also created three turnovers, had eight sacks and 10 tackles for loss.

The WMU offense didn’t have to be anything more than efficient. And it was. Kaleb Eleby threw for 200 yards and two scores on 17 of 28 passing. Through four games, Eleby has yet to throw an interception while recording seven touchdowns and 902 passing yards.

Western’s ground attack had 147 yards on 43 carries against SJSU. Sean Taylor and La’Darius Jefferson each led the way with 12 carries apiece. They have been pretty well split down the middle in the backfield. Tyler has 282 yards on the season, while Jefferson has 274.

Title implications in MAC football opener

Although this is the first MAC game for both teams, it looks like it will have a big impact on the season race.

According to BetMGM, the Broncos and Bulls are among the MAC favorites right now.

Western Michigan is currently listed at +600 to win the title, while Buffalo is at +700.

Toledo finds itself as the favorite at +200, while Ball State and Kent State are each at +400.

Toledo already owns a 22-12 win over Ball State this season.

The Broncos and Bulls have each won the MAC title once since the conference started holding a championship game. WMU won in 2016, while Buffalo won in 2008. Both teams have also lost the title game twice.

Buffalo edges Old Dominion

It’s been a thrilling few weeks for Buffalo.

The Bulls were edged at home by Coastal Carolina two weeks ago, 28-25. They followed with a 35-34 road win over Old Dominion last week.

Buffalo actually led 35-7 at halftime, and saw ODU get within a PAT of tying the game. However, the Monarchs missed the tying extra point with 19 seconds on the clock.

Buffalo was outgained 433-297 in the win. The Bulls gave up 209 rushing yards to ODU. The highlights for the defense were five sacks and three turnovers created. That included a blocked kick for a score and a fumble return for a score.

Offensively, Kyle Vantrease threw for 191 yards and a touchdown on 17 of 26 passing. On the year, he has 792 yards and two scores with one interception.

Buffalo has three steady options in the backfield, as Kevin Marks Jr., Dylan McDuffie and Ron Cook Jr. have combined for 672 rushing yards and eight scores.

The Bulls will be tested by this WMU defense. The Broncos rank 33rd nationally in total defense (304.3 ypg) and 32nd in passing defense (179.8 ypg).

Photo by Keith Srakocic/AP
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis has lived in Michigan his whole life, and has been writing professionally for the last 21 years. Ellis has covered anything from youth baseball in mid-Michigan, a top-25 college football program, and pro sports in the Detroit area. Always keeping busy, Ellis also has over 10 years of experience in covering sports betting, handling all major sports.

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