NCAA Football Game Preview: Bowling Green at Ohio

Nov 22, 2022

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Game: Bowling Green Falcons @ Ohio Bobcats

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Odds: Falcons +7, Bobcats -7

Total: 55

The East Division-leading Ohio Bobcats (8-3 SU, 8-3 ATS) play the Bowling Green Falcons (6-5, 4-6-1) in the final regular-season game for a spot in the MAC championship game. In conference play this year, Ohio has won all seven of its games, and in its last five meetings with Bowling Green, it is 4-1 ATS.

Due to the questionable health of Bobcats quarterback Kurtis Rourke, sportsbooks lowered Ohio’s opening line from an 11-point favorite to -7. If it becomes known that Rourke will play, the line and the total will likely increase before closing.

Bowling Green recently put on one of their season’s best offensive displays, scoring 42 points in a seven-point victory at Toledo. Odieu Hilaire exploded for 246 receiving yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Matt McDonald threw for a career-high 395 yards. McDonald tossed the game-winner to running back Ta’ron Keith in the final minute of the game.

The 42 points were a welcome sight for Bowling Green’s offense, which had been held to 17 points or fewer in four of its previous five games. However, the Falcons’ defense struggled for the second straight week. In its last two games, Bowling Green has given up 75 points. In their last five road games, the Falcons have gone OVER the total five times.

It was unclear on Sunday night whether Rourke would be fit enough to play this week for the Bobcats. Rourke, one of the country’s top passers this year, injured his knee late in the second quarter of last week’s 32-18 victory over Ball State and was forced to miss the entire second half.

Ohio relied heavily on the running of Sieh Bangura, who amassed a career-high 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns while serving as the backup quarterback for the remainder of the game. For the third time in its last five games, the Bobcats’ defense allowed less than 20 points, continuing their excellent performance this season.

Ohio has gone 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS in MAC games this year. The Bobcats’ lone SU loss came at Kent State in overtime as a 13-point underdog. The last six victories for the Bobcats have all been decided by seven points or more, and in five of them the difference was at least two touchdowns.

Bowling Green’s offense has recently performed significantly better on the road. The Falcons have scored at least 31 points in each of its last three away games. For an Ohio defense that allows more than 312 passing yards per game, the Falcons’ McDonald and Hilaire will present a challenge.

The Bobcats’ success hinges greatly on the health of its star quarterback, Rourke. Going into last weekend, Rourke was fifth in the country in passing yards. If Rourke doesn’t play, expect Ohio to rely heavily on its running game. That will affect the total in this game as well.

The total has gone Over in 12 of Bowling Green’s last 18 games. The Under is 4-1 in the last five Falcons-Bobcats games played at Ohio. The Over is 9-3 in Ohio’s last 12 Tuesday games.

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