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MAC Football: Examining Over/Under Win Totals for the 2022 Season

Rocky Lombardi, Northern Illinois Huskies Football

Oddsmakers are expecting defending MAC champion Northern Illinois to take several steps back this season despite the fact the Huskies return quarterback Rocky Lombardi and 16 other starters.

Honestly, this is always one of my favorite conferences to preview from a win total standpoint, and last year I nailed the MAC as Kent State won the East before falling to Northern Illinois in the title game. This year, the defending champion Huskies will remain in the mix in the West with Toledo while the Golden Flashes will compete with Miami (Ohio) in the other division.

Related: MAC Football 2022 Predictions

Thank this conference for giving fans football on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during November and December. Everyone loves some MACtion. Let's see if there's any value in the win total numbers.

(Win totals courtesy of Draftkings)

MAC East

Akron (Over 2.5 +110...Under 2.5 -130)

Non-Conference Games: Saint Francis (Pa.), at Michigan State, at Tennessee, at Liberty
Schedule Notes: This is a brutal slate for the Zips, who have three straight on the road after an FCS opponent. Not only that, but they have to go to Kent State, Buffalo, and defending MAC champ Northern Illinois.
QB: DJ Irons
Roster Notes: A lot is back from last year, although that team went 2-10. Irons was solid at QB in 2021 but the team needs more. It doesn't help that wide receiver Konata Mumpfield transferred to Pitt and Michael Mathison graduated. The O-line gave up the most sacks in the nation so this group must improve. The defense also brings back plenty of starting experience, but the overall stats were pretty ugly last year. The team's top seven tacklers return, including linebackers Jesload Boateng and Bubba Arslanian.

Prediction: Lean to the under.

Bowling Green (Over 3.5 -150...Under 3.5 +130)

Non-Conference Games: at UCLA, EKU, Marshall, at Mississippi State
Schedule Notes: The Falcons have a couple of non-conference home games, but Marshall won't be easy. Bowling Green has four of five at home in early October, although Western Michigan and Kent State are in that stretch. The Falcons close out with road matchups at Toledo and Ohio.
QB: Matt McDonald
Roster Notes: The Falcons' defense was a surprise last year, finishing fourth in the MAC in total defense and No. 1 in pass defense. But two key pieces of the secondary are gone in Sy Dabney and Devin Taylor. The rest of the front seven returns, so that's a good foundation to build around. The issues are on offense where McDonald (12 TD passes) needs to put up bigger numbers. Every player who caught at least one pass in 2021 is back.

Prediction: Don't love it, but there's value on the under at that price.

Buffalo (Over 5.5 -110...Under 5.5 -110)

Non-Conference Games: at Maryland, Holy Cross, at Coastal Carolina, at UMass
Schedule Notes: The Bulls have six of their first nine on the road, including all four MAC contests. Buffalo gets to host Toledo and Kent State but has road trips to Ohio and Central Michigan.
QB: Matt Myers
Roster Notes: Myers has seemingly been in school forever and should be starting once again. The run game has to be fixed with Dylan McDuffie going to Georgia Tech and Kevin Marks leaving after a disappointing year. The O-line has solid bookend tackles but is young on the interior. The defense should be very good with James Patterson returning. The linebacker had 116 tackles in 2021 and the D-line is going to get plenty of pressure on the QB.

Prediction: I like the under here.

Kent State (Over 5 -145...Under 5 +125)

Non-Conference Games: at Washington, at Oklahoma, LIU, at Georgia
Schedule Notes: Whoever makes these non-conference slates better enjoy the paychecks because the Golden Flashes have another set of tough opponents. They also have to travel to fellow MAC contenders Miami (Ohio) and Toledo in back-to-back weeks in October.
QB: Collin Schlee
Roster Notes: Flash Fast has a new trigger man as Schlee takes over for Dustin Crum. Dante Cephas and Ja'Shaun Poke are back at wide receiver along with Devontez Walker, who had only five receptions in 2021. The ground game should be decent if an almost completely retooled offensive line is any good. Plenty of starting experience returns on defense, but this unit was rather awful last year.

Prediction: Agree with the money move but not taking over at this price.

Miami (Ohio) (Over 6.5 -135...Under 6.5 +115)

Non-Conference Games: at Kentucky, Robert Morris, Cincinnati, at Northwestern
Schedule Notes: The RedHawks have just two true home games over the first six weeks of the season. The Northwestern tilt is a winnable one for this veteran team. They never get two straight home games and have one tough MAC road game (at Northern Illinois) in November. It's a part of a closing stretch with Ohio and Ball State at home.
QB: Brett Gabbert
Roster Notes: Gabbert may be the best QB in the MAC, and he showed it last year with 26 touchdowns vs. just six interceptions. Gabbert has four of his top five receivers back, led by Mac Hippenhammer and Jalen Walker. The running back group is intact as well as a very good and deep offensive line. There are some question marks on defense, especially up front where a ton of sacks disappeared. The secondary is really young and could be all freshmen and sophomores.

Prediction: Agree with the over here too.

Ohio (Over 5.5 -110...Under 5.5 -110)

Non-Conference Games: Florida Atlantic, at Penn State, at Iowa State, Fordham
Schedule Notes: Two tough Power 5 road trips come early for the Bobcats. Luckily, they are sandwiched around a pair of potential home victories. In MAC play, they get Northern Illinois at home but Miami (Ohio) and Kent State on the road.
QB: Kurtis Rourke
Roster Notes: The offense was brutal for the most part in 2021 outside of a few solid performances. Rourke is the starter, but UCF transfer Parker Navarro could be a threat. O'Shaan Allison has to replace De'Montre Tuggle in the backfield, while Tyler Walton leads the wide receiving corps along with Rice transfer August Pitre III. The defense has nine starters back, but this unit gave up 431 yards per game last season. Bryce Houston and Cannon Blauser are a solid duo at linebacker.

Prediction: Solid number, as I had 5-6 wins.

MAC West

Ball State (Over 5.5 +130...Under 5.5 -150)

Non-Conference Games: at Tennessee, Murray State, at Georgia Southern, UConn
Schedule Notes: It's an interesting mix of non-conference games, as things start out really hard in Rocky Top. Five of the next seven are at home, with Northern Illinois in that mix. November is a beast, though, with three of four on the road including trips to Kent State and Toledo.
QB: John Paddock
Roster Notes: Paddock is taking over for three-year starter Drew Plitt. Outside of losing Justin Hall, a lot of the skill position players are back. Yo'Heinz Tyler and Jayshon Jackson lead the way at wide receiver, while Carson Steele and Will Jones are in the backfield. Tavion Woodward leads the defensive line after recording five sacks in 2021, with cornerback Amechi Uzodinma II anchoring the secondary. The Cardinals had a middle-of-the-road defense last season, so improvement will be needed.

Prediction: Agree with the money move, but not taking it at -150.

Central Michigan (Over 7.5 -120...Under 7.5 +100)

Non-Conference Games: at Oklahoma State, South Alabama, Bucknell, at Penn State
Schedule Notes: It's a big start to the year with a road trip to Big 12 country. It's part of a tough opening stretch that also features road trips to Happy Valley and Toledo. The Chippewas also go to Northern Illinois but get a relatively easy home slate in MAC play.
QB: Daniel Richardson
Roster Notes: There's a big three in place on offense as Richardson, running back Lew Nichols III, and wide receiver Dallas Dixon all return. Nichols led the nation in rushing (1,848 yards) with 16 touchdowns on the ground to supplement Richardson's work through the air. The problems reside on defense outside of a D-line that returns almost everyone. The linebackers and secondary are really young, so coordinator Robb Akey has his work cut out for him.

Prediction: Solid number with a slight lean to the under.

Eastern Michigan (Over 6.5 +135...Under 6.5 -160)

Non-Conference Games: EKU, at Louisiana, at Arizona State, UMass
Schedule Notes: Three of the first five are at home, but those are some tough road trips. Getting, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan and Toledo at home helps, but playing at Kent State and Western Michigan isn't great.
QB: Troy transfer Taylor Powell
Roster Notes: This is most likely Powell's job with Ben Bryant and Preston Hutchinson departing for other programs. Powell had seven TD passes vs. six interceptions with the Trojans. He's got his skill position players back led by Hassan Beydoun, Dylan Drummond and Tanner Knue. The offensive line should be very good blocking for a solid backfield. The D has to be better and the hope is that some transfers will improve things. Leading tackler Tariq Speights is back at linebacker.

Prediction: Agreed on the under but not at this price.

Northern Illinois (Over 6.5 -150...Under 6.5 +130)

Non-Conference Games: Eastern Illinois, at Tulsa, Vanderbilt, at Kentucky
Schedule Notes: It's an interesting array of non-conference games as a Power 5 school comes to DeKalb on Sept. 17. None of the four contests are a guaranteed loss either. Five of the Huskies' first eight are on the road, so if they can survive that, then the payoff comes later. The defending MAC champs close things out with three of four at home, although two of the opponents are coming off their bye week.
QB: Rocky Lombardi
Roster Notes: Thomas Hammock returns a bevy of starters on both sides of the ball, so this team should be a threat to repeat as MAC champion. Lombardi was efficient (15 TDs, 8 INTs) as a passer while adding value as a runner. NIU's strength was running the ball, and even though leading rusher Jevyon Ducker transferred to Memphis, the cupboard isn't bare. Harrison Waylee and Antario Brown are both back. The wide receiver group is really strong and added FIU transfer Shemar Thornton to the fold. The defense wasn't great last year, but the hope is another year for a large group of experienced players will result in improvement.

Prediction: Love the over. Favorite bet in the MAC. Shop around though.

Toledo (Over 8 -110...Under 8 -110)

Non-Conference Games: LIU, UMass, at Ohio State, at San Diego State
Schedule Notes: You can't get much easier of a start for Toledo, but things ramp up after that rather quickly and in a big way. The Rockets host Kent State and Ball State while traveling to Northern Illinois and Western Michigan.
QB: Dequan Finn
Roster Notes: The Rockets return a bevy of starters on both sides of the ball. Finn had a very efficient year in 2021 with 18 touchdown passes and just two interceptions. He's back, but five of the top six receivers from last season have departed. That puts a lot of pressure on Devin Maddox, who had 567 receiving yards last season. Maryland transfer Peny Boone leads the way at RB. The D-line should be really strong with Jamal Hines back, while the linebackers were bolstered by the addition of Ohio State transfer Dallas Gant.

Prediction: Solid number.

Western Michigan (Over 6.5 +125...Under 6.5 -145)

Non-Conference Games: at Michigan State, Pitt, at San Jose State, New Hampshire
Schedule Notes: Three of the first four are on the road, with the lone home game being against an ACC team that's looking for revenge. After that, it's three straight at home with three of the final five on the road again. Northern Illinois and Toledo both come to Kalamazoo in November.
QB Battle: Jack Salopek vs. Mareyohn Hrabowski vs. Alabama transfer Stone Hollenbach
Roster Notes: The ground game will have to be strong with a new QB under center and explosive wide receiver Skyy Moore in the NFL. Four of the top five receivers are gone, with Jaylen Hall and Anthony Torres transferring elsewhere. Good thing Sean Tyler and La'Darius Jefferson are back after accounting for a combined 1,986 rushing yards. The defense returns talent on every level, while the secondary will likely feature several transfers.

Prediction: Yep, the under is the way to go. 

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.