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Miami (OH) Red Hawks O/U 6.5 Wins
Last season, Miami of Ohio finished 7-6 on the year, 6-6 in the regular-season.
This Red Hawks squad caught my attention because 1. the offense brought the MACaction last year 2. they have arguably the best QB in the conference and 3. they beat my beloved North Texas squad 27-14 in the Frisco Football Classic Bowl Game.
Miami returns its most important player, quarterback Brett Gabbert, brother of current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The Red Hawks quarterback tossed 26 touchdowns to six interceptions along with 2,648 yards last season.
In 26 career games Gabbert has thrown 41 touchdowns (45 total) to 14 interceptions. Miami played in two straight bowl games with Gabbert and tossed a combined 478 passing yards and two touchdowns to no interceptions with a 71% competition percentage.
The Red Hawks return nine starters on offense from a squad that averaged 28.9 points per game (PPG) and should improve a few PPG. On defense, Miami returns five starters from a team that allowed 23.0 PPG, the lowest of the Chuck Martin era (since 2011).
The defense will decline a bit based on how good they were last season and the talent lost, but the offense will keep Miami competitive with every team in the MAC. Miami is ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll for the East Division of the MAC and received five of the 24 votes to be the MAC champion (third-most).
While looking over the 2022 Miami schedule, it should be worth noting that the Red Hawks have a 14-game winning streak going at home. Miami is 10-4 ATS during that 14-game home winning streak.
The Red Hawks failed to cover all four games as a -20 or heavier favorite but is 10-0 ATS in that stretch when they were a favorite of -17 down to an underdog.
This season, Miami faces Robert Morris, Kent State, Western Michigan, Ohio and Ball State at home. Surely, they could drop one of those games, but if they keep their home winning streak alive another season, we have a no-doubt winner.
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Miami normally has to win at home because they are historically awful on the road. The Red Hawks were 1-6 last season away from home and are currently 13-33 in the Martin era on the road. If Miami wins three road games this year, that would tie a team-high during the Martin era -- and I think they can do it.
The road schedule this year provides plenty of winnable spots versus Northwestern, Buffalo, Bowling Green, Akron and Northern Illinois -- most notably Akron and Bowling Green.
While the non-conference road opener at Kentucky and neutral field matchup versus Cincinnati are challenging and highlight the schedule, this Miami offense will be able to hang 30-plus points in almost every MAC game.
Coming off a 7-6 season, I like the chances Miami can win seven or more games once again with a few road wins. I have Miami going 7-5 at the worst but like the chances at an 8-4 or better season, not including a bowl game.
I played the Over 6.5 Wins at -135 odds for Miami (OH) and expect the Red Hawks to fly high and represent one side of the MAC in the Conference Championship game. I sprinkled Miami to win the MAC for +450 odds too.
Pick: Miami (OH) Over 6.5 Wins (2u), Miami to win the MAC (0.25u)
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