|Western Michigan Odds||-1 (-105) [BET NOW]|
|Central Michigan Odds||+1 (-115) [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-110 / -110 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||59 (-105 / -115) [BET NOW]|
|Time||Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET|
Western Michigan Broncos
There may not be enough words to put into context how Western Michigan’s game against Toledo summarized everything that MACtion stands for.
The Broncos never led until the 17-second mark in the fourth quarter when quarterback Kaleb Eleby threw the game-winning touchdown on a fake spike. The game featured a Toledo kickoff from the Western Michigan 35-yard line, 20 penalties, and the MACtion referee crew made questionable decisions.
There were plenty of positives from Western Michigan in the advanced box score. The Broncos defense posted 10 tackles for loss and held Toledo to an average third-down distance of 9.3 yards. The offense posted explosive drives in 33% of its possessions, which is a significantly higher rate than the national average of 13%.
Western Michigan tops the list of the most explosive passing attacks in the nation per expected points. Kaleb Eleby has completed more 50-yard passes than 70% of other offenses in FBS after just two games.
Central Michigan Chippewas
The Chippewas defense did its part in a blowout victory over Northern Illinois.
That same Huskies offense put up nearly 400 yards of offense against Buffalo in its MAC conference-opener. Yet, Central Michigan stuffed Northern Illinois on 15 out of 32 Huskies rush attempts and held NIU to zero explosive drives.
Central Michigan has a top-20 Defensive Success Rate rank and sits in the top 25 in Finishing Drives and coverage grade per Pro Football Focus. Through 125 defensive snaps, no player on the Central Michigan defense has recorded more than two missed tackles.
The bigger question heading into the season was at quarterback: David Moore was initially suspended for substance abuse. Freshman Daniel Richardson has filled in admirably with 439 yards passing and a 3:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. There has been no drop off in adjusted completion percentage when Richardson has faced pressure.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The biggest hurdle to the MAC West division title comes in this game between the Chippewas and Broncos.
Defeating Western Michigan would grant CMU the inside track through tiebreakers to compete for the conference title. For the Chips, Toledo and Ball State come at the end of the shortened season.
The handicap of this game comes in two parts: Can the Central Michigan defense slow down the Broncos’ explosiveness, and will Richardson find continued success under center for the Chippewas?
The Central Michigan defense must bring stellar play from its linebackers and secondary, and its coverage grade needs to put a speed bump in the road against the Western Michigan offense. Head coach Jim McElwain’s defense has been one of the best in third-down situations, allowing opponents only six conversions in 26 attempts.
Broncos wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge will be the primary target for Central Michigan. The explosive playmaker averages 24.6 yards per catch and has accumulated 131 yards after the catch. The Chips field three of the highest-graded safeties per PFF, and have held opposing quarterbacks to less than a 50% completion rate when targeted.
A large difference in these defenses is tackling. Western Michigan ranks outside the top 100 with five players who have three or more missed tackles. Defensive backs Patrick Lupro and Harrison Taylor have combined for 12 missed tackles, and they’re going against a Central Michigan passing attack that is top-five in passing expected points. Richardson should be well protected in coverage, but the run game will be a big factor against a Broncos trench that has been pushed around by Toledo and Akron.
Central Michigan will be able to limit the Broncos’ explosiveness while continuing to be the best third-down defense in the conference. Look for the Chips to do enough in the rushing attack to set up explosive passes later in the game. As for the market, plenty of Western Michigan steam is expected. Find the cheapest moneyline price on the Chippewas and enjoy another night of MACtion.
Pick: Central Michigan -130 or better