Expect Low-Scoring Game Between Rivals Central Michigan & Western Michigan

central michigan western  michigan

Rainman M.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 1:03 PM GMT

Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 1:03 PM GMT

Western Michigan (5-3) battles with rival Central Michigan (4-4) for the Victory Cannon on Wednesday at 8:00 PM ET in MACtion. The visiting Chips are underdogs of 6.5-7 points. The game total is set at 51.5.

Free NCAAF Pick: Under 51.5Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Central Michigan Chippewas at Western Michigan Broncos

Fans love to associate Mid-American Conference games with high scores. This Wednesday matchup warrants a contrarian approach.

Western Michigan is a run-first team. On the season, it has almost twice as many rush attempts as passes thrown. Against Central Michigan, the Broncos will lean all the more heavily on the run because their starting quarterback, Jon Wassink, is injured. In his place, freshman Reece Goddard will make his first start. He has thrown 3 passes for 12 yards.

The Broncos' inability to achieve passing yards has critical betting significance. This season, the 'over' is 3-0 in WMU games when it passes for more than 210 yards. However, the 'under' is 3-1 when WMU passes for less than 210. This trend withstands the counterpoint that 'over' backers may try to make, that the 'over' is 4-2 in the last 6 games between these two teams.  The 2 'unders' happened when WMU passed for less than 210. The 4 'overs' occurred when the Broncos passed for more than 210.

Jarvion Franklin and Jamauri Bogan lead the Broncos in the backfield since the previous co-starter, KeVante Bellamy, is injured. Franklin is a powerful downhill runner who excels at running through contact. Bogan is a smaller, but more agile back. Both backs should help WMU move the chains against a Central Michigan team that ranks 84th in allowing 4.7 yards per rush. Teams have consistently identified the rush defense as Central Michigan's main weakness: the Chippewas rank 107th in allowing 44 rush attempts per game.

Central Michigan, led by quarterback Shane Morris, is a pass-first team. Morris' numbers are vastly inflated. He boasts a 16:11 touchdown to interception ratio. However, 9 of those touchdowns came against Kansas and Ball State, respectively. Both teams rank in the bottom 11 in terms of opposing QB rating allowed.

New defensive coordinator Tim Daoust is enabling his Western Michigan defense to thrive with an attacking 4-3 system that forces the opposing quarterback to wait until the play has begun in order to read the defense. The Broncos have a battle-tested secondary that held USC's Sam Darnold to his second-worst performance on the season, in terms of QBR, and limited Michigan State's Brian Lewerke to 161 pass yards on 21 attempts.

Experience matters for pass defense. Upperclassmen cornerbacks Darius Phillips and Sam Beal continue to lead a Broncos secondary that is returning almost everyone of note from last year, with that duo having combined 13 passes defensed and 4 interceptions. The Chippewas will rely on Morris to produce for them, but the senior quarterback with little game experience will be uncomfortable and ineffective against Daoust's aggressive scheme.

 

The Verdict

WMU can grind out long drives with its run-first offense against CMU's poor rush defense. CMU's source of offense will be limited against Daoust's uncanny defensive style and his experienced secondary. Expect a low-scoring MAC game on our NCAAF Picks.

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