The chances of Central Michigan winning the MAC may have been dashed, but the Chippewas can become bowl eligible with a win tonight so look for at least a fast start at Kent State.
While the MAC Championship is now most likely out of the question after a loss last week, the Central Michigan Chippewas (5-5, 8-2 ATS) can lock up a bowl bid Wednesday night and at the very least we are anticipating a fast start when they pay a visit to the lowly Kent State Golden Flashes (3-7, 3-7 ATS) at Dix Stadium in Kent, OH at 8:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.
The first half point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Central Michigan as a road favorite for this contest with the current line at -6½ with odds of -110.
Technically Still Alive in West
Technically, Central Michigan is still alive for the West Division title and a berth in the MAC Championship Game vs. the Eastern Division Champions from Bowling Green that comes with it, but the Chippewas chances of winning the division are now extremely slim after a hard fought 28-23 loss to once beaten Toledo last week left the Chips at 4-2 inside the MAC West with Toledo (6-1), Northern Illinois (5-1) and Western Michigan (5-1) all ahead of them.
The only reason Central Michigan is not mathematically eliminated is because it was the team that handed Northern Illinois its only MAC loss of the year, but in all likelihood the Chippewas are playing for a bowl other than in the GoDaddy Bowl, which is where the MAC Champion is going to take on the Sun Belt Champion.
Kent State has no such bowl aspirations as the losing college football picks seven times already this season, so the Golden Flashes are just playing out the string, and might we add not very well as they have now lost three straight games by an average of -25.3 points following a 27-0 skunking at the hands of the Ohio Bobcats last week.
One of Better Bets in the Country
The Chippewas just missed covering the point spread in that home loss to Toledo last week as four-point underdogs and they would have covered had they converted their two-point conversion attempt following their last touchdown in the final minute. Nonetheless, that marked just the second ATS loss for Central Michigan all year, making them one of the better bets in the nation at 8-2 ATS including covering vs. the likes of Oklahoma State and Michigan State!
Truth be told, we like the Chippewas to win this game in a rout, but we have a policy of almost never giving double-digits in any game in any sport, which is why we are opting for this first-half line instead especially at under a touchdown. After all, Central Michigan will gladly accept a bid to any bowl and they could get an even better bid by winning the last two games to finish at 7-5, with the MAC having automatic tie-ins to four other bowls besides the GoDaddy.
CMU has one of the better defenses in the MAC, in fact ranking 20th in the entire country in total defense allowing just 335.2 yards per game while ranking 32nd in passing defense, 35th in rushing defense and allowing only 22.3 points per game. Granted the offense is one dimensional ranking 19th in passing offense at a robust 393.7 passing yards while averaging only 91.7 yards rushing, but that style should suit the Chippewas just fine here.
How Will Kent Generate Offense?
We have already alluded to Kent State seemingly just going through the motions while lacking competitiveness in recent weeks, and it all starts with a severe lack of offense with the Golden Flashes ranking dead last among the 128 FBS schools with their 14.3 points per game while ranking 126th in total offense at 286.7 yards per contest! With that in mind, how are the Flashes supposed to generate anything against perhaps the best defense in the MAC?
And the fact that Central Michigan has a quick-strike passing offense gives us even more confidence in making this first-half play as that offensive style is the best for such wagers. Of course, knowing that there is not much that Kent State can do in response without the help of a fluky turnover or two is certainly an added bonus.
No Problems on the Road
Finally, Central Michigan apparently has no issues with travelling as it has gone 13-3 ATS in its last 16 road games. Meanwhile, the reeling Golden Flashes of Kent State are a dismal 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall.
Yes, those are full-game trends and we do lean on Central Michigan to cover this game as well, but our official recommendation is to give the seemingly reasonable 6½ points over the first half when the Chippewas visit Kent on Wednesday.
College Football Pick: Central Michigan -6½ (-110) (First Half)