Free NCAA Football Pick: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky

Jeff Grant

Monday, December 15, 2014 8:05 PM GMT

The Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl features two teams with contrasting styles, but we bet Western Kentucky’s high-octane offense will lead to a high-scoring game against Central Michigan.

Strong Numbers
Central Michigan led the Mid-American Conference and ranked 16th nationally in total defense, which is important to consider when looking over the College Football odds, as it was equally effective in occupying the top spot against the run and pass.

The Chippewas benefited greatly by playing a schedule that featured just a couple quality offenses, as they allowed 543 yards in a 42-28 setback to the Toledo Rockets on Sept. 27—arguably the best unit they faced all year.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the squad is 3-1 SUATS when playing with two or more weeks of rest, with the OVER cashing in three of those four opportunities.

 

Potential Letdown
Western Kentucky earned one of the biggest wins in school history last time out, which can’t be ignored when making your College Football picks, as it came away with a 67-66 overtime victory over Marshall as 23.5-point road underdogs on Nov. 28.

The Hilltoppers may be overvalued in the marketplace due to gaining a school-record 738 total yards in that affair, but they’ve managed to establish 42 team and individual records this year.

It’s important to point out that this program is a dismal 5-6 SU and 4-7 ATS versus teams with a winning record since the start of the 2012 campaign.

 

Key Players
The Chippewas have the ability to match the Hilltoppers offensively if this game becomes a shootout, especially if running back Thomas Rawls (probable) is able to move past a leg injury, as he’s gained 1,103 rushing yards despite missing almost four entire games.

Central Michigan also has a top perimeter target in wide receiver Titus Davis, who has also missed three games because of injury, but he’s the only player in FBS history to register at least eight touchdown catches in each of his four seasons.

 

Fire Starter
The Hilltoppers have the ability to set off a lot of fireworks offensively under first-year head coach Jeff Brohm, as he’s made Brandon Doughty one of the best quarterbacks in the country.

The redshirt senior has thrown for 4,344 yards and 44 touchdowns this season—leading all FBS players in those statistical categories.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their top Bowl Championship Series picks, as these two teams have combined to go OVER the total in five of six games with a betting line of +3 to -3 this season.

Free College Football Pick:  Over 66 at Pinnacle