Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Ball State Cardinals Preview and Pick – Point Spread – Betting Odds

Central Michigan Chippewas (8-2 SU, 7-2 ATS) vs. Ball State
Cardinals (1-9 SU, 5-5 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, November 18,
2009, Ball State Stadium, Muncie, Ind., TV: ESPN2

by Badger of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Central Michigan -16.5/Ball State +16.5
Over/Under: N/A

The Central Michigan Chippewas can clinch at least a share of the Mid-
American Conference (MAC) West Division in primetime on ESPN2
Wednesday night when they travel to Ball State Stadium in Muncie,
Indiana, for a date with the 1-9 Cardinals.

One week after Boston College snapped their seven-game win streak,
the Chippewas got things back on track last weekend with a 56-28
victory over Toledo when senior quarterback Dan LeFevour was involved
in six of the teams eight touchdowns. The victory kept them a
perfect 6-0 in the MAC West, and with their season finale against 2nd-
place Northern Illinois next week, the Chippewas can control the
stakes for that game with a win on the road Wednesday.

Ball State has played better football of late, including last weeks
26-20 loss on the road at Northern Illinois as 16.5-point underdogs.
The problem is that the Cardinals are still 1-9 to show for it all,
but all of those losses could be forgotten quickly if the Cards were
able to pull the upset in front of the home crowd and the nation on
cable television.

If the Cardinals were to pull off the upset it would be a stunner,
since the folks in Las Vegas listed the Chippewas as large 17-point
favorites when they opened the line earlier in the week. Since then
there are a few offshore sportsbooks that have dropped the point
spread to Central Michigan minus -16, but virtually every other book
is currently right in the middle at 16.5.

The over/under total has yet to be released.

The play of LeFevour has once again vaulted the Central Michigan
offense to the top of the charts in multiple categories, which is
exactly what youd expect when the QB leads the team in rushing (568
yards, 13 TD) as well as passing (70 comp. %, 2,189 yards, 18TD-5INT)
as the captain of the Chippewas potent spread attack.

LeFevour is supported with nice weapons, especially duel-threat
running back Antonio Brown who leads the team with 69 receptions and
734 yards and eight touchdowns. Bryan Anderson averages over 13 yards
per catch (13.2) as the primary target on the perimeter, but its no
secret this offense is and always has been all about the NFL-prospect

Ball State has had issues on offense, but they are also on their
second quarterback since starter Kelly Page injured his hand and is
done for the season, giving way to Tanner Justice. Justice has thrown
more picks (3) than touchdowns (2), but he has gotten better each
week since he started in the Cardinals only victory of the season
against Eastern Michigan.

The Cardinals offense relies on the running game to make things easy for Justice, and with MiQuale Lewis (5.2), Cory Sykes (6.3) and Eric Williams (5.8) all averaging over five yards per carry, it has had good success in recent games.

But offense isnt Ball States main problem. Their problem, and the
Chippewas problem for that matter too, is that they dont play
defense. Neither team does.

Both teams give up large chunks of yardage each week (C.Mich. 340.9
ypg; Ball St. 366.5 ypg), with Central Michigans front seven being
one of the better run defenses in the MAC (119.1 ypg) allowing just
18 points per game. Ball States secondary has given up too many big
plays over the course of the season, which accounts for their high
28.6 points allowed per game average.

Last year when Ball State had Nate Davis at quarterback the Cardinals
were able to outduel the Chippewas on the road, 31-24, as Davis threw
for four touchdowns. The Cardinals covered as 6-point road favorites,
something LeFevour and the Chippewas would like to return the favor
on this year in Muncie.

History leans toward Central Michigan in this matchup too, since prior to the Davis show in last years game, the Chippewas owned the
series with four straight wins (4-0 SU) and three straight covers
(3-1 ATS). Both games in Muncie during the 4-game streak went over
the total, including a large 68-point total back in 2007.

Central Michigan is 5-1 ATS in the last six time theyve played at
Ball State Stadium and they slapped 58 points on them last time they
met in Muncie (a 58-38 win), when LeFevour threw for 360 yards and
five scores and added 146 yards on the ground and a touchdown scamper
to boot.

Badgers Pick: Central Michigan has been covering well this year (7-2 ATS), including some big points spreads (17.5 vs. Toledo, 16 vs.
Akron, 23.5 vs. E. Mich., 9.5 vs. Bowling Green), so dont let the
big number scare you away from the better team. If the total opens
below 63 Id jump at the over, otherwise Id play the Chippewas at
minus -16.5-points.