Central Michigan Chippewas (7-1 SU, 6-1 ATS) vs. Boston College Eagles (5-3 SU, 5-2 ATS), 3:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, October 31, 2009, Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass. TV: ESPNU
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Central Michigan +5.5/Boston College -5.5
Central Michigan has proved to be an elite team in the MAC, as the Chippewas are 7-1 overall and a perfect 5-0 in conference play. It’s clear that they are dominant in the MAC, but now they will try to prove they can have similar success against a solid BCS opponent in Boston College.
The Chippewas opened their season with a 19-6 loss at Arizona, but they have won seven games in a row since then, including a 29-27 win at Michigan State. Six of their seven wins have been by double digits.
The key to Central Michigan’s offense is quarterback Dan LeFevour, who has thrown for 1,696 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions with a 70 percent completion percentage. LeFevour has also rushed for 522 yards and nine touchdowns with a 4.7 yards-per-carry average. LeFevour’s 25 total touchdowns are the most among every single college football player in the country. LeFevour’s main targets through the passing game are Antonio Brown, Bryan Anderson and Kito Poblah. Brown leads the way with 48 receptions for 544 yards and seven touchdowns. Brown is also second on the team in rushing behind LeFevour with 275 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He averages 10.2 yards per carry.
Boston College is undefeated at home this season with wins over Northeastern, Kent State, Wake Forest, Florida State and North Carolina State. The Eagles’ three losses - to Clemson, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame - were all on the road. Their season as been quite simple - a home game is a win and a road game is a loss. The Eagles almost got their first road win on Saturday at Notre Dame. But the Irish got a late touchdown pass from Jimmy Clausen for a comeback victory. BC played solid defense and held the Irish to two field goals until late in the first half. The Eagles moved the ball decently on offense, but they couldn’t move the ball when they had to late in the game. BC quarterback Dave Shinskie was 17-for-35 passing for 279 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. It wasn’t the performance the Eagles needed to win the game. If Shinskie performs similarly this weekend, Central Michigan will likely get the win. Against Notre Dame, the Eagles had five turnovers and didn’t force any turnovers at all. Losing the turnover battle 5-0 won’t win many games.
In the 58-20 win over North Carolina State, the turnover situation was the opposite. BC forced three turnovers and had zero turnovers. BC running back Montel Harris ran for 264 yards and five touchdowns. He absolutely dominated the Wolfpack. In the win over Florida State, Harris ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score.
Harris is the key for the Eagles. He has to have a good game for them to win. Shinskie won’t win games by himself, but he can lose them. When he doesn’t turn the ball over and is able to complete over 50 percent of his passes, the Eagles are successful. And for that to happen, Harris has to run well to make it easier for Shinskie to throw the ball.
Both teams have been similar on defense. Both teams are averaging about 216 passing yards allowed per game. Central Michigan is allowing 113.8 rushing yards per game, while BC is giving up 115.8 per game.
BC is 4-0 ATS at home this season and 3-0 ATS as a favorite. Central Michigan is 4-1 ATS on the road and 2-0 ATS as an underdog. The total has gone over in four of BC’s last five games. Central Michigan is playing its third straight road game after winning ATS and SU the last two weeks. Teams that have won SU and ATS on the road in two straight games and are playing a third straight game on the road and are an underdog are 14-8-1 ATS but are 6-14-3 SU. No team in that situation that was an underdog between 3-21 points has won ATS without winning SU in the last 20 years.
Ryno’s Pick: Given the above information, past history shows it will be difficult for Central Michigan to win a third straight road game when facing a tough opponent like Boston College. It’s tough to bet against the Eagles in Chestnut Hill when they are undefeated at home and winless on the road. If the Eagles can just focus on containing LeFevour, they can win the game. It’s a tough task, but definitely possible. On the other side, BC needs solid production from Harris. In the end, BC will play well at home and Central Michigan will struggle in its third consecutive road game. Take Boston College -5.5.