Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Central Michigan Chippewas Preview and Pick

Eastern Michigan Eagles (3-8) +13, 66.5 O/U at Central Michigan Chippewas (6-4) -13, 66.5 O/U Kelly/Shorts Stadium, 7 PM Eastern, Friday
by Badger of Predictem.com

One week after clinching a bid into the Mid American Conference championship game with a victory over in-state rival Western Michigan, the Central Michigan Chippewas face their other in-state rival in the MAC on Friday, Eastern Michigan.

The line opened with Central Michigan as a 13-point favorite, with a total of 66. The money line opened with the Chippewas as a -470, while the eagles of Eastern Michigan are a +370.

Central Michigan (6-4, 5-0 MAC) continues to be one of the top yardage and scoring offenses in the MAC, led by quarterback Dan LaFevour. The Chippewas average 433.8 yards per game, with a nice distribution between the pass (271.6 ypg) and the run (162.2 ypg). This balance allows the Chippewas to score 32.4 points per game, good enough for 34th in the country.

Eastern Michigan is a little more offensively challenged, as their 109th overall ranking for total yards (335.2 ypg) and 101st scoring average (22 ppg) would indicate. Its not like the Eagles are better at one phase over the other, as their rushing game (151.3 ypg) is nearly as productive as their passing game (183.9 ypg), and neither is really that good.

Eastern Michigans defense is a little better unit, statistically speaking, but even that isnt saying much. The Eagles allow 418.7 yards per game and 29.9 points per game.

But Central Michigans defense is worse. Its a good thing the Chippewas throw the ball so well on offense, cause the defense gets used and abused at 478.3 yards per game and 37.6 points per game. Although, the 70 points they gave up to Clemson a few weeks back and the 52 they gave up to Kansas in the opener makes the points per game average a little deceiving.

The Chippewas do have some pretty good numbers as far as sports bettors are concerned. They are only 5-3-1 ATS for the season, but a stellar 3-0 ATS on their home turf. The offense also allows them to cover the total to the tune of 7-1-1 on the season, including a 2-1 mark at home.

Eastern Michigan, however, is a bettors nightmare. The Eagles are just 3-7 verses the number for the season (1-4 in the last 5 games), and just 2-4 on the road against the spread. You can flip a coin on the over/under bet too, as they fall right down the middle at 5-5 overall and 3-3 on the road when it comes to going over the total.

It is interesting to note that the Chippewas needed overtime to beat the Eagles last year on the road, 24-17. That score came well under the total. Another fact to keep in mind is that this is the last game of the season for Eastern Michigan, so many of the Eagle players will either be playing in their last game of their careers, or playing to move up the depth chart for next year. Central Michigan has one more game versus Akron, and you always have to wonder about the letdown effect since the Chippewas did clinch a birth in the MAC title game last week.

The line opened with the Chippewas as a 13-point chalk, and has stayed there pretty much all week. The total hasnt moved much either when it was released at 66.5.

Badgers Pick: Just about every aspect of this game points in favor of Central Michigan, better offense, better personnel and home field advantage. But Im going with my gut here and siding with the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Eastern has played well of late, is playing for pride in their final game of the season, and is also playing for the entire state of Michigan bragging rights in the MAC (they beat Western too). Take Eastern plus the points.