Navy Midshipmen vs. Central Michigan Chippewas Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

Navy Midshipmen (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. Central Michigan Chippewas (2-3 SU, 1-4 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date/Time: Friday, October 12th, 2012/8:00 p.m. EST
Where: Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, Mich.
TV: ESPN2
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: Navy +2.5/C. Mich. -2.5
Over/Under Total: 60

The Navy Midshipmen are coming off of one of their biggest victories in several years and will look to try and keep the momentum rolling when they travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich., to take on the Central Michigan Chippewas in Kelly/Shorts Stadium in a Friday Night college football clash on ESPN2.

The Midshipmen scored a huge, 28-21, overtime win over fellow service academy Air Force last week to put them one step closer to regaining the Commander-in-Chief trophy. Navy took the lead in overtime when they recovered a fumble in the end zone, then sealed the win (and started a huge celebration) when the defense knocked down a fourth-down pass by Air Force to try and tie it.

Ending up on the short end of a few lopsided losses already this season, the Midshipmen sort of “made” their season with the big win over the Falcons, or at least their celebration and reaction afterwards sure made it seem that way.

Central Michigan is in the midst of a two-game slide since they started play in the Mid-American Conference, losing last week by another lopsided score at Toledo, 50-35. In two weeks the Chippewas have given up 50 and 55 points in their two loses, so it should be really interesting how they handle the Midshipmen’s option attack as they try and bounce back and get back into the win column.

There has been some interesting line movement and betting action so far in this game as well. When the line was originally opened at the Wynn in Las Vegas (mid-day on Sunday) they listed Navy as 2.5-point favorites, but everyone and their brother jumped on the home dog Chippewas cause they Wynn to reverse course and make Central Michigan 2.5-point favorites. Since then other sportsbooks have set the betting line with the Chippewas at minus -2.5 or minus -2 at a few of the offshore books.

The over/under total is live at a few of the offshore sportsbooks on the Web, with 60 as the number on the board at the few books that are taking action on the total.

With a total opening in the low 60s you’d think this game would feature a lot of offense, but its actually the opposite, a lack of defense that has everyone looking at a high scoring affair on Friday.

As I mentioned earlier, the Chippewas have yet to stop anyone this season (sorry, but I don’t count VMI) and are the worst team in all of the NCAA allowing 40.8 points per game (120th). They’ve really struggled against the run (allow 233 ypg - 117th), and considering the Midshipmen are always one of the top rushing teams in the country with their option attack (232 ypg - 16th) it looks like a recipe for disaster for Central Michigan.

The fact that Navy’s best player, quarterback Trey Miller, left last week’s game with a rolled ankle might have triggered the point spread slide in the opposite direction. Freshman Keenan Reynolds did rally the Midshipmen on a 75-yard drive to tie the game versus Air Force last week, and then converted on their overtime possession too, but the health of Miller (not even listed on the injury report this week) is certainly something to watch as kickoff approaches.

Central Michigan is led by quarterback Ryan Radcliff, who has had moments of great play (1,286 yards, 9 TD), but has also had issues with accuracy (only 58 comp. %) and ball protection (6 INT). Running back Zurlon Tipton could turnout to be the difference maker in this game, since he is averaging 6.2 yards per carry and if he can get going the Chippewas can keep their defense off the field. Navy has allowed 193 yards a game on the ground (98th), so Tipton could have a huge game this week.

These two teams have met twice before recently, with Navy taking both games in the short series. Back in 2003 the Midshipmen pounded the Chippewas on the ground (530 yards, 10.2 ypc) for a 63-34 victory, while their meeting in 2010 was closer on the scoreboard (a 38-37 Navy win) even though Navy ran all over them again to the tune of 439 yards rushing (8.6 ypc).

If you look at the betting trends for hints, you’ll find that Navy has struggled against the MAC (1-7 ATS) and under the hot Friday Night lights (0-5 ATS in last five Friday games). But Central Michigan hasn’t set the betting world on fire as they are 0-5 ATS in their last five at home in Kelly/Shorts Stadium and they’re also 1-5 in their last six non-conference games.

The over/under trends are mixed, with most of the Navy trends pointing to under (under 7-1 in L8 overall; 4-0 in last four road games), and most of the Central Michigan trends pointing to over (4-1 vs. Independents; 9-2 following SU loss).

Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: With these two defenses allowing so many yards on the ground, you’d expect a running clock and a quick game which would make it harder for the game to go over the total. But I’m expecting a lot of big runs and quick scores, in a typical no-defense MAC-like shootout. With a slight lean toward Navy (against the line movement), I’m taking the over of 60 in a game I think ends up in the 35-31 or 42-35 range. Take the over of 60.

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