Ohio Bobcats (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Central Michigan Chippewas (10-2
SU, 9-2 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Friday, December 4, 2009, Ford Field,
Detroit, Mich., TV: ESPN2
by Badger of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ohio +12.5/Central Michigan -12.5
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The Mid-American Conference will take its usual place on the Friday evening lineup on ESPN2 this week, but this time its a showcase game when the Ohio Bobcats take on the Central Michigan Chippewas in the MAC Championship game at Ford Field in Detroit.
The Bobcats clinched the East Division of the MAC with an impressive
35-17 victory over Temple last Friday, thanks mostly to an equally
impressive game from quarterback Theo Scott. Scott ran for two scores
on the ground and threw for three more in the air as the Bobcats
rolled over Temple and earned another shot at a MAC Championship trophy.
Central Michigan actually clinched the West Division of the MAC a
week ago, but they made it mathematically official with last Fridays
45-31 victory over Northern Illinois. Quarterback Dan LeFevour will
lead a high-powered offense thats on a three-game tear into Ford
Field for a chance at the Chippewas third MAC title in the past four
Friday nights contest will also be a rematch of the 2006 MAC
Championship game, when the Chippewas beat the Bobcats 31-10 behind
LeFevours 314 yards passing and three touchdown strikes.
It appears that everyone has fallen in love with the Chippewas attack under the guidance of the senior LeFevour, as oddsmakers opened the MAC title game with the Chippewas as 10.5-
point favorites and the windows were only open a few hours before
sportsbooks shot the line all the way up to Central Michigan minus -12.
There are even a few offshore sportsbooks listing the Chippewas at
minus -12.5, so almost all of the early money has come in on Central
The over/under total is off the board at all of the houses in Las
Vegas and also a majority of the offshore books, but the ones that
currently offer a total are listing it at 53.
There is good reason why folks would fall in love with the Chippewas offense. LeFevours stats are ridiculous (652 yards on the ground along with 14 TD’s rushing; 2,787 yds passing and 25 TD, only 5 INT) and right now the senior has got it going on because the Chippewas are averaging over 500 yards and 45 points per game during their current three-game win streak.
Those numbers arent that far off Central Michigans season averages
(420.8 ypg 34.2 ppg), but the Chippewas spread-option offense is
clicking right now no doubt. If they can run the ball like they did
last week versus Northern Illinois (257 yards on 41 carries) it could
get ugly for the Bobcats.
Ohio can counter with its own mobile quarterback with Scott, who is coming off of a career day last week against Temple when he ran for
two scores and threw for 324 yards and three more touchdowns. If that
type of performance becomes the norm, then the Bobcats have nothing
to worry about on offense. The problem is that its not the norm, as
Scott is a 59.3 percent thrower with a 19-to-10 TD-to-INT ratio and
the Bobcats averaged only 208 yards passing a game during the season.
The Bobcats are a typical Frank Solich coached team nine wins,
nothing flashy, play sound defensively and protect the ball. If not
for a terrible loss on October 24th to Kent State (20-11), we could
be talking about the 10-win Bobcats with an eight-game winning streak
instead of the double-digit underdog Bobcats with just a four-game
win streak coming into the showdown.
The difference in this game is that the Central Michigan defense may
be a little more equipped to stop the opposing offense than the
Bobcats. Ohio gives up more yards (351.9 ypg) than the Chippewas
(331), plus the Chippewas tighten up better around the red zone
allowing only 17.8 points per game, the 16th-best tally in the NCAA.
These two have met one time since Central Michigan won the 06 MAC
title over the Bobcats, but the result was similar with the Chippewas
scoring a 31-28 victory on the road in Ohio last September. In fact,
the Chippewas are enjoying a dominating run over the Bobcats of late
winning three in a row and seven of the last nine.
Central Michigan has also covered in the last three straight, and are
6-3 ATS in the same nine-game span dating back to 1990.
The favorite in the game is a perfect 5-0 ATS in the last five
meetings (back to 2000).
There is also a strong betting trend toward the over, as the over is 5-1 in the Chippewas last five Friday games and its also 4-0 in the
last four games the Bobcats have been underdogs.
Badgers Pick: Both teams are peaking, both QBs are playing well,
this should be a great MAC title game. I liked Ohio before the steam
drove the line up 2.5 more points, so now I really like them,
especially if it gets to a full two touchdowns. Take Ohio plus the