The struggling Central Michigan Chippewas will host the red-hot Western Michigan Broncos in MAC action Saturday afternoon from Kelly/Shorts Stadium. The Broncos recorded a 42-35 road win against Bowling Green last weekend, and the Chippewas are coming off a 24-23 home loss to Ball State. Central Michigan notched a 38-25 road win against Western Michigan last season.
Broncos Offense Excels in Fifth Straight Win
The Western Michigan Broncos head into this MAC battle hunting for their sixth consecutive victory. They improved to 3-0 in conference play with a 42-35 road win against Bowling Green last week. Jon Wassink was productive in the victory, amassing 286 passing yards with two TD’s against two INT’s. The junior QB has tallied at least 230 passing yards in all but one game this season, and he is up to 1924 passing yards with a 16:6 TD to INT ratio on the year. Broncos’ top rusher LeVante Bellamy came through with his best game of the season against Bowling Green, accumulating 145 rushing yards. The junior RB is having a stellar season, collecting 676 rushing yards on an average of 6.6 yards per carry. Western Michigan’s leading receiver Jayden Reed added another 67 receiving yards to his season total last week, and he has accrued 533 receiving yards on the year. The Broncos offense has been tremendous in MAC play, and they feature a multi-dimensional offense that can do damage both in the air and on the ground.
— WMU Football (@WMU_Football) October 13, 2018
The Western Michigan defense has not been quite as strong as their offense this season. They surrendered 511 total yards against Bowling Green last week, and their rush defense ranks down at 78th in the country. The Broncos along with Northern Illinois remain the only two teams in the MAC West without a conference loss. They are scoring an average of 36.6 points, good for 28th in the country. Western Michigan is allowing an average of 31 points, pegging them 94th overall.
Chippewas Edged by Ball State, Searching for First MAC Win
The Central Michigan Chippewas are still hunting for their first MAC win of the season. They came up just short in a tough 24-23 home loss to Ball State last week. Tommy Lazzaro played well, amassing 127 passing yards along with 110 rushing yards. The mobile junior QB has tallied at least one TD pass in all five games played, and he has 607 passing yards with a 5:8 TD to INT ratio, plus he has tallied a team-leading 349 rushing yards on the season. Chippewas #1 RB Jonathan Ward did not start last week, and he has only seen 15 carries over his last three games. The Chippewas do not have a running back with over 200 rushing yards. Chippewas’ leading receiver Cameron Cole did not make a reception last week, and he has 160 receiving yards on the season. The Central Michigan offense has struggled all season, and they rank close to the bottom of the FBS in most offensive categories. They are only averaging 286 total yards per game.
Check out the recap from today's game versus Ball State. That team from down state will be here Saturday at 3 P.M. so make sure you get your tickets! 🎟https://t.co/IBRZamPgf9 🎟#FireUpChips pic.twitter.com/1tCGsdIVP3
— CMU Football (@CMU_Football) October 14, 2018
The Chippewas defense has performed better than their offense. They held Ball State to 359 total yards, and they are holding opponents to an average of 351 total yards per game on the season. Central Michigan owns a weak rush defense which is countered by a stellar pass defense. The Chippewas have lost all three conference games, and their lone win of the season came against Maine of the FCS. They are currently averaging 18.1 points, ranking them 125th overall. Central Michigan is allowing an average of 26.3 points, pegging them 72nd overall.
The Central Michigan Chippewas are:
- 4-9 ATS in their last 13 home games.
- over is 6-2 in their last eight conference games.
- over is 9-4 in their last 13 games overall.
The Western Michigan Broncos are:
- 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games after accumulating more than 280 passing yards in their previous game.
- over is 8-3 in their last 11 games after recording more than 480 total yards in their previous game.
- over is 7-3 in their last 10 games following a straight up win.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am siding with Western Michigan in this one. Western Michigan is the much better team in this matchup, and they should come away with a convincing win. The Broncos feature a potent running game that is averaging 208 rushing yards per game, and they are up against a poor Central Michigan rush defense that is conceding an average of 198 rushing yards per game, ranking them 104th in the FBS. The Broncos also feature the 29th ranked passing offense in the FBS, and they should do their usual damage offensively.
Furthermore, the Central Michigan offense is struggling in a big way. They have scored 24 or fewer points in all three conference games. The Broncos feature a solid pass defense that is limiting opponents to only 193 rushing yards per game, and they should shut down a very poor Chippewas rushing and passing offense.
Prediction: Western Michigan Broncos
Full-Game Total Pick
I am going with the over in this one. The Broncos are averaging a sizzling 36.3 points in their three conference road games, and their balanced offensive attack should be able to solve the Chippewas defense, plus the over is 8-0 in their last eight road games against a team with a losing home record.
In addition, Western Michigan did allow 35 points to a lower scoring Bowling Green team last week, and they conceded 39 points against Miami Ohio in their only other conference road game this season. The over is 5-1 in Central Michigan’s last six games against a team with a winning record, and I anticipate plenty of scoring in this one.
Full-Game Prop Bet
I am taking Western Michigan on the alternative point spread at -7. The Broncos have scored at least 34 points in three out of their last four games, and they should come through with another productive performance. The Broncos’ potent running game is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, and they should have their way against a weak rush defense. In addition, Central Michigan does not have any big offensive weapons, and they are only averaging 286 total yards per game, pegging them down at 127th overall.
Prediction: Alternative Point Spread: Western Michigan +7
Half-Time Side Pick
I am sticking with Western Michigan on the halftime line as well. Central Michigan is struggling to score points in the opening half, averaging a measly 8.2 points, pegging them down at 118th in the FBS. The Broncos are averaging 11.7 points in the first half, and they should hold a comfortable lead at halftime.
Prediction: Western Michigan -2
Half-Time Total Bet
I am leaning towards the under on the halftime line. Western Michigan is averaging 11 more points in the second half, and Central Michigan has also scored more points in the second half. I expect a bulk of the scoring in the final half, especially considering the Chippewas are only averaging 7.7 points in the first half on their home field.
Prediction: Under 28
Half-Time Prop Prediction
I am taking Western Michigan to score first. Central Michigan has not been able to generate any offense, averaging a measly two points in the first quarter this season. The Broncos feature a potent offense that should be able to strike early, plus they are averaging a solid 7 points in the first quarter over their last three games.
Prediction: Western Michigan to Score First -125