Little Caesars Bowl Odds
The Central Michigan Chippewas (6-6) take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (7-5) Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 7:30 PM ET in the Little Caesars Bowl, which will take place at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Oddsmakers have listed Western Kentucky as a 5.5-point favorite and have set the total at 58.5.
Why Western Kentucky Covers
The Hilltoppers have been one of the best bets in college football the last couple seasons while the Chippewas have been one of the worst.
Western Kentucky is 18-6 against the spread dating back to the beginning of last season while Central Michigan is just 6-18 against the spread during this stretch. The Chippewas haven’t been a good investment in the underdog role either.
Central Michigan is on a 2-13 against the spread slide when catching points and has lost these games by an average score of 39.8 to 23.9. It is also worth noting that the Chipps are on a 0-7 against the spread skid against teams that have a winning record and have lost to these foes by an average score of 44.1 to 24.0.
Western Kentucky is the superior defensive team. It ranks 23rd in the country in total defense with 344.4 yards allowed per game while Central Michigan ranks 95th with 441.2 yards allowed per game. The Hilltoppers rank 51st in scoring defense with 25.6 points allowed per game while the Chippewas rank 99th with 33.3 points allowed per contest.
It is significant that Central Michigan has a poor scoring defense since the Hilltoppers are on a 6-0 against the spread run versus teams that give up 31.0 points or more per game. These have won these contests by an average score of 28.0 to 15.2.
Why Central Michigan Covers
The Chippewas are the hotter team. They enter this matchup having won each of their last three games both straight up and against the spread. Western Kentucky, on the other hand, has lost three of its last four games both straight up and against the spread. It was fortunate to get a win in its season finale. It defeated North Texas by just one point in a game in which it was favored by 11.5 points.
It is significant that Central Michigan finished off the season strong with a 42-21 win and cover against Massachusetts. That’s because the Chippewas are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games following a win of more than 20 points and 31-15-2 against the number in their last 48 games following a game in which it covered the spread.
It could be very difficult for Western Kentucky to focus on the task at hand considering the changes at the top. The Hilltoppers will be without program savior Willie Taggart in this game. He left to fill South Florida’s head coaching vacancy. They also won’t have new coach Bobby Petrino on the sidelines, but the university’s decision to hire him has no doubt ruffled the feathers of some players and their parents.
As you might recall, Petrino was fired by Arkansas just eight months ago after it was revealed that he had a mistress in the athletic department that he personally hired. This wasn’t the first time Petrino made the headlines for questionable conduct either. Remember when he bolted from the Atlanta Falcons before the end of the season by leaving letters in the locker room?
Some players will be more concerned with whether they want to play for this guy next year than winning this bowl game.
I have picked Western Kentucky to win this game despite the distractions it faces. Be sure to check out the rest of my bowl predictions by viewing this page. Also, check out who Ryan James, Jack Jones, Brandon Lee, Carolina Sports and Vegas Top Cappers have selected to win the Little Caesars Bowl.