The MAC will take center stage midweek as the Central Michigan Chippewas visit the Western Michigan Broncos. Kickoff is at 8:00 EST on Wednesday, November 1 at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
Oddsmakers list Western Michigan as 6.5-point favorites at home. The over/under for the game is 51.5 points. Click here for a full list of Week 10 betting odds and links to game previews.
Central Michigan vs Western Michigan Game Preview & Betting Odds
Central Michigan showed signs of breaking out of a slump in their last game, crushing Ball State 56-9. Shane Morris threw four touchdown passes and broke a streak of six consecutive games with at least one interception. The Chippewas also played their best game of the season defensively, limiting Ball State to just 208 total yards of offense.
The win pushed CMU to 4-4 on the season, two wins away from locking up their fifth bowl game in the last six years. Getting a win over one of their main in-state rivals would go a long way toward making that happen with a couple tricky games still left on their schedule.
Western Michigan, meanwhile, has still not given up hope of repeating as MAC champions. The Broncos have won five of their last six games after playing close games with both USC and Michigan State early in the year. But to win the MAC West division, Western Michigan has to win out. A loss to CMU would all but end their chances of repeating as conference champs.
Naturally, these two Michigan schools have a long-standing rivalry, with the winner receiving the Victory Cannon. Western has taken five of the last six games, including a 49-10 win last year.
Free College Football Against the Spread Pick: Western Michigan -6.5
My first inclination is that this will be a close game because it’s a rivalry game. However, I don’t like this matchup from Central Michigan’s perspective. The Broncos are the better team, the home team, and the team with more to lose. I’ll lean toward Western Michigan to win by at least a touchdown and cover.
Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.
My concern with CMU is with their consistency on offense. I’m not sure their 56-point outburst against Ball State in their last game is a sign of things to come. Ball State has given up more than 50 points on two other occasions this year. I don’t see the Chippewas duplicating that kind of performance against the WMU defense.
The Broncos are one of the top defensive teams in the MAC this year. If you take away their 7-overtime game against Buffalo, Western Michigan is allowing 11 points per game against MAC opponents. Even against USC earlier this year, the Western Michigan defense kept the Trojans contained until the 4th quarter, so they obviously have some great athletes on that side of the ball.
The biggest thing that keeps me from believing in the Chippewas is turnovers. Morris has thrown 11 interceptions this season, with 10 of them coming in a five-game span in which CMU was 1-4. To be fair, two of those were against Syracuse and Boston College, both solid ACC teams. But with WMU having a good defense and Morris being so turnover prone, it could be tough for CMU to stay in this game over the course of 60 minutes.
Meanwhile, Western Michigan quarterback Joe Wassink has thrown just four interceptions this season. The Broncos are also much more concerned with running the ball, gaining close to five yards per carry this season. Even better, they aren’t reliant on Wassink being their primary rusher, so he doesn’t take a lot of unnecessary hits. Tim Lester’s side has a balanced attack that values the football and limits risk.
With a strong rushing game, the Western Michigan offense has a chance to control the clock and put points on the board. Also, with the home crowd behind them, the WMU defense has a chance to force turnovers that can turn the game in their favor. Even in a rivalry game, I see the Broncos winning by at least a touchdown.