The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers host the Eastern Michigan Eagles in Week 1 college football action from Conway. Kickoff is set for 3:30 PM EST on Saturday, August 31 at Brooks Stadium and the game will be televised on ESPN+.

Taking a look at the Week 1 college football odds, Eastern Michigan opened as a 6-point road favorite earlier this week. That line has decreased only slightly after early betting, as the Eagles are currently listed at -5.5. The total for the game is sitting at 55 points.

Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Coastal Carolina vs Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan managed to finish 2018 above .500 after going 7-6 overall and 5-3 in Mid-American Conference play. That was good enough to finish in a three-way day for second place in the MAC West division. It also helped them clinch a spot in the Camellia Bowl where they lost a close battle to Georgia Southern to close out their year. EMU will start senior Mike Glass III at quarterback to begin the year after he impressed in limited action in 2018. Glass III passed for over 1,000 yards and added nine touchdowns while also racking up the second most rushing yards on the team. RB Shaq Vann ended up leading the way on the ground for Eastern Michigan, rushing for 590 yards. As a whole, the offense managed to average a somewhat respectable 27.0 points per game on 372 total yards.

The Eagles were actually quite strong defensively in 2018, holding opponents to an average of just 22.0 points per game on 353.0 yards of total offense. They were one of the best programs nationwide against the pass, allowing just 160.0 yards per game through the air (5th overall).

Coastal Carolina couldn’t quite find a way to finish with a winning season in 2018, going 5-7 overall and just 2-6 in Sun Belt conference action. Although there were certainly some positives on both sides of the ball, the Chanticleers could do no better than a fourth place finish in the Sun Belt East division. However, they did come extremely close to qualifying for a bowl game, as they started the season 5-3 before losing four straight and failing to win the final game necessary to become bowl eligible. Sophomore QB Fred Payton will take over under center for Coastal Carolina after impressing in his backup role in 2018. Payton should have excellent protection from an offensive line that is welcoming back four starters from last season. Overall, the offense averaged 26.7 points on 379.0 total yards per game and will look to keep improving moving forward.

The Chanticleers did not play well on the defensive side of the ball in 2018, allowing opponents to average a healthy 33.2 points per game (101st overall) on 451 total yards of offense. While they managed to limit the damage through the air, teams punished Coastal Carolina on the ground, amassing 244.4 rushing yards per game (121st overall).

NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Eastern Michigan -6

Despite having to open their 2019 season on the road, I think Eastern Michigan is the clear play in this particular matchup. While both offenses averaged a remarkably similar points per game in 2018- about 27 points per four quarters – there was a huge disparity on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles were actually quite impressive on defense, ranking in the top half of teams nationwide in many major statistical categories. On the other hand, Coastal Carolina was routinely destroyed by opposing offenses, especially on the ground where they ranked almost dead last in the entire country at defending against the run.

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EMU also appears to have the edge at the quarterback position, as Mike Glass III is a dual threat who is capable of rushing the ball if the opportunity presents itself. Facing a defense that gave up almost 250 yards per game on the ground in 2018, Glass III could have a monster debut as the starting quarterback for the Eagles. Even though Fred Payton also flashed some upside last year, he doesn’t have nearly as many weapons on offense or the same support from his defense. While this one may stay close for a couple of quarters, I think that Eastern Michigan will eventually pull away and win this game by at least a touchdown.