Central Michigan will head down to Athens, Ohio to take on Ohio University on Wednesday night (11/15/23). Get Central Michigan vs. Ohio odds, picks and predictions below. Our best bet is Ohio -10.
Central Michigan vs. Ohio Prediction
It’s incredibly hard to believe how close to the end of this college football season we are. But there are just a few games left. For Ohio University, there will be at least three more including this one, as they’ve secured bowl eligibility. There’s a very small chance that the Bobcats could earn a fourth. if Miami (Ohio) loses its last two games, Ohio has a chance to reach the MAC Championship Game. They Bobcats need to do their part and win out for that door to remain cracked open.
Central Michigan hasn’t guaranteed a 13th game just yet. While the Chippewas have two chances to do so as they own a 5-5 record, it might be an uphill battle. Central Michigan let a golden chance slip away as they came back from down 21-7 against Western Michigan last week, only to let the Broncos mount a comeback of their own to win 38-28. CMU is slated for just about as tough of a finish as possible- this road test at Ohio, and then a date with conference-topping Toledo, the last undefeated squad in MAC play. If the Chippewas can pull a win out of those two contests and reach a bowl, it would be a real triumph for Jim McElwain and a squad that has had an up-and-down campaign.
Unfortunately for CMU, the outlook isn’t great. Ohio’s offense doesn’t grade as well as it should with star quarterback Kurtis Rourke at the helm, but that’s not his fault. It’s the run game that has struggled, as the Bobcats’ passing attack through Rourke is effective enough for them to be one-dimensional and still succeed against a horrible CMU pass defense.
Ohio has had a better defense than expected, ranking an impressive 13th in the nation in EPA per play. Central’s offense is in the middle of the pack by the same metric. The Chippewas will run into more defensive resistance than they’re accustomed to after a pair of high-scoring games, while their patchwork of a defense will not be enough to limit Rourke and the rest of the Ohio offense. This should be a runaway win for the home team.
Central Michigan vs. Ohio Prediction: Ohio -10
Central Michigan vs. Ohio Best Betting Odds
At most sportsbooks, Ohio is a favorite of an even 10 points. But be sure to look around for a 9.5. The Bobcats are also -375, compared to +280 for the Chippewas, while both sides of the total of 46.5 are set at -110.
Central Michigan vs. Ohio Key Matchups
While the Bobcats have been an elite defense against both the pass and run, and the Chips have struggled in both respects, the teams have had very different offensive approaches. Let’s see how that could play out.
Ohio Passing Offense vs. Central Michigan Air Defense
The Ohio rushing offense is abysmal, ranking 127th in the country in EPA per play. The Bobcats might be too bad to take advantage of a terrible Central Michigan run defense. Instead, Ohio will have to rely on its air game, which ranks 56th as per EPA, going up against a CMU passing defense that ranks even worse than their run-stopping unit, 129th in the country.
Rourke hasn’t been the same elite passer he was a season ago as he’s dealt with injuries. He’s still one of the better arms in the MAC and thus better than what the Chips have seen most weeks. His top target has been Ohio State transfer Sam Wiglusz, who leads the team with 44 catches and 519 yards. Miles Cross has picked up more scores, and more yards per catch, so he’s the home run hitter.
Central’s pass rush and coverage units both rank just inside the top-100 in FBS per PFF’s grading system. D-lineman Maurice White leads the way with a modest total of 3.5 sacks, while the Chippewas’ paltry five interceptions on the season have each come from a different source. Cornerback Da’Raun McKinney has only appeared in the last few games for the Chips. He’s been fantastic, earning a coverage grade of 87.9 from PFF so far.
Central Michigan Rushing Offense vs. Ohio Run Defense
The Ohio defense doesn’t have a real weakness- as far as EPA per play goes, they’re 23rd against the pass and 20th against the run. The same can’t be said of Central’s offense. The Chips have the exact opposite split as the Ohio offense. CMU ranks 104th in passing EPA per play, but 21st when it comes to rushing offense. That’s not exactly the recipe for a big road upset. Central’s route to competing involves establishing the run to great effect.
The ground-based success is due to some great play from the CMU offensive line, which ranks 25th in PFF’s run blocking grade. The rushers for the Chips have simply done their job, led by Marion Lukes, who has averaged 5.3 yards per carry as the lead rusher. Quarterback Jase Bauer has also been a big part of the ground game, as his nine rushing scores are a team-high.
Linebacker Bryce Houston has been the anchor of Ohio’s excellent run defense, with Keye Thompson providing awesome support alongside him. On the D-line, it’s been Rayyan Buell and Rodney Mathews stuffing runs for the Bobcats with average depths of tackle of 0.1 yards and a ridiculous -1.3, respectively.