Eastern Michigan vs. Kent State Odds, Picks, Predictions (11/16/22)

Midweek MACtion is back on Wednesday night, and there are three games on deck that will provide plenty of excitement. In this article, I’ll provide a preview of the matchup between the Eastern Michigan Eagles and the Kent State Golden Flashes. For full coverage of every MAC game, you can find matchup previews on our site and our YouTube channel. Let’s get to work.

Eastern Michigan Eagles Vs. Kent State Golden Flashes Odds

The spread in this game was quickly bought up from an open of -6.5 to the current -7.5 line, which is a clear indication of what the market thinks of these two teams right now. Anytime a spread is bought through the key number of 3 or 7, you have a strong idea of how the market perceives the two teams.

In addition to that spread, the under appears to be seeing strong consideration from the market as the total has fallen from an open of 62.5 to the current number of 61.5. While key numbers are less of a factor for totals than they are for spreads, 62 is one of the few key numbers in the 60s, so keep an eye on where this number lands.

Eastern Michigan Eagles Vs. Kent State Golden Flashes Prediction & Pick

Things had been going poorly for Kent State with a 1-3 record in their last four games, and dreams of MAC contention and bowl eligibility seemed to be slipping away. However, the Golden Flashes earned a dominant 40-6 road win over Bowling Green as they covered for the first time in six games. Sean Lewis’s squad is back in business with a chance to make a bowl game if they win out.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have already clinched bowl eligibility and don’t have much left to play for as Toledo clinched first place in the MAC West with their win last week. Eastern Michigan is also dealing with a significant injury to quarterback Taylor Powell, who missed last week’s game. Austin Smith performed admirably in his absence, but he will face a step up in competition here if he starts.

Given the fact that Eastern Michigan doesn’t have a ton left to play for until their bowl game, I would assume they’ll be cautious with Taylor Powell this week. I’d love to get this number at -6.5, where it opened, and the market consensus now sits at 7.5. For the purposes of this article, I’ll lay the points with the home team, but I’d recommend waiting for a better number live.

Eastern Michigan Eagles Vs. Kent State Golden Flashes Key Matchups

Will Marquez Cooper get going against this Eastern Michigan run defense? How will the dual-threat style of Austin Smith fare against this Kent State team?

Marquez Cooper vs. Eastern Michigan run defense

Marquez Cooper ranks 15th in the FBS with 1,106 rushing yards, and he’s averaging just under 140 rushing yards in MAC play to this point. Kent State runs the ball at the 12th-highest rate in the FBS, and will likely continue to do so given they are the home team laying a high number of points in this matchup.

Eastern Michigan’s run defense has been atrocious as they rank 91st in rushing success rate allowed. Last week, they allowed Akron’s Cam Wiley to run for 144 yards on 18 carries (8.0 YPC). Wiley hadn’t run for more than 52 yards since Week 1. The Eagles are undersized upfront, and they rank 107th in defensive line yards.

Kent State’s offensive line has a big advantage against that Eastern Michigan defensive line. The Golden Flashes rank 38th in the FBS in average line yards and 66th in stuff rate allowed. While Collin Schlee is a very capable passer, the Flashes rely on their run game to set up the pass, and the Eagles’ key to pulling off the upset revolves around slowing down Cooper.

Austin Smith vs. Kent State pass defense

If Taylor Powell is unable to play this week as expected, Austin Smith will get another start. He’s 3-1 as a starter this season, and his dual-threat capability has made him difficult for opponents to slow down. Smith’s passing stats are underwhelming as he’s completing just 57% of his passes, but he has 256 rushing yards this season.

Eastern Michigan wants to establish their ground game, but that might not be possible with senior running back Samson Evans picking up an injury last week. Evans leads the team with 855 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Tanner Knue leads the team with 466 receiving yards and six touchdowns, and he’ll need to have a big game if Evans is unable to play.

Kent State’s pass defense is still vulnerable as they rank 124th in passing EPA and success rate allowed. They don’t allow many explosive passes, as they rank 46th in explosive pass plays allowed, but on a down to down basis their secondary has been vulnerable. However, some of that is due to a gauntlet of an early season schedule, so it remains to be seen whether or not that holds up.

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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