Central Michigan (8-5) takes on San Diego St (9-3) down in Albuquerque for the New Mexico Bowl. The Chippewas were fortunate to play in the MAC Championship Game, but fell to Miami (OH) the first week of December. Central Michigan finished with a 6-3 record in conference play, as San Diego State finished 5-3. As of writing this, 66 percent of tickets are backing the Aztecs as 3.5-point favorites, and 80 percent are taking the under at 40.5 points.
Date: Saturday, December 21, 2019
Time: 2:00 PM ET
Location: University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Central Michigan Analysis
Central Michigan comes into their bowl with the second best offense in the MAC. They rank 28th in success rate, average 31.4 points per game (36th), and 6.1 yards per play (32nd). The Chippewas offense has been consistent all season, and a big reason why they got to the MAC Conference Finals. However, they will be going up against an Aztecs defense that is one of the best in the country. San Diego State’s defense ranks 21st in success rate, and 34th in limiting explosiveness. As good as Central Michigan’s offense has been, this will a difficult matchup for them. Also, their offensive line will be at a disadvantage in the New Mexico Bowl. San Diego State does have them in the trenches, and also rank 10th in havoc created. Central Michigan does rank 20th in passing efficiency, and has an edge over the Aztecs defense. This will be one matchup to watch for to see if Central Michigan can move the ball through the air.
The Chippewas defense has been a nice complement to their offense. Overall, they rank 39th in defensive success, but struggle to defend explosive plays as the rank 89th in that category. Fortunately, for Central Michigan, San Diego State rank 127th in explosive offense, so there isn’t much concern with this weakness. They will have a significant edge on the defensive line and also rank 22nd in havoc created. However, Central Michigan ranks 67th in sack percentage, so getting to the quarterback against a bad offense could hurt them at times. Overall, Central Michigan should take care of the San Diego State offense. The closest edge the Aztecs have is with their pass offense, but it’s hard to see that being a huge factor.
San Diego State Analysis
San Diego State’s offense hasn’t been great this season. They are averaging 20.2 points per game (112th), and have only scored over 28 points once this season. Central Michigan’s defense will be too good for how the Aztecs performed offensively this season. The one area San Diego State could find success would be through their pass game. Overall, the Aztecs rank 77th in passing efficiency and average 6.7 yards per attempt (99th). Now, Central Michigan does rank 68th in pass defense, but are allowing teams to average 7.4 yards per pass (64th). Also, Central Michigan’s defensive line is much better than San Diego State’s offensive line, but the Aztecs have been great at protecting the quarterback all season. This should help quarterback Ryan Agnew have to time to maybe find open receivers.
The Aztecs come in with one of the best defenses in the country. Overall, they rank 21st in defensive success, and are holding teams to 14 points per game (5th) and 4.6 yards per play (10th). Only Utah State and Wyoming were fortunate to score over 20 points on San Diego State this season. Now, Central Michigan will have one of the better offenses that San Diego State has faced this season. They do have an edge on the Chippewas in success rate and limiting explosive plays. Also, their defensive line is one of the best in the country, so they should be able to control the trenches. However, their pass defense could be exploited. The Chippewas have an edge with their passing attack, so this will be an important matchup for San Diego State. Also, the Aztecs struggle to get to the quarterback despite ranking 10th in havoc. They need to get pressure on Quinten Dormady to keep him honest.
Betting Pick: Under 40.5
Both defenses have the edge over their opponents offense in this game. San Diego State has one of the worst offenses in the country while their defense has suffocated teams every week this season. This could be a bit of a sweat, but it’s hard to see 40 points scored in this game. As good as Central Michigan’s offense is. the Aztecs defense should be able to hold them to under 20 points. Also, San Diego State might not have a chance to move the football themselves. Expect a sloppy game in New Mexico this weekend.