Western Michigan Vs. Central Michigan Odds, Picks, Predictions (11/16/22)

What a tale of two different stories. Central Michigan enters into this one off an absolute thriller of a game last week, mounting a massive comeback against Buffalo in a winning effort to keep their bowl dreams alive. Western on the other hand has had a season to forget. No longer qualifying for a bowl berth after replacing a good chunk of both sides of the ball with a low TARP rating, they limp into this one after losing narrowly to the lowly NIU.

Western Michigan Vs. Central Michigan Odds

It’s no surprise that Central is currently a massive double digit favorite, sitting at -11 as of writing. Opening at -6.5, CMU quickly gained steam as they should have a statistical advantage in nearly every category in a must win situation.

As for the total, the under has garnered attention as the number has moved from the opening number of 53.5 to as low as 49.5. Speculation has CMU running away with this as WMU’s offense will be incapable of contributing towards an over.

Western Michigan Vs. Central Michigan Prediction & Pick

The Pick: 1H u24.5

Even though Central is in a must win situation to keep their bowl dreams alive, the number has simply climbed too high for my liking to back the Chippewas. Same goes for the total as I missed out on the opening number that has now dropped too low for my hard earned dollars as well.

Instead, I will shift my focus towards the first half total. If last week reminded us of anything, Central has been prone to coming out flat in the first half. While they go against a much softer defense, a run heavy script may be on deck that only benefits our under ticket.

While severely outmatched, Western holds a few advantages that will go a long way in limiting Central and cashing the under. Busted out plays for massive gains will be subdued as Western’s defense is elite at limiting explosiveness, negating Central’s explosiveness metric.

Central also struggles at finishing drives, rated as one of the worst in the nation while WMU is far and away above them. They also have a strong advantage in generating Havoc, a must should Western want any chance of getting the upset. Flipping the field to their favor.

Western Michigan Vs. Central Michigan Key Matchups

Will Western’s defense be able to stop CMU’s run game? Can WMU establish a pass game?

Bert Emanuel Jr vs WMU’s defense

Even without star running back Lew Nichols, Central’s run game did not skip a beat as Bert Emanuel Jr had himself a night. He finished last week’s come from behind winning performance with 293 yards, three touchdowns, averaging 12.2 yards per carry.

While Western’s defense is less to be desired, they do have some advantages that were previously mentioned. Especially in limiting scoring past the 40, a metric that Central has mightily struggled with and a large part of their 4-6 record.

Central has nearly abandoned the pass game as a whole, solely focusing on the run which makes it easy to stack the box as the field shrinks for opposing defenses once Central gets past the 40. Western is more than capable of anchoring down should they find themselves in that situation, a metric to watch that will go a long way in deciding the fate of this game.

WMU’s passing vs CMU’s secondary

Whether it’s Salopek or Bourguet, Western’s pass attack has been abysmal to say the least. Bourguet got the starting nod last week, throwing for 185 yards and one touchdown in a losing effort to NIU. Both names were listed as starters going into it per the pregame sheet, a tactic we may see again as Bourguet did not do enough to secure the job in my opinion.

Life is not going to be easy for either quarterback as Central has defensive advantages in nearly every category compared to the Western offense. 

Central thrives on Havoc, rated well above average. They specialize in disrupting the quarterback and generating backfield pressure. While it hasn’t resulted in many interceptions, just four so far, it has resulted in stalled out drives. Expect Western’s offense to get rushed off the field quickly and often.

Verdict

Expect a run-heavy slow script on both ends that will result in stalled out drives and limited points on the board. Take the first half under at no lower than 24.

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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