College Football Odds, Picks, Prediction for Central Michigan vs Michigan State

College Football Odds, Picks, Prediction for Central Michigan vs Michigan State article feature image

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Jim McElwain (Central Michigan)

Central Michigan vs Michigan State Odds

Friday, September 1
7:00pm ET
CBS Sports Network
Central Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
Michigan State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Week 1 is here, and with that comes a highly intriguing in-state matchup between Michigan State and Central Michigan.

Despite the apparent talent gap between these two schools, this has been a relatively competitive matchup in recent years, with Central Michigan boasting a 5-2 record against the spread since 2001.

Since 1920, Michigan and Michigan State have only 3 combined losses against the directional Michigan MAC schools (WMU, CMU, EMU)

•1991 CMU at Michigan State
•1992 CMU at Michigan State
•2009 CMU at Michigan State

— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) August 20, 2023

In order to determine if Central Michigan will continue to keep things competitive, let’s take a look at the odds and make a prediction for Central Michigan vs. Michigan State.

Check out our NCAAF Betting Hub for more college football previews, predictions, news and analysis.

Central Michigan Chippewas

Last year was a disappointing season for Jim McElwain’s Chippewas squad, as they lost a number of key contributors to the NFL draft and graduation, resulting in a four-win season.

This year, McElwain has nine returning starters on the defensive side of the ball and reloaded many of the skill positions via the transfer portal.

Defensively, Central Michigan ranks 14th nationally in returning production from a unit that ranked 47th nationally in opponent points per possession and seventh in Havoc in 202. This returning production is highlighted by the Chippewas' top three tacklers, linebacker Kyle Moretti, safety Trey Jones and linebacker Justin Whiteside.

This experience on defense will be a major advantage against a Michigan State offense that has major questions across the board, most notably at quarterback.

Offensively, Central Michigan ranks 110th nationally in returning production but has many intriguing new additions across the board.

Most notable will be the introduction of quarterback Bert Emanuel Jr. into a potentially expanded role. Emanuel has been battling with sophomore Jase Bauer for the starting position and would bring a dual-threat ability to the Chippewas' offense.


He somehow stays up and takes it 87 yards to tie the game!

— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 10, 2022

Either Bauer or Emanuel will be operating behind an offensive line that will have more consistency than a season ago. The Chippewas return both tackles, along with second-team All-MAC guard Deiyantei Powell-Woods.

If Central Michigan is able to hit on some of its transfer portal additions at wide receiver, this is an offensive unit that can find consistent success on Friday night and throughout its 2023 campaign.

Michigan State Spartans

Mel Tucker enters his fourth season as head coach of Michigan State with a plethora of questions after winning just five games in 2022.

The largest of these questions is who will start for the Spartans under center to begin the season.

After losing Payton Thorne to Auburn in the offseason, Michigan State is now forced to turn to sophomore Noah Kim and redshirt freshman Katin Houser, who have been battling for the starting role throughout fall camp.

Kim made three garbage time appearances in 2022, throwing for just 174 yards and three TDs. This overall lack of experience — along with Tucker’s unwillingness to name a starter — doesn't instill confidence in a Michigan State offense that also loses three of its top four wide receivers.

Mel Tucker's answer to the question as to which quarterback will start on Friday night was short and sweet:

— Spartans Illustrated (@SpartansRivals) August 28, 2023

Although the Spartans return leading rusher Jalen Berger and four starters on the offensive line, they'll need to build on some lackluster rushing metrics from 2022. The Spartans ranked outside the top 100 in Rushing Play Rate, PPA and Success Rate on the ground.

This improvement will have to be earned against a Central Michigan defense that ranked 44th nationally in Success Rate against the run last season.

Look for McElwain to have his Central Michigan team ready to expose Michigan State’s areas of concern on the offensive end.

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Central Michigan vs Michigan State

Betting Pick & Prediction

Overall, I love this spot for Central Michigan — as a live underdog against a Michigan State team still licking its wounds from 2022.

Defensively, I more than trust coordinator Robb Akey and head coach McElwain to use their returning production to force the Spartans — who have massive uncertainty at the QB position — to beat them through the air.

The Chippewas ranked 44th nationally in Rush Play Success allowed in 2022 and return three starters on the defensive line.

This increase in passing play situations spells trouble for a Michigan State offense that ranked outside the top 90 in Passing Play Explosiveness last season and lacks experience at both QB and WR.

On the other side of the ball, I have confidence that whoever starts at QB for Central Michigan will be able to find success. The Chippewas were able to create explosive plays in 2022, ranking 22nd nationally in Offensive Explosiveness and will only look to continue this trend against a Spartans defense that ranked 106th nationally in Success Rate in 2022.

Give me Central Michigan to keep things close against a Michigan State program that has plenty of uncertainty to begin the year.

Pick: Central Michigan +14 (Play to +12.5)

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