College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Toledo vs. Central Michigan: Why to Ride the Rockets

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  • Following a defeat vs. Northern Illinois, Toledo tries to earn its second conference win as it faces Central Michigan.
  • The Rockets will attempt to slow down Chips running back Lew Nichols III.
  • Stuckey dives into the MAC duel and offers up his betting prediction.

Toledo vs. Central Michigan Odds

Toledo Odds -5 (-110)
Central Michigan Odds +5 (-110)
Moneyline -200 / +170
Over/Under 53 (-110 / -110)
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
TV CBS Sports Network
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The MAC East looks like it’s Kent State’s division to lose.

Meanwhile, the much more competitive MAC West is completely wide open midway through October. Five teams currently sit at 1-1 in the conference, trailing 2-0 Northern Illinois, who many (including myself) thought would finish last in the division.

When it comes to MACtion, always expect the unexpected.

Two of those 1-1 teams, Toledo and Central Michigan, will meet in Mount Pleasant, MI on Saturday afternoon.

In a matchup of two teams that many thought had a shot at a conference crown, the loser will have a steep climb to get to Detroit for the MAC title game.

Let’s take a quick look at each team and determine if there’s any value from a betting perspective.


Toledo vs. Central Michigan Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 16
3:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network

Toledo Rockets

Which Toledo Team Shows Up?

Per the preseason and latest version of my power ratings, Toledo is the best and most talented team in the MAC. However, the Rockets have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the country to date.

The Rockets had easy victories over clearly inferior opponents, UMass and Norfolk State, as expected. Their third win came on the road against defending MAC champion Ball State. They also put up a fight to the end in South Bend against Notre Dame in a three-point loss that could’ve went either way.

Toledo also has two head-scratching losses as double-digit favorites.

One came at home against previously winless Colorado State by a final score of 22-6. And the other occurred on the road last week to Northern Illinois by a score of 22-20.

The offense has been the primary culprit for both of those losses.


The Dequan Finn Show?

So, what exactly has held back this offense that has talent on the outside and a very good back in Bryant Koback?

It starts up front with an offensive line that has performed poorly all season despite returning five starters.

The O-Line ranks 88th in Standard Down Line Yards and 115th in Sack Rate. The staff definitely had much higher expectations for this group than the output we’ve seen on the field over the first six games.

Starting quarterback Carter Bradley has also really struggled at times and actually has two more turnover-worthy throws than big-time throws, per PFF. He’s shared time with dual-threat freshman Dequan Finn, who has seen his pass attempts increase from two to 10 to 17 over the past three games.

I expect Toledo to go with Finn even more this weekend and potentially even exclusively. He provides an added element with his running ability and mobility.

I think that’s a sharp move given the offensive line struggles, especially against a CMU team that has two very good pass rushers in Amir Siddiq and Troy Hairston. Plus, Finn has actually been the more proficient passer this season — albeit over a sample size of only 60 dropbacks.

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Central Michigan Chippewas

Bookends

Despite losing second-team All-MAC offensive tackle Derek Smith to the transfer portal, Central Michigan still features a pair of terrific tackles in returning starter Bernhard Raimann and Luke Goedeke, who missed last year due to injury after making 14 starts.

Having a pair of reliable tackles is especially critical against a Toledo defense that ranks 32nd nationally in Sack Rate.

However, the interior of the offensive line has struggled and will likely struggle to get any kind of push against a Toledo defensive front that ranks in the top-15 nationally in Line Yards.

I don’t expect much on the ground from Lew Nichols III, who is now the lone feature back after Kobe Lewis suffered an injury in August.

That means CMU will have to move the ball through the air.

Like Toledo, the Chippewas have also used two quarterbacks this year with Daniel Richardson and Washington transfer Jacob Sirmon.

Richardson has taken over the starting role of late and has actually fared quite well. He’s actually only one of three quarterbacks in the country with a big-time throw percentage of at least 10%.

Richardson can make some things happen with a very talented wide receiver corps, led by ex-Virginia Tech transfer Kalil Pimpleton. That said, he will have to be on his game against an excellent Toledo secondary that doesn’t have any holes.


Shorthanded Chips

The Chippewas come into this game with a 3-3 record. They predictably lost both meetings with SEC foes and easily beat FCS Robert Morris. They went 2-1 in their other two contests but easily could’ve gone 0-3 as they needed two late comebacks to beat Ohio and FIU by three and four, respectively.

It hasn’t been pretty, to say the least.

Now, CMU will have to make do without two key pieces on Saturday. Second-leading receiver JaCorey Sullivan remains out with an injury as does All-MAC linebacker Troy Brown. Both will be sorely missed, especially since freshmen and transfers will need to fill their production.

Also, cornerback Dishon McNary is still not ready to return and their starting tight end is questionable.


Toledo vs. Central Michigan Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Toledo and Central Michigan match up statistically:

Toledo Offense vs. Central Michigan Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 52 23
Line Yards 76 10
Pass Success 94 68
Pass Blocking** 110 96
Big Play 78 110
Havoc 79 17
Finishing Drives 98 102
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Central Michigan Offense vs. Toledo Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 65 7
Line Yards 33 28
Pass Success 58 64
Pass Blocking** 73 15
Big Play 27 43
Havoc 93 15
Finishing Drives 96 7
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 5 43
Coverage 15 82
Middle 8 8 104
SP+ Special Teams 98 113
Plays per Minute 90 19
Rush Rate 53.8% (70) 49.3% (101)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Notice the pace, as Toledo likes to work much slower than Central Michigan.

You’ll also notice that both defenses have been strong against the run, but the Chips have struggled much more in coverage.


Toledo vs. Central Michigan Betting Pick

The best unit in this game by far is the Toledo defense.

They’ve graded out as a top-25 unit so far this season and have playmakers all over the field, especially after getting star safety Tycen Anderson back in full last week without any snap count limitations. He’ll play at the next level on Sundays and joins All-MAC Nate Bauer to form a superb safety group with plenty of dependable depth.

It’s a defense that returned as much production as any in the country, while improving the defensive line with Penn State transfer Judge Culpepper, who has been a force this year.

There are really no holes on this defense that features two relentless pass rushers in Desjuan Johnson and Jamal Hines, in addition to a dynamic duo at cornerback in Samuel Womack and Chris McDonald.

And don’t forget about Dyontae Johnson, who leads the linebacker group in Toledo’s base 4-2-5 defense.

While Toledo’s offense hasn’t been great, CMU does not have a great defense. And I expect Finn to get much more work under center, which should benefit the offense.

You basically get to 30 points just by showing up against the Chips.

I’m sure CMU will come out fired up for this one at home after losing to Toledo by a touchdown in the final minute (on 3rd and 22) last season, but I expect the Toledo defense to make a few key plays that decide this game.

The Rockets also are healthier and have a better special teams unit.

When the Rockets lost to Colorado State at home as two touchdown favorites earlier this season, they bounced back with a big road win at Ball State as 4.5 point favorites.

Well, we have almost the same exact situation and spread here after Toledo dropped a home game as a two-touchdown favorite last week.

I expect this veteran team to bounce back once again.

Pick: Toledo -4.5

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