College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks: Our Top Bet for Kent State vs. Central Michigan

College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks: Our Top Bet for Kent State vs. Central Michigan article feature image

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tyson Davis.

Kent State vs. Central Michigan Odds

Wednesday, Nov. 10
8 p.m. ET
Kent State Odds
-110o / -110u
Central Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

A laser show is expected at Kelly/Shorts Stadium on Wednesday night. Kent State and Central Michigan are two of the fastest teams in the nation, looking to pick up available yards and put points on the board with haste.

The Golden Flashes lead with a heavy scheme toward the rush, ranking second in the nation in Success Rate on the ground. The Chippewas, meanwhile, have a more balanced approach, but their top-30 rank in big play percentage will make this an explosive affair.

The stakes could not be higher in the schools' respective divisional races, as Kent State holds a narrow lead in the East, while Central Michigan is one of four teams with a winning conference record in the West.

The Golden Flashes can lose this game and still win the division in the regular-season finale against Miami (OH), but a loss for the Chippewas will all but cancel any travel plans for the MAC Championship.

Kent State Golden Flashes

Kent State Offense

Head coach Sean Lewis has no regard for controlling clock, evidenced by his team ranking near dead last in time of possession. Tempo is the name of the game, as three of the past four games involving the Golden Flashes have finished with more than 75 points.

Contests that have not ended with a high point total include recent conference battles with Ohio and Bowling Green. Both of those teams won the time of possession battle and had more than 50% of drives log two-plus first downs.

Both Ohio and Bowling Green lost by a possession, but the key to beating the Golden Flashes is to slow them down or commit to outscoring them.

DUSTIN CRUM WOULD NOT BE DENIED. Kent State back on top late in the first half!

— CFB Pylon (@TheCFBPylon) November 4, 2021

The advanced statistics point out the contrasting offensive and defensive units. Overall yards per play from the Kent State offense is 6.27, while the defense sits at 6.28.

The Golden Flashes have given up an explosive drive on 19% of opponent attempts, right in line with an offense that has had an explosive drive on 19% of its 116 possessions.

For every offensive anomaly, there's an equal mirror shortcoming with the defense.

Kent State Defense

Kent State's defense runs exclusively out of the 3-3-5, sending a heavy amount of blitzes on 34% of snaps. The Golden Flashes send four rushers on 50% of blitz attempts, but a large portion of pressures come from sending five.

Central Michigan will be able to get anything short against a defense that will look to stop the explosive play.

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Central Michigan Chippewas

Central Michigan Offense

An upset over Western Michigan in the initial iteration of midweek MACtion has catapulted the Chips into a race for the West Division.

Head coach Jim McElwain runs out of the 11 personnel on 70% of offensive snaps with a 69% tendency to attempt a pass, but it was the ground game of running back Lew Nichols III that sealed the win over Western Michigan.

Lew Nichols 61 yard run!!

— ✯✯✯✯✯ (@FTBVids_YT) November 4, 2021

Central Michigan Defense

Central Michigan is one of the most explosive offenses in the nation with a rank in the top 35 for both rush and pass expected points per attempt.

The real handicap in this game may come with the defense.

A top-40 pass rush highlights a front-seven unit that consistently plays in the opponent's backfield.  Central Michigan is sixth in the nation in tackles for loss per game.

An overall rank of 26th in Defensive Havoc will be in play against a Kent State team that middles in pass blocking.

Kent State vs. Central Michigan Matchup Analysis

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

Kent State Offense vs. Central Michigan Defense
Rush Success724
Line Yards1030
Pass Success10251
Pass Blocking**7344
Big Play10566
Finishing Drives8690
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Central Michigan Offense vs. Kent State Defense
Rush Success6897
Line Yards3298
Pass Success42116
Pass Blocking**59106
Big Play53115
Finishing Drives8887
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling9237
Middle 8106102
SP+ Special Teams11972
Plays per Minute215
Rush Rate61.4% (22)49.6% (102)

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

Kent State vs. Central Michigan Betting Pick

The total is completely dependent on the tempo of the game, as both teams fall outside the top 100 in Defensive Finishing Drives. On the season, Kent State is allowing 3.6 points per scoring attempt to opponents, while Central Michigan's defense is at 3.7 per opponent trip inside the 40-yard line.

If there's a tiebreaker in predicting which offense may stumble, the Chippewas have the advantage in Havoc and tackling.

Central Michigan is top-20 in tackling, an important metric in stopping the explosive play. Conversely, Kent State has a defense that resides outside the top 100 in tackling.

Another fly in the Golden Flashes ointment is the Chips' ability to stuff the run. Central Michigan ranks 11th in all of FBS in Stuff Rate, a measurement of stopping the run at or behind the line of scrimmage.

The Action Network projection makes Central Michigan -2 with a total of 72.5. There's no value in the current market number of -3, but with tempo and lackluster defensive play, this is the live-trading game of the night.

A case could be made to take a position on Kent State pregame and look for the Chips live. The projected total is spot on with the market, but the Central Michigan defense and special teams outrank Kent State in numerous categories.

Look for the Chippewas to get additional stops and additional scores during Wednesday night MACtion.

Pick: Central Michigan ML -130 or Better | Central Michigan Team Total Over 38 or Better

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