Miami Ohio vs. Central Michigan Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Market Overreaction in MAC Championship Game?

Miami Ohio vs. Central Michigan Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Market Overreaction in MAC Championship Game? article feature image

Danny Wild, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Chuck Martin

  • Updated Miami Ohio vs. Central Michigan odds list CMU as a 6.5-point favorite for Saturday's MAC Championship Game (12 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
  • Both these teams were longshots to reach the conference title game, but one has been trending in a more positive direction in the last few weeks.
  • Should you back Central Michigan at a slightly inflated number, or count on Miami Ohio's offense to do enough to cover?
  • Our experts give their Miami Ohio vs. Central Michigan betting picks and predictions.

MAC Championship Odds: Miami of Ohio vs. Central Michigan

  • Spread: Central Michigan -6.5
  • Over/Under: 54
  • Time: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Location: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.

The MAC was unpredictable as ever in 2019.

A year after going 1-11, the Central Michigan Chippewas turned to former Florida head coach Jim McElwain to resurrect the program. He did that and then some.

Central Michigan finished with the best record against the spread in 2019, going 9-2-1 versus the number. The Chippewas punched their ticket to Detroit by winning five of their last six games, culminating with a convincing 49-7 win over Toledo in Week 14.

Despite a run to the title game, Miami of Ohio has looked anything but convincing over the last month of the season. The Redhawks finished the season with a 3-point victory over winless Akron and a 41-27 loss to Ball State.

These two teams are trending in opposite directions, but this is the MAC so anything can happen.

Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $200 and a deposit bonus of up to $500.

Miami of Ohio vs. Central Michigan Line Movement

The title of most popular championship game pick — at least by spread percentage — belongs to Central Michigan. The Chippewas are drawing 86% of bettors and 90% of money, and have become touchdown favorites at most books after opening at -6.5.

And just as CMU has been especially popular, so too has the over. It’s currently receiving 89% of bets and nearly all the money, but oddsmakers have stood pat at the common opening number of 54. Of course, with this being among the lesser bet games in terms of overall ticket count, those relatively extreme percentages could regress a bit as kickoff approaches and more wagers are placed. — Danny Donahue

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Collin Wilson: Does the Central Michigan Steam Make Sense?

Times were tough for Central Michigan in 2018. The Chippewas went 1-11 last season and their only win came against an FCS school, the Maine Black Bears.

Central Michigan tasked McElwain to turn the program around and he responded by turning the Chipps into the most successful passing attack in the MAC.

Early markets opened this game at Central Michigan -2.5 and it was quickly steamed to -7 for good reason.

Miami of Ohio struggled down the stretch and the Redhawks were out-gained in victories against Kent State, Ohio and lowly Bowling Green. Akron, a historically bad team, earned its only cover of the season against Miami on Nov. 20. Miami also dropped its season finale against Ball State, though there was nothing really at stake for the Redhawks in that game.

Things almost took a disastrous turn in that game as quarterback Brett Gabbert — who was just named as the conference’s top freshman — got hurt. Head coach Chuck Martin said his quarterback is “more than probable” for Saturday’s trip to MoTown.

A healthy Gabbert may not even matter, as Central Michigan has the defensive rankings to shut down the Redhawks.

The Chipps are third in the country in stuff rate, eighth in line yards, 15th in power success rate and 21st in rushing success rate. They should have their way with a Miami offense that ranks outside the top 100 in those same categories.

Our projected spread for this game is Central Michigan -3.5 but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that these two teams are trending in opposite directions. Sometimes it takes too long for power ratings to catch up in these scenarios.

The Bet: Central Michigan -7

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Kyle Miller: Central Michigan Will Be Too Much To Handle

Only one of these football teams looks like a conference championship contender. Miami benefited greatly from playing in the weaker MAC East, so while the Redhawks finished 6-2 in conference play, I’m not a believer.

I was high on Central Michigan in the preseason because I thought Jim McElwain was a big improvement over the previous coaching staff and former Tennessee quarterback Quinten Dormady would steady the position. That’s all come to fruition but this team is much better than even I thought it would be.

The Chippewas’ resurgence has been lead by the big boys in the trenches. Central Michigan ranks 23rd in defensive line score and 19th in offensive line score. Miami has serious problems in the trenches, particularly on their offensive line. That’s significant because the only way the Redhawks have been able to move the ball with long passes. They aren’t going to have time to drop back and take shots.

While Miami’s defense is very solid, Central’s offense outranks them in nearly every category. It should be a good matchup when the Chipps have the ball but I believe they’ll get the better of Miami. I make Central Michigan a 6-point favorite in this game so I hit -3 hard on the opener. I have no hesitation in making a smaller investment on Central Michigan at anything -7 or better.

The Bet: Central Michigan -7

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Kyle Miller is 231-198-12 (53.8%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Stuckey: Has the Line Moved Too Much?

What a turnaround for the Chippewas, who were picked to finish last in the division. Miami’s run to the title game isn’t as surprising, but not many people thought the Redhawks would be in Detroit for this one.

I actually disagree with both of my fine colleagues above and think the market is a little too high on Central Michigan and a little too low on Miami Ohio based on recent results. The Redhawks haven’t been good down the stretch but don’t forget that they had everything locked up weeks ago and had very little to play for down the stretch.

Miami has made its money on special teams this season. It’s one of the reasons why the Redhawks have pulled out a few wins they probably didn’t deserve.

Senior kicker Sam Sloman has been awesome all year, connecting on all 30 extra points and going 21-for-25 on field goal attempts, including 4-for-5 from 50-plus. Maurice Thomas is also a dynamic return man and Kyle Kramer has been rock solid punting the ball (31st nationally in net punting average).

Conversely, the Chipps special teams have been abhorrent. Kicker Ryan Tice is just 12-for-20 on the season

The kicking advantage could be the difference for Miami but I also do expect an aggressive Redhawk defense, which ranks inside the top-5 in tackles for loss, to create some havoc.

Bottom line, this is simply a play on the key number of +7.

The Bet: Miami +7

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Stuckey is 519-478-29 (52.1%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

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