Western Michigan Broncos vs. Central Michigan Chippewas Betting Picks and Predictions

November 17, 2020

Date:Wednesday, November 22nd
Time:7:00 PM ET
Network:ESPN2
Venue:Shorts Stadium
Spread:Western Michigan –1
O/U:60.5

The 2-0 Western Michigan Broncos will go on the road Wednesday night to face off with the 2-0 Central Michigan Chippewas at 7:00 PM ET in Shorts Stadium. You can watch the in-state rivalry on ESPN2. The Broncos come in as one-point road favorites, so this is as even of a game as you can get. We’re expecting points with a 60.5 over/under as both offenses can put points on the board. Let’s dive into how this game will go down and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of my CFB Picks and Predictions for this packed weekend slate of football games.

Trends

  • Western Michigan is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games on the road.
  • Central Michigan is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 7 of Western Michigan’s last 8 games played in November.
  • The total has gone OVER in 8 of Central Michigan’s last 11 games.

When The Western Michigan Broncos Have The Ball

The Broncos have taken care of business through the first two weeks of their season, beating up on Akron 58-13 and beating Toledo 41-38 in a thriller. The Broncos held their only lead with 17 seconds left in the game. It was Toledo that dictated the pace of the game and looked to be in control, but Western Michigan woke up late in the third quarter and did just enough to win the game.

Western Michigan wants to run the ball as much as possible on offense and they’ve done it nearly 65% of the time through two games. Sean Tyler (168 yards, TD) and La’Darius Jefferson (104 yards, TD) have split carries and both are averaging over five yards per carry. Senior Jaxson Kincade has only carried it eight times, but two have gone for scores and he’s the guy you’ll see if the ball gets down to the one or two-yard line. This three-headed attack is hard for anyone to stop and especially with an offensive line built for the run.

Just because the Broncos prefer to run the ball, it doesn’t mean they can’t throw it around. Sophomore QB Kaleb Eleby has completed 71.1% of his passes for 546 yards and six touchdowns without throwing a single interception. His insane efficiency and effectiveness has led to a 217.0 QBR. Eleby relies on the running game to open things up in the secondary and Central Michigan will make it a tougher task than either of the last two opponents.

Senior WR D’Wayne Eskridge is a massive weapon on the outside and he’s hauled in 10 balls for 245 yards and three touchdowns. He does a lot of the hard work for Eleby and is the leader of the offense. Sean Tyler has also caught 10 passes out of the backfield for 58 yards as Eleby’s outlet. Skyy Moore starts in the slot opposite Eskridge and he has six catches for 118 yards and a TD. Eleby looks primarily for Eskridge and uses the other two as secondaries off of him.

When The Central Michigan Chippewas Have The Ball

The Chippewas have also gone 2-0 to open the season, and like WMU, have gone through one tough test and one easy one. They opened their season with a slight 30-27 victory over the Miami-Ohio Bobcats before beating up on Northern Illinois 40-10. They’ve been efficient on both sides of the ball, averaging 35 points per game and allowing just 18. They’ll have to keep it up against a Broncos team that won’t give them an inch anywhere.

Similarly to Western Michigan, it all starts with the running game for the Chippewas. Kobe Lewis leads the punch and he’s carried it 44 times for 171 yards and three touchdowns. Lew Nichols III has been the more effective back, averaging nearly double the yards per carry with 22 totes for 122 yards and a touchdown. Nichols has also caught six balls out of the backfield and is the more explosive player. I assume we see a fairly equal mix of the pair in this one.

The Chippewas haven’t been as efficient going through the air with freshman QB Daniel Richardson under center. I think he actually has a lot more upside than Eleby on the other side, but they play it a bit conservatively with him and rightfully so as you can see he isn’t fully confident in the arm just yet. He’s put up 439 yards with three TD’s and one INT through two games.

Richardson does do an excellent job of spreading the love around as six pass-catchers have at least four catches in just two games. Dallas Dixon (113 yards, TD) and Khalil Pimpleton (97 yards, TD) stand out in terms of talent and they’re the primary targets for Richardson. Dixon is more of the prototypical outside WR while Pimpleton is a slot receiver that can take it to the house on any given touch.

Spread Prediction

The Pick: Central Michigan +1

The Central Michigan Chippewas are going to win this in-state rivalry game at home. They’re the younger team and are going to get better with every single game they play. The Chippewas are better defensively and I think Kaleb Eleby has been playing over his head through two weeks. This is a MAC matchup, so don’t expect it to come easy. I just think the Chippewas have a much higher ceiling than the Broncos, who have already played as good as they possibly can. Give me the Chippewas to win this one at home.

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Total Prediction

The Pick: Over 60.5
Final Score Prediction: Central Michigan 38, Western Michigan 34

Both of these teams have averaged 35+ points per game and neither defense is anything to worry about. Neither team has played an excellent offense and I don’t expect either offense to struggle to move the ball. Both offenses do like to run the ball, but they also speed it up and will open things up with the pass in the second-half. This is Wednesday night MACtion and you have to love the over. I’ll take it all the way up to 62 points, which is when I would flip and jump on the under.

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