Central Michigan vs. San Diego State Prediction: New Mexico Bowl Pick

Getty Central Michigan will take on San Diego State in the New Mexico Bowl

The Central Michigan Chippewas are 3.5-point favorites over the San Diego State Aztecs in Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl.

Central Michigan (8-5) is playing in its 10th bowl game in the last 14 years. The Chippewas fell short in the MAC Championship Game, losing 26-21 to Miami (Ohio). CMU has an elite passing offense featuring a pair of all-MAC wide receivers, Kalil Pimpleton and JaCorey Sullivan. The Chips offense is averaging 31.9 points and 445.6 yards per game this season.

San Diego State (9-3) is playing in a bowl game for the 10th consecutive year. The Aztecs expect senior quarterback Ryan Agnew to play after missing the win over BYU on November 30 due to a left calf injury. San Diego State has won six of their last eight games and boasts a stingy defense that ranks fourth nationally in scoring defense allowing just 12.8 points per game.

ESPN’s FPI gives Central Michigan a 63.2% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl matchup between the Chippewas and Aztecs.

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Central Michigan vs. San Diego State Game Details

Date: Saturday, December 21
Time: 2:00 p.m. ET
Location: Dreamstyle Stadium (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Central Michigan -3.5
Total: 40.5

*All lines and odds courtesy of SportsMemo, Covers, & The Action Network

Line Movement

This line opened at San Diego State -6.5 and has been bet all the way down to San Diego State -3.5 despite the majority of bets and money coming in on the Aztec. This indicates a significant reverse line move favoring Central Michigan.

Betting Trends

  • Central Michigan is 8-5 SU and 9-4 ATS this season
  • San Diego State is 9-3 SU and 7-5 ATS this season
  • Over is 9-4 in Central Michigan games this season
  • Under is 11-1 in San Diego State games this season

Analysis & Pick

This is a classic game of strength versus strength. The high-powered Central Michigan offense against the stout San Diego State defense. Most of the time, in this case, the better defense getting points would be my initial play. But when I took a closer look, I found out just how inept the Aztecs offense has been this season. Getting back Ryan Agnew will certainly help, but I’m not sure San Diego State will be able to move the ball effectively, hence the ultra-low total of 40.5 in this game. On the other side of the ball, Central Michigan has a pair of strong defensive prospects. Defensive lineman Sean Adesanya led the MAC with 14.5 TFL was second with seven sacks, while linebacker Troy Brown leads the team with 84 tackles and three interceptions. I think Central Michigan will be able to control the tempo on both sides and completes a remarkable turnaround season. The Chips went 1-11 last year but can earn their ninth victory for first-year head coach Jim McElwain with a strong bowl performance, and I think they get it.

PICK: Central Michigan -3.5

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Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith