Two unexpected teams meet Saturday in the MAC Championship Game. Central Michigan was picked last in west division and Miami (Ohio) second in the east in the MAC Preseason Football Poll. Both teams overachieved, especially the Chips, en route to the title game at Ford Field. It’s the first time either program has appeared in this game since 2010. The RedHawks are coming off one of their worst performances of the season in a 41-27 setback against Ball State last Saturday. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Miami. CMU comes in with momentum after a 49-7 romp over Toledo on Saturday to cement their spot in the title game. The Chips have won three straight overall and six of their last seven after starting the season 2-3.
ESPN’s FPI gives Central Michigan a 62.8% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Saturday’s MAC Championship Game matchup between the RedHawks and Chippewas.
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Miami (Ohio) vs. Central Michigan Game Details
Date: Saturday, December 7
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Location: Ford Field (Detroit, Michigan)
Spread: Central Michigan -6.5
This line opened at Central Michigan -3 and has moved to Central Michigan -6.5 with the majority of the bets and money coming in on the Chips. This line is correlated to the action and has moved with the market.
- RedHawks are 7-5 SU and 6-6 ATS this season
- Chippewas are 8-4 SU and 9-3 ATS this season
Analysis & Pick
I really like the Chips in this matchup. Miami looked sloppy last Saturday against Ball State and lost by two touchdowns. Meanwhile, CMU has all the momentum and steamrolled Toledo by 42 points last Saturday. That win showed just how focused the Chips are right now under head coach Jim McElwain as they were able to keep their composure and play their best game of the season with the MAC West division title on the line. Jonathan Ward is a force to be reckoned with for CMU. The senior running back has churned out 1,056 yards this season with 14 touchdowns. Expect to see a lot of Ward on Saturday against a struggling Miami defense. I’ll tail the line movement here and back McElwain’s Chips continuing their improbable run with some MAC hardware.
PICK: Central Michigan -6.5
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith