The only thing better than a two-game midweek MACtion slate is a three-game slate and that’s what we have in store for us tonight. Yesterday’s games were filled with drama, bad weather, and bad turnovers just the types of things we’re looking for in these games. The three games tonight have less impact on the conference championship game but some teams playing tonight can make themselves bowl-eligible. We’ll preview the games and get into a pick for them as well.
If Kent State wants to become bowl-eligible this season they will need to win their next two games starting tonight against a 6-4 Eastern Michigan team. The Golden Flashes are coming off a dominant win over Bowling Green, a game in which they won 40-6 and looked unstoppable on both sides of the ball.
The running ability of this team is by far their strength as quarterback Collin Schlee has been able to get the job done this season with both his arm and legs. Schlee has rushed for 4 touchdowns and thrown for 12 on the season while his backfield mate running back Marquez Cooper has 9 rushing touchdowns. The good news for Kent State should be able to stick with the run-heavy gameplan against this EMU defense.
The Eagles defense is allowing opponents to convert on third down 42.1% of the time so they have struggled to get off the field at times this season. EMU enters this week off a win as well as they were able to beat Akron 34-28. Allowing 28 points to a lackluster Akron team is not a great look for this Eagles' defense.
Offensively EMU is averaging 26.1 points per game and has looked solid in recent weeks. Running back Samson Evans is having a really effective season with 11 touchdowns already. It hasn’t been announced who will start at quarterback for the Eagles but if they continue to start Austin Smith for the second straight week he’ll play a Golden Flashes defense allowing 289.8 passing yards a game.
Kent State is currently favored by -7.5 at home and I don’t like this number for them so I’ll be rolling with Eastern Michigan +7.5 in this one. The Golden Flashes are coming off a great performance but this EMU team has played in three straight one-possession games.
With the way Samson Evans has run the ball for the Eagles, I don’t see the Golden Flashes being able to build a lead bigger than a touchdown. Kent State is 4-6 ATS and 1-3 ATS at home this season so they haven’t been able to cover the number at home.
I don’t advise trying to lay this number with the Golden Flashes. This game could see movement as we get later in the day so if you really want to bet on Kent State then I would wait for it to get to -7 or -6.5 if possible. If you can’t get that number then the Eagles should be the play here.
Unfortunately Western Michigan has no chance of making a bowl game this season but they can play spoiler tonight against Central Michigan. The Chippewas will need to win tonight and next week in order to make a bowl game.
Central Michigan and head coach Jim McElwain have been running a three-quarterback rotation on offense which despite its obscurity the Chippewas have won two games in a row. Last week it was freshman Bert Emanuel Jr. who took over the game with his legs and led CMU to a big win against Buffalo.
Daniel Richardson and Jase Bauer are the other two quarterbacks who make up the rotation so it will be difficult for WMU to prepare for on defense. It’s still unclear if star running back Lew Nichols will be available tonight.
Despite going 1-2 in their last three games Western Michigans' defense has played really strong in those games so we’ll see how prepared they are tonight for all three QBs.
As for the Broncos' offense freshman quarterback, Treyson Bourguet has gotten better each week since they made him the starter. Bourguet will be facing off against a CMU defense allowing an average of 32 points per game so he will have the chance to continue his strong play.
Similar to the first game we previewed I’ll be taking the underdog in this game based on the current number. Western Michigan is currently +10.5 point underdogs and that half point and the promising play of Bourguet make the Broncos the play for me tonight.
Of their three conference wins this season CMU has only been able to win one of them by more than one possession so it's a big number for them to cover against this Broncos team. The Chippewas defense has allowed 20 or more points in the last four weeks and I don’t see that trend stopping tonight so that makes it even tougher to win by 11 or more.
Despite the system's recent success, I don’t feel wildly comfortable laying points with a team rotating three separate quarterbacks and with a star running back possibly unable to play. It looks like it will be a big underdog night for me.
Much like the first two games, we talked about there is one team tonight who is in need of winning out to make a bowl while the other can just play spoiler for the rest of the season. Miami Ohio will need to win tonight and next week to make a bowl but injury problems might keep starting quarterback Brett Gabbert out tonight.
The star QB had missed most of the season but in his first game back he was able to lead his team to a win, however, in last week's loss Gabbert hurt his leg on the last play of the game so his availability tonight is still uncertain. The Redhawks will need to rely on their strong defense to keep their bowl hopes alive if Gabbert can’t go. Miami Ohio’s defense is only allowing an average of 24 points a game this season.
A strong defense might be enough this week against an injury-ridden Northern Illinois offense. The Huskies have played four different quarterbacks this year and relied on late-game heroics from Justin Lynch to carry them to victory in last week's game. It is still unclear whether Lynch or true freshman Nevan Cremascoli will get the start at QB tonight.
The Huskies defense has been inconsistent this season but they’ll need to come up big tonight in order to play spoiler to the Red Hawks.
NIU is currently favored by -1.5 in most sportsbooks, however, I won’t be giving out a pick for this one. The uncertainty at quarterback changes a lot of things in this game for me so my best advice is to live bet this game depending on how the first few minutes go.
The point total in this one is sitting at 44.5 across the board so I recommend waiting to see who will get the start for both teams and see how that certain quarterback looks. Once you make that determination then it might make more sense to bet the live point total.
Miami Ohio is the team to look at for tonight when looking to bet live, if Gabbert gets the start and looks good this Red Hawks team could score points in a hurry.
Eastern Michigan (+7.5)
Western Michigan (+10.5)
No play in Miami (OH) @ NIU (possible live bet candidate)