The first two weeks of MACtion have been profitable for Michigan bettors who backed local schools.
Through two weeks, Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan are a combined 6-0 against the spread. But unfortunately, that undefeated streak will come to an end on Wednesday with Central and Western set to play each other. And no, a push is not possible — the game is currently set as a pick’em.
Each of the three Michigan teams have earned their 2-0 record ATS in vastly different ways. Here’s a quick rundown of their seasons so far.
Eastern Michigan bettors might be happy about the Eagles’ season so far, but I’m sure that does little to dampen the team’s 0-2 record. But despite being underdogs in each of its first games of the season, Eastern Michigan has to feel like it could easily be 2-0 straight up so far.
As 4.5-point underdogs against Kent State, Eastern had a 23-20 fourth-quarter lead and appeared poised to get the ball back. Kent State’s deep third-down pass down the middle of the field fell incomplete, forcing the Golden Flashes to punt. But Eastern was flagged for sideline interference, resulting in a 15-yard penalty and a first down. Kent State would score the game-winning touchdown on the drive to secure a 27-23 win.
It was more heartbreak for Eastern last week. The Eagles jumped out to a 21-7 lead over Ball State despite entering as 9.5-point underdogs and would eventually lead 24-13 midway through the third quarter. But once again, Eastern fell apart, with Ball State outscoring the Eagles 25-7 the rest of the way. Ball State scored on a 1-yard touchdown run from Caleb Huntley with six seconds remaining to spoil Eastern’s upset bid.
The Eagles’ loss overshadowed the efficient day from their quarterback, Preston Hutchison, who completed 17 of 29 passes for 250 yards, one touchdown and ran for 104 yards and three touchdowns.
Eastern Michigan will look for its first win on Wednesday against Toledo. Eastern is once again an underdog with the line at 6.5.
If there was a game that epitomized the unpredictability of MACtion, it was Western’s 41-38 win over Toledo.
The Broncos trailed 38-28 with 2:54 remaining in the game. With Toledo playing soft coverage, Western completed a 70-yard drive in 2:09 with a Kaleb Eleby 1-yard touchdown run. But instead of cutting the deficit to just a field goal, Thiago Kapps missed the extra point, giving Toledo a 38-34 lead.
Western would go on and recover the onside kick to keep its comeback chances alive. Then, with 17 seconds left, Eleby faked the spike and found a wide open Jaylen Hall for a 9-yard touchdown and 41-38 victory, securing a cover on the 1.5 spread.
The Broncos’ season-opening 58-13 win over Akron contained far less drama as Western easily covered the 20.5-point spread.
The Chippewas were forced to start the season with redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Richardson. Last year’s season-opening starter, David Moore, was suspended for a positive test for an NCAA-banned substance on Oct. 7, 2019. Moore has remained out as his status is still pending an NCAA waiver.
Still, despite going with a new quarterback, Central Michigan finds itself 2-0. Richardson had a productive debut in the 30-27 win over Ohio, completing 23 of 41 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown as Central won outright as 3-point underdogs.
But last week’s 40-10 win over Northern Illinois was about the Chippewas’ defense. Northern Illinois failed to move the ball against Central’s defense and only scored a garbage touchdown in the final seconds when the outcome had been decided and the Chippewas had easily covered the 6.5-point spread.
Offensively, Central Michigan found success on the ground, accounting for 237 yards on 42 attempts (5.6).