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2018

Central Michigan

College Football

Betting Preview

Central Michigan has made a bowl in John Bonamego’s first three seasons in charge, but this may be his hardest campaign yet with a sophomore expected to start at quarterback. From an eight-win team, the Chippewas have 10 returning starters that will make things difficult and that’s why their over/under is sitting at 4.5 wins at 5Dimes Sportsbook with +4500 odds to win the MAC.

There are questions almost everywhere outside of running back for an offense that averaged 28.5 points per game. Jonathan Ward was a monster last season with 988 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground, as well as 41 receptions for 361 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He should see the ball even more, although behind a line with two returning starters, his averages may take a dive. Sophomore Tony Poljan, last year’s backup quarterback, is looks set to start over senior Tommy Lazzaro. Poljan has size and some athletic ability, but inexperience could be an issue behind this line with new wide receivers. Brandon Childress (five receptions) is the top returning receiver and he was injured for most of 2017 with Cameron Cole (six rec.) and Damon Terry (three rec.) also set for bigger roles. 

The situation is slightly better on the defensive side, although five returning starters from a mediocre group won’t make things easy to improve. Everything is built around senior linebacker Malik Fountain, who has been one of the best in the conference the last two years, and fellow senior Alex Briones helps him. The front four is mostly set with seniors Mitch Stanitzek and Nate Brisson-Fast looking to improve their numbers. The biggest problem comes in the secondary where there’s a slew of young, inexperienced starters outside of corner Sean Bunting. If the front seven is good enough, that could help the back end, but that’s asking for a lot.

The Chips have some manageable non-conference games with Kansas and Maine both being chances for early wins. If they can win those, only three MAC wins will be needed to hit the over and home games against Ball State and Bowling Green should provide two. If Poljan works out at quarterback, there will be opportunities for a road win or two, namely the trip to Eastern, so taking the over on CMU isn’t that out of the question. The downside is the lack of returning starters and a sophomore quarterback leading the way. Ward can only do so much at running back and they don’t have a top-half defense in the conference so it won’t be easy surpassing four wins.

 

2018 Central Michigan Chippewas Football Schedule

Sept. 1 at Kentucky

Sept. 8 vs. Kansas

Sept. 15 at Northern Illinois

Sept. 22 vs. Maine

Sept. 29 at Michigan State

Oct. 6 vs. Buffalo

Oct. 13 vs. Ball State

Oct. 20 vs. Western Michigan

Oct. 27 at Akron

Nov. 3 at Eastern Michigan

Nov. 10 vs. Bowling Green

Nov. 23 at Toledo

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