Kent State College Football Preview

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Kent State

College Football

Betting Preview


Times are tough at Kent State and this could be the final year for head coach Paul Haynes. After the Golden Flashes went 11-3 in 2012, Haynes came in and hasn’t had more than Four wins since. Even with 16 returning starters, not many are pegging Kent State to do much, partly due to a loaded Schedule.

Quarterback remains a question with injuries taking over the spring once again. Nick Holley is the favorite for the job, although most of his potential is on the ground where he ran for 920 yards and 10 TDs last season. Through the air, he completed less than 50 percent of his passes for Four TDs and three picks. The offense improved last year, but still only managed just over 20 points per Game. Justin Rankin (511 yards, 3 TDs) returns in the backfield along with a few other guys and that needs to be Kent State’s go-to on offense with the passing Game in doubt. Top receiver Raekwon James (25 receptions, 225 yards) is back, but that’s not saying much along with Kris White and Kavious Price. The line returns three starters and there’s no guarantee this group is better than a year ago.

The Golden Flashes were fine on the defensive side last season, allowing 28.7 points per Game, but that wasn’t nearly enough to remain competitive with a weak offense. With seven starters returning, the defense can be just as good as a year ago, but improvement needs to be made. The line is filled with upperclassmen and experience with senior tackle Jon Cunningham at the top of that list. Two seniors lead at linebacker while the secondary will again be a strong suit after allowing less than 200 passing yards per Game last year. Of course, the Flashes lose their top guys on the back end, meaning some new faces will have to step up into bigger roles.

With questions on both sides of the ball, it’s likely Kent State will fall in all three of its non-Conference road Games and they could all be blowouts against top competition. From there, the Golden Flashes need all of their home Games to end in wins, otherwise a bowl is unlikely again. All of those teams are beatable, but that doesn’t mean anything after getting dropped 42-7 by Bowling Green last year, while not winning any home MAC Games. Drawing BGSU and Miami out of the East division doesn’t help, which makes three wins a real possibility again.

Kent State will probably have issues at quarterback all season, which in turn will lead to no improvement for the offense. And if the defense doesn’t take another step, three or Four wins is definitely the likelihood (over/under at 3.5) for Haynes in what could be his final season at the helm for the Golden Flashes. Their +8500 odds to win the MAC (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) are the second worst, only above Buffalo.


2017 Kent State Golden Flashes Football Schedule

Sept. 2 at Clemson
Sept. 9 vs. Howard
Sept. 16 at Marshall
Sept. 23 at Louisville
Sept. 30 vs. Buffalo
Oct. 7 at Northern Illinois
Oct. 14 vs. Miami (OH)
Oct. 21 at Ohio
Oct. 31 vs. Bowling Green
Nov. 8 at Western Michigan
Nov. 14 vs. Central Michigan
Nov. 21 at Akron

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