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Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Wyoming CowboysPoint Spread - Pick

Central Michigan Chippewas (8-4 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. Wyoming Cowboys (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS)
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Date/Time: Friday, December 22, 2017 at 4PM EST
Where: Albertson's Stadium, Boise, Idaho

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: CMU pk/WYO pk
Over/Under Total: 44.5

The Central Michigan Chippewas take on the Wyoming Cowboys on December 22 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The MAC's Central Michigan Chippewas last played on November 24 with a nice 31-24 win over Northern Illinois. The win was their fifth in a row, as they were able to overcome a tough start to finish very strong. They will face the Mountain West Conference's Wyoming, a 7-win team that wasn't able to finish the season strongly without QB Josh Allen. Their last game, on November 25, was an alarming 20-17 loss to a 1-11 San Jose State team. They are hoping the extra time off affords them a chance to finish the season on a positive note. Still, to make a Potato Bowl betting pick is not easy, with this being a tough game to call.

At one point, Wyoming looked like they were cruising along pretty well. After a 1-2 start, they won 6 of their next 7 games. But a shoulder injury to Josh Allen forced him to miss the last two games and his absence was felt with the offense scoring a combined 24 points to Fresno and San Jose. They have wasted some nice performances on the other side of the ball, as the defense has been pretty solid this season. It just seemed that the Cowboys limped to the finish line, whereas their opponent thrived toward the end of the season. They do have the extra time to get healthier, so we'll see if they can use the break to get closer to their midseason form.

The Wyoming offense couldn't afford a step back, as they have been relying on a strong defense and didn't have the offense to pound teams into submission. Junior Nick Smith threw two critical picks in their last game and though he has shown ability, they'd like to get Allen in there, an efficient passer who can also do damage with his legs. Only once since September have they topped 28 points in scoring, so they need everything they can get. Their run-game is pretty ineffective, led by Trey Woods and his 474 yards. The quarterback leads the team in rushing touchdowns. CJ Johnson has some springiness at receiver, with Austin Conway having 58 catches this season. It's a pretty no-frills group, hence their 22.3 points scoring per game this season.

With this Wyoming offense, the fact that they did as well as they did and won 6 of 7 at one point is because of a stout defense that has a flair for making big plays. They've allowed an average of less than 18 points a game and are especially stout against the pass, which should be a concern of Central Michigan. The defense finished the season not allowing over 20 points in the last five games. Up-front, they get after quarterbacks with Carl Granderson and Youhanna Ghaifan. Cornerback Rico Gafford and safety Andrew Wingard both have four picks. S Marcus Epps has also made plays all season. In the middle, Cassh Maluia and Logan Wilson have been very active on this side of the ball.


Central Michigan started 2-0, but a run where they lost four of their next five games threatened to derail their season. After losing to conference power Toledo, they never tasted defeat again. Their last win, a 31-24 victory over NIU, was a big win and spoke to how well they turned things around this season. Both sides of the ball improved over the course of the season.

The Central Michigan offense is led by former Wolverines senior quarterback Shane Morris. After some rocky passages early, Morris became less mistake-prone and more efficient. In his last five games, he has 14 touchdowns and just two picks. He has also run it in three times, working with a good back in Jonathan Ward. Morris was just shy of 3000 yards passing this season, connecting with dangerous ball-catchers like Mark Chapman, Corey Willis, Tyler Conklin, with Ward chipping in too. After some rocky moments earlier in the season, they have averaged almost 42 points a game the last five weeks.

The Central Michigan defense will give up points. A lot of that has been camouflaged with how well their offense has performed coming down the stretch. But opponents haven't had too hard of a time putting points up against this bunch. When Eastern Michigan is putting up 30, who's to say Wyoming can't do a lot better? Still, they have some nice playmaking ability on this side of the ball. Joe Ostman could be the top pass-rusher in the conference. The secondary is patrolled by guys like Josh Cox, Amari Coleman, and Sean Bunting, who have a combined 14 interceptions. Linebacker Alex Briones has been a major factor on this defense, as well.

If you want to say Wyoming is the better team and played in a tougher conference, that's fair enough. And if you want to take it a step farther and say their defense could take over this game, you may also have a point. I still expect a highly-competitive game that could come down to execution. In terms of injuries and momentum, the Chippewas have the edge and I see their better form of late having a big impact, as they get the cover in the Potato Bowl.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Central Michigan Chippewas in a pick-'em. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Central Michigan vs. Wyoming game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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