Today's Free Picks for
Posted on August 5
Eastern Michigan to win MAC +800
.353 is the number that represents the Eagles’ win-percentage in one-possession games dating back to 2017. Over the years, we have highlighted EMU’s spate of snake bites that have left with them with a won-loss record that is deceptive and does not appropriately convey the quality that Coach Chris Creighton has cultivated. In 2018, the MAC Championship was settled between the Buffalo Bulls and a perennial power of the conference, Northern Illinois. The Huskies went onto capture the MAC crown but they also crossed paths with Eagles earlier that year. Mirroring the trend of Eastern Michigan being on the wrong end of the equation, the Eagles fell to the Huskies 26-23 in overtime. A week before that Eastern Michigan fell on the road in overtime against Mountain West beast San Diego State. In fact, the two losses were bookended by a 35-28 defeat against Buffalo (the other MAC Championship Participant), and a 27-24 loss against Western Michigan to round off the skid. The question in Ypsilanti remains if Eastern Michigan had defeated Buffalo or San Diego State, how would’ve the trajectory of its season changed?
With a new year comes new hope. In the MAC, it is often the same three teams that are favored to win the conference hardware: Toledo, Ohio, and Northern Illinois. Once again, that trinity has emerged at the forefront but the Eagles perhaps can upset the apple cart. However, a schedule can be a big part of setting the course for a team’s success. For Eastern Michigan, they kick off their campaign at Coastal Carolina in what will be a winnable contest for the Eagles. They’re currently a 5½-point road favorite.
After that, the Eagles will play two road games against Power Five opposition in Kentucky and Illinois. Should EMU play either or both of those two teams close, it is certainly a good way to find their feet against premium opposition before embarking into conference play. However, this team did in fact upset Purdue (a team that blew out Ohio State) last year in its own stead, so nothing is truly ever out of question. The Eagles follow up with a tune-up game against FCS Central Connecticut State on September 21st before getting a bye week and opening MAC play against their rival Central Michigan who won just one game last year. After that, EMU hosts Ball State (who went 4-8 in 2018) and gets an opportunity to follow that up with avenging last year’s heartbreak against Western Michigan in the week thereafter. When it is all said and done, EMU could find itself 4-2 or maybe even 5-1 (if they stage an upset) before they enter the meat of MAC play.
A senior quarterback is always a good player to have to lead a team, especially one as electrifying as Mike Glass III. In the eight games he played last year, he ran for 412 yards with six touchdowns. He was 72/117 in the air for 1024 yards and nine touchdowns with only 1 pick. He seemed to provide a spark for the offense... when healthy. Let’s hope he stays upright. All in all, EMU’s defensive line and backs are fairly experienced, as are many of their players at the skill positions. They offensive line lost some players, which is a bit of a concern but it is also part of the reason why the price on the Eagles is so appealing. Finally, Emu will have to take on the role of the road Warrior this season, as they have just five home games but sometimes that leads to a greater camaraderie and an “us against the world” mentality. Now we get to take advantage of the value that presents itself should the bounces start to go in the Eagles’ direction. At the price offered, EMU is certainly worth a look and may even present a lot of hedge possibility if nothing else.
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Eastern Michigan +800 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 16.00)