Game time: Noon ET, Sept. 25, 2021
Venue: Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, MI
Where to watch: ESPN+
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Central Michigan -10; O/U 56.5; CMC -450, FIU +340
BetMGM: Central Michigan -10.5; O/U 56.5; CMC -417, FIU +325
Caesars: Central Michigan -10; O/U 56.5; CMC -430, FIU +330
Florida International: 1-2
Central Michigan: 1-2
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Florida International - Central Michigan preview and analysis
FIU: lost 54-21 at Texas Tech on Sept. 18
Central Michigan: lost 49-21 at LSU on Sept. 18
Take your pick on which one is the worst of the bunch.
It’d probably be the Florida International Panthers instead of the Central Michigan Chippewas at this point. It’s not like they’re the worst programs of the bunch, but they will meet Saturday to determine which one isn’t worse.
The two teams will meet on Saturday in Mount Pleasant in what’s bound to be a matchup of many touchdowns and no defense.
Both teams are coming off at least four-touchdown losses to respective Power 5 programs. Florida International quarterback Max Bortenschlager was stifled by the suddenly-raucous Texas Tech Red Raiders defense; he completed only 12-of-27 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns in a 54-21 loss.
FIU’s defense saw TTU quarterback Tyler Shough throw for 399 yards and four touchdowns in a near-perfect outing, while the running game even combined for almost five yards per carry and two touchdowns.
Much was the same for Central Michigan against the LSU Tigers. The Chippewas fell behind 35-7 at halftime against an angry LSU team that lost to the UCLA Bruins two weeks ago, and ended up losing 49-21.
Central Michigan had no answer for LSU quarterback Max Johnson’s 372-yard, five-touchdown effort. Meanwhile, Central Michigan quarterback Jacob Sirmon was held to 156 yards and one touchdown on 24 attempts. Opponents were dominating in these weeks.
But it’s the home team coming in as the double-digit favorite, which plans to stay that way unless something comes up as the week progresses.
Give the home team the edge here. It’s hard to pinpoint which team is actually the best out of this matchup. While part of me thinks Bortenschlager is the better quarterback, never discount a hometown defense to make enough plays for the win. But expect FIU to cover. Central Michigan by 6
Florida International is 4-13 against the spread in its last 17 September games.
The over is 6-1 in FIU’s last seven in games following a non-conference game.
Central Michigan is 8-1 against the spread as a favorite and 8-2 at home ATS.
Players to watch
FIU: The Panthers need to get the run game going if Bortenschlager has another dud like Saturday. D’Vonte Price had only 15 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown against the Red Raiders. They need to get him more carries.
Central Michigan: Watch for top receiver JaCorey Sullivan to go for another big game. He was the only one that seemed to show up against LSU, catching five passes for 114 yards and a touchdown that went 78 yards in the first quarter.
Passing: Max Bortenschlager -- 710 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: D’Vonte Price -- 327 yards, 4 TD
Receiving: Tyrese Chambers -- 217 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Daniel Jackson -- 18 tackles, 2 sacks
Passing: Jacob Sirmon -- 561 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Lew Nichols II -- 232 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: JaCorey Sullivan -- 250 yards, 4 TD
Defense: Gage Kreski -- 16 tackles
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