Oskeim Sports analyzes the MAC basketball game between Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan and gives two daily sports picks herein.
Central Michigan head coach Keno Davis arrived on campus in 2012-13 and has turned around the Chippewas’ basketball program. In 2016-17, Central Michigan finished with the third-best offense in the nation by embracing the three-point shot. The Chippewas averaged 88.3 points per game, giving rise to the program’s “3MU” moniker.
Central Michigan finished the 2016-17 campaign ranked in the top 10 nationally in six statistical categories: points per game, three-point field goals per game, total three-pointers, three-point field goal attempts, free throw percentage and total free throws.
Coach Davis spent the summer emphasizing the importance of defense, and the turnaround from last year’s numbers are remarkable. The Chippewas finished ranked 345th in the nation in scoring defense (87.7 ppg) last year; through fifteen games in 2017-18, Central Michigan is ranked 43rd nationally (65.7 ppg) and 28th nationally in field goal percentage defense (.396).
The Chippewas are allowing 65.7 points per game on 39.6% shooting from the field to teams that would combine to average 71.7 points per game against a mediocre defense. Eastern Michigan takes the floor with a pedestrian attack that rates 2.9 points per game worse than average (76.1 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 79.0 points per game to an average offensive squad).
Central Michigan has demonstrated the ability to win competitively-priced games, defeating Sam Houston State, Cal Poly, Montana State and Ohio as favorites of fewer than three points. The Chippewas also upset Cal State-Bakersfield on a neutral court and are 4-2 ATS away from home this season.
Eastern Michigan enters tonight’s having lost four of its last 5 games, including failing to cover the Vegas number in each of its past three contests. The Eagles are a money-burning 8-17 ATS in its last 25 games overall, 18-39 ATS versus .601 or greater opposition, 3-9 ATS in its last twelve affairs off a straight-up loss, 5-16 ATS in its last 21 conference clashes and 2-9 ATS in its last eleven games after failing to meet market expectations.
I also like the fact that Central Michigan is ranked 1st in the nation in free throw percentage (.807), 8th in fewest fouls (224) and 10th in personal fouls per game (14.9). The Chippewas current lineup features nine players who average double-digit minutes played and three players who average ten or more points per game.
Central Michigan sophomore forward David DiLeo has emerged as one of the best players on the team, ranking second in the MAC in three-pointers made and fifth in free throw shooting (.846). In contrast, Eastern Michigan is shooting just 69.0% from the charity stripe this season, including just 67.2% at home.
The one concern I have about this game is the fact that Central Michigan has lost four straight meetings in this series (0-4 ATS), including both regular-season games last season. The Chippewas are also 1-4 ATS in their last five trips to Eastern Michigan. Grab the points with Central Michigan as one of Oskeim’s free daily sports picks for Tuesday, January 9.
Oskeim’s Free Daily Sports Picks for January 9:
- Central Michigan (+4.5) over Eastern Michigan
- Boise State (+4) over Fresno State
Oskeim Sports provides sports bettors with both free daily sports picks and premium daily sports picks 365 days per year.