MAC win totals: Schedules will impact Eastern Michigan, Kent State
Already through the entire Power 5 and on the final lap of the mid-majors, we're down to our last 2021 win total preview.
If you're betting the MAC futures market, here's one team to buy and sell this season.
2021 MAC win totals
Eastern Michigan's a 'tweener in 2021, but I have a feeling it'll end up near the top of the pack this fall.
Last year was a mulligan for head coach Chris Creighton, whose roster ranked No. 124 in the nation in returning production. The pandemic altered the 2020 schedule and Eastern Michigan got the short end of the stick, with road games at Kent State and Ball State out of the gates and separate contests against Toledo, Western Michigan, and Central Michigan. The Eagles went just 2-4 with a minus-2.8 scoring margin.
There should be plenty of urgency this season, considering how many winnable games line the board.
The Eagles match up with St. Francis (PA), UMass, Texas State, Northern Illinois, and Miami (OH) in the first six weeks, then get a date with Bowling Green, plus two other opponents with lower win totals down the stretch.
Eastern Michigan could be an underdog in roughly four contests, but Creighton's been one of the better bets when catching points since taking over in 2014. With 71% of last year's production back, EMU is a great buy-low, especially in such a weak conference.
Whereas Eastern Michigan gets a cakewalk in 2021, Kent State draws a gauntlet - and that may be putting it lightly.
The Golden Flashes have one of the most grueling non-conference slates you could drum up: The program will take a loss in Week 1 at Texas A&M, then get back to even against Virginia Military the following Saturday. Then, there are dates with Iowa, Maryland, Buffalo, at Western Michigan, and at Ohio over the next six weeks.
Kent State played a laughable schedule last fall, barely beating EMU out of the gates before trouncing Akron and Bowling Green. The defense was exposed in the finale versus Buffalo, allowing 70 - yes, 70 - points.
The Golden Flashes have enough talent to win against middling MAC teams, but 'over' bettors are essentially banking on a somewhat perfect run through conference play. I just don't see it happening.
A program that returns the eighth-lowest production in the country from last year needs to build some momentum to get to .500 this year. Considering the lumps it'll take early, I'm out on Kent State.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. Find him on Twitter @AjKolodziej.