This game comes down to one thing: Eastern Michigan’s awful defense.
To evaluate offense and defense, I use success rate. For an offense, a play is a success if it gains the following fraction of yards towards the next first down.
- 50% on 1st down
- 70% on 2nd down
- 100% on 3rd, 4th down
After schedule adjustments that I developed, Eastern Michigan has the 129th out of 130 FBS defenses by success rate. Only Akron is worse.
Eastern Michigan’s defense is worse than Massachusetts (128th), a team that lost this past week by 25 points to FCS Maine.
Eastern Michigan’s defense is worse than Florida International (127th), a team that coach Butch Davis abandoned this week. Davis said that the school’s administration is “sabotaging the program.“
Eastern Michigan’s defense could not stop DJ Uiagalelei on a tricycle.
Western Michigan’s offense should throw more, but QB Kaleb Eleby has still led the 30th best offense by my adjusted success rate. They had a 34.8% success rate against Michigan, not much worse than the 36.9% that Michigan State had against the same defense.
On defense, Western Michigan is solid, ranking 70th in my adjusted success rate. To stay in this game, Eastern Michigan will need a great game from QB Ben Bryant. The pass offense has been good (35th) for Eastern Michigan.
My college football model likes Western Michigan by 8.9 points. In addition, the sharp Circa sportsbook is leaning towards Western Michigan by favoring them by six points. This suggest value on Western Michigan -5.5 on Tuesday night.
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