Bowling Green vs. Central Michigan Prediction, Odds and Key Players for MAC Quarterfinal (Take the Points with CMU)

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bet for Bowling Green-Central Michigan. 

Dec 9, 2023; Omaha, Nebraska, USA;  Central Michigan Chippewas forward Markus Harding (15) leads the team on the floor against Creighton.
Dec 9, 2023; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Central Michigan Chippewas forward Markus Harding (15) leads the team on the floor against Creighton. / Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Two teams firmly in the mix in the MAC will square off in Cleveland Thursday afternoon playing for a shot in the conference tournament semifinals. No. 4 Central Michigan has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2003 and will need to start its MAC Tournament run with a win as an underdog when they battle No. 5 Bowling Green at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

Both teams finished the regular season strong with back-to-back victories. No. 5 Bowling Green hasn’t been a March Madness participant since 1968. Central Michigan won both of the regular-season matchups with Bowling Green, but each of the tilts went to overtime. Are we in for another thriller? Here’s the betting breakdown of the matchup with a best bet.

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Bowling Green vs. Central Michigan Odds, Spread and Total

Bowling Green vs. Central Michigan Betting Trends

  • Bowling Green is 15-14 ATS this season
  • Central Michigan is 16-14 ATS this season
  • Bowling Green is 8-9 ATS as a favorite this season
  • Central Michigan is 9-9 ATS as an underdog this season
  • The OVER is 15-14 in Bowling Green games this season
  • The OVER is 11-18-1 in Central Michigan games this season

Bowling Green vs. Central Michigan How to Watch

  • Date: Thursday, March 14 
  • Game time: 1:30 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
  • How to watch (TV): ESPN+
  • Bowling Green record: 19-12 
  • Central Michigan record: 18-13

Bowling Green vs. Central Michigan Key Players to Watch

Bowling Green

Marcus Hill: The junior guard is third in the MAC in scoring at 20.6 points per game but has been a key facilitator for Bowling Green, too. Hill dished out 5 assists in each of the last two games in addition to pouring in 37 points. He combined for 37 points in two matchups with Central Michigan this season. 

Central Michigan 

Brian Taylor: A 6-foot-6 senior guard, Taylor is part of a dominant Central Michigan defense and is the team’s leading rebounder. Taylor, who averages 11.4 points per game, grabs eight boards per night and is coming off a monster performance (22 points, 14 rebounds) in Friday’s overtime win over Eastern Michigan. 

Bowling Green vs. Central Michigan Prediction and Pick 

Defenses matter most in March and Central Michigan’s stands out the most in this matchup. The Chippewas boast the No. 3 scoring defense in the MAC (70.2 points per game) and are great where it matters, holding opponents to just 41.1% from the field, which is tops in the league.

Central Michigan is No. 39 in KenPom in effective field goal percentage and excels on the perimeter, where they rank No. 31 in the country against triples. They should force a ton of misses against a Bowling Green offense that is No. 9 in the MAC in field goal percentage (43.3%). They held the Falcons to 27.7% from the field (18-of-65) with 14 turnovers in their last matchup. Bowling Green might create second-chance opportunities at a high rate (No. 2 in the MAC), but it hasn’t translated to more points.

On the offensive side, Central Michigan should have enough against a Bowling Green defense that allows opponents to get comfortable. The Falcons are No. 252 in turnover percentage and Central Michigan protects the rock well. In a projected low-scoring battle of attrition, the points are more valuable. Take Central Michigan as an underdog as the third matchup between these two clubs should come down to the wire again.

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.