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Lew Nichols' Chippewas open as favorites for MAC Championship odds

The MAC is back, and no team is left out in the most unpredictable conference battle in college football. Five different teams have claimed the title over the last six years, with only Northern Illinois managing to win twice in that span.

Central Michigan hasn’t seen the MAC championship game since losing to Miami (Ohio) in 2019, yet the Chippewas (+350) are opening as your favorites to win this year’s title. But don’t count any team out of this conference duel; after all, no team has won back to back since 2012.

Toledo (+400), Miami (+500) and Northern Illinois (+600) round out the top four teams that are capable of being solid MAC championship picks and finishing on top.  

Below we break down the MAC championship best bets and value picks. If you can’t get enough of placing those college football bets for the 2022 season, check out our updated national championship odds and Heisman Trophy odds.

New to the college football scene? Check out our handy college football betting guide to help you get in the action. Also, keep an eye on our college football odds page for the latest up-to-date betting lines.

Central Michigan Favored In 2022 MAC Championship Odds

2022 Odds To Win MAC Championship
TeamOdds
Central Michigan +350
Toledo+400
Miami (Ohio)+500
Northern Illinois +600
Western Michigan+900
Kent State+900
Eastern Michigan+1200
Ohio+1400
Buffalo +2000
Ball State+2000
Bowling Green+4000
Akron+10000

Odds as of July 15 at BetOnline Sportsbook

As the +350 favorite, Central Michigan has implied odds of 22.22 percent to win the MAC football championship. Check out our odds calculator for more details.

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Central Michigan’s Returning Squad Favored

In the Mid-American Conference, there’s rarely ever one or two dominant teams. The current top four favored teams all finished with records of 6-2 or 5-3 in conference play last season. With the championship odds looking close, you can expect another tight race within the MAC.

But there are still some factors to consider when making your MAC championship prediction. Central Michigan wrapped up 2021 with a 9-4 overall record and a 6-2 conference slate. The Chippewas finished the season winning seven of their last eight games, the reason they’ve soared to the top of this year’s odds.

The most promising aspect of the upcoming season is their lethal roster of returning players, including Lew Nichols, college football’s leading rusher a year ago with 1,848 yards. The sophomore led an offense that averaged 32.3 points per game, ranking 35th in the nation.

Quarterback Daniel Richardson is also coming back. He stayed healthy for all 13 games last season, completing 191 of 316 passes (60.4%) for 2,633 yards. The sophomore also collected 24 touchdowns and threw only six interceptions.  

CMU lost defensive leader Gage Kreski, who signed an NFL contract in April after pacing the team with 80 tackles in 2021. Head coach Jim McElwain will look for the duo of Donte Kent and John Whiteside to power the defense. Kent recorded 45 solo tackles, second only to Kreski, while Whiteside put up a middling 28 total tackles.

With the return of Richardson (7-2 last season as a starter) and Nichols, it’s no wonder the Chippewas are currently favored to win the Mid-American Conference.

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Best Value In MAC Odds: Northern Illinois +600

The defending MAC champions have a chance to break the 10-year curse and win the crown in back-to-back years, which would make them the first to do so since they did it in 2011-12.

The Northern Illinois team finished 9-5 overall and 6-2 within the conference last season. The Huskies have 17 starters coming back, including QB Rocky Lombardi, RB Harrison Waylee and WR Trayvon Rudolph. 

Northern Illinois has a good leg to stand on with Lombardi throwing for them. The junior completed 200 of 343 passes (58.3%) for 2,597 yards a season ago.

The Huskies did lose their leading rusher, Jay Ducker, who transferred to Memphis. But the loss doesn’t seem too big with the mighty rushing and receiving pairing of Waylee and Rudolph anchoring the offense.

Rudolph led the team with 892 receiving yards last season, ranking him sixth in the MAC. Waylee, meanwhile, is returning from an arm injury after making only five appearances last season, when the sophomore still managed to rush for 574 yards.

After joining the team in 2019, head coach Thomas Hammock posted a disappointing 5-13 record in his first two seasons before the Huskies turned things around last year with a 9-4 mark on the way to the MAC championship title.

With Hammock looking to continue building success with the team he created, a steady QB and a well-rounded offense, it’s not hard to believe Northern Illinois will end up where they left off last season – champions.

Take advantage of the early MAC championship odds and invest in the Huskies now.

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How To Understand MAC Football Odds

At any college football sportsbook, you’ll see futures odds that look something like this:

Central Michigan Chippewas +350

Northern Illinois Huskies +600

If you think the favored Central Michigan Chippewas will win the conference title and you bet $100, you’d get a payout of $450 – your original money is returned along with your winnings of $350. Conversely, if you’re looking at Northern Illinois to win back-to-back conference championships, that same $100 gives you $700 – you get your $100 back coupled with your winnings of $600. You can use our Odds Calculator to find out what you’d win based on the odds and amount bet.