Kent State is an example of how quickly things can change in college football.
Entering the 2023 campaign, BetMGM has their win total at just 2.5 games, with the under at -140 and the over sitting at +120.
Things look bleak in northeastern Ohio for 2023 as all signs point to a rebuild year in Kenni Burns’ first season at the helm. There will be plenty of tests early in the year for Burns and his team to help gauge where they’re truly at.
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Games to like
While there aren’t many, we can make the case why Kent State can possibly win a few games. Week 3 is a home matchup with Central Connecticut State where the Golden Flashes should be able to secure their first victory of the season. Let’s hope it’s not their only one, though.
The next opportunities for a win don’t look likely until late in the season when Kent State meets the other teams expected to finish in the bottom of the MAC East. Nov. 1 features a trip to Akron with both teams coming off a by. And the following week, the Golden Flashes will host Bowling Green.
Kent State should be an underdog in these matchups but it’s worth noting that the Golden Flashes have beaten Akron four years in a row, including two on the road. They’ve also beaten Bowling Green in their last five meetings. Perhaps they can continue one of these trends. Week 12 against Ball State is also a game to watch.
Games not to like
Visiting two Power 5 programs to start the season isn’t ideal for the first-year coach with zero returning starters on offense and just four returning on defense.
The Golden Flashes open the season on Thursday, Aug. 31 at UCF before traveling to Arkansas. Both of these will be losses. Kent State travels to Fresno State in Week 4 before starting conference play against Miami (OH), Ohio, Eastern Michigan, and Buffalo, which will be a tough stretch versus all teams that will be in the mix for a league title.
Kent State also closes the season at home against a Northern Illinois squad that may need to win this game for postseason purposes.
In order to reach three victories, the Flashes need to win at least two games during that three-game stretch late in the season against Akron, Bowling Green, and Ball State. These will be the three most-winnable contests in league play, especially since there’s no meeting with presumed last-place MAC West finisher in Western Michigan.
If Kent State won just one of those matchups and also beat Central Connecticut, an upset will need to happen, but the chances are slim.
The money should be put on Kent State to win under 2.5 games. This number could quickly shift to 2, leaving the possibility of a push, so don’t hesitate with this one.