Bahamas Bowl – Middle Tennessee Vs. Toledo
Bowl season kicks off with the Bahamas Bowl, which will take place Friday, December 17th at noon.
The 6-6 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will take on the 7-5 Toledo Rockets, with both teams being rather underwhelmed with their season-long performance.
Specifically, Toledo, which was once a MAC powerhouse but hasn’t reached the MAC championship game since 2017.
Toledo, however, how covered in four of their past five games. As such, the Rockets are laying double digits in this matchup. The total, meanwhile, is sitting around 51.5.
But which team has the edge against the spread?
Middle Tennessee vs. Toledo Betting Odds
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Odds
I think the Blue Raiders are one of the worst teams in college football.
Unfortunately, Chase Cunningham suffered a season-ending injury, but MTSU was doomed before that. The Blue Raiders averaged just 6.7 yards per pass attempt and 3.5 yards per rush attempt this season while finishing outside the top-100 in both offensive Success Rate and defensive Success Rate.
One of the biggest areas of struggle was in Passing Downs, where the Blue Raiders finished almost dead last on defense. The defense couldn’t get off the field.
However, MTSU managed to finish fourth in the MAC in scoring offense and sixth in scoring defense. But the Blue Raiders are a high-variance team, as their schedule reads like a rollercoaster:
– Week 6: Lose to Liberty 41-13
– Week 7: Beat Connecticut 44-13
– Week 8: Beat Southern Mississippi 35-10
– Week 9: Lose to Western Kentucky 48-21
– Week 10: Beat Florida International 50-10
In the long run, Middle Tennessee should regress back to its mean. And given the advanced stats, I believe that “mean” is lower than its 6-6 record.
Middle Tennessee Vs. Toledo Betting Picks Video
Toledo Rockets Odds
Toledo ended the season on fire, winning and covering in four of its last five games.
Behind those big-time late-season performances, Toledo finished the season first in the MAC in scoring offense (34.2 points per game) and scoring defense (21 points per game allowed).
Across most metrics, Toledo was a good football team. The Rockets averaged 5.3 yards per carry while allowing only 3.8, and the team passed for over 240 yards per game while allowing less than 190.
DeQuan Finn led the passing game with 10.1 adjusted yards per attempt and a 16:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Meanwhile, Bryant Koback was the lead back who averaged close to seven yards per carry while compiling 1300 rush yards and 15 touchdowns.
So, how could a team with such solid overall metrics finish at 7-5?
Looking at it from a holistic standpoint, that’s a rather good résumé filled with some bad one-possession luck.
Middle Tennessee vs. Toledo Prediction and Pick
My pick: Toledo -10 (-110 at BetMGM)
All in all, Middle Tennessee is overvalued while Toledo is undervalued. And that’s without considering the injuries to the Blue Raiders’ first- and second-string quarterbacks.
While Toledo has gone through its quarterback changes this season, the Rockets have settled in on the mobile Finn. They trust Finn, and he adds a solid rushing dimension which will add to the Rockets’ major rushing advantage.
MTSU ranks 94th in Standard Downs Success Rate and 129th in Passing Downs Success Rate, while Toledo ranks top-20 in both those metrics. Even if Cunningham were starting, the Rockets have the advantage on every down.
This game has blowout written all over it. I’d play Toledo at almost any number.