Washington State began bowl season as a pick ‘em against Miami before the Hurricanes had to drop out of the Sun Bowl due to Covid protocols. Central Michigan began as a 7.5-point favorite over Boise State before they too had to back out of the Arizona Bowl.
Now that the Cougars (7-5) and the Chippewas (8-4) are slated to play each other, the Cougars are sitting as a 7.5-point favorite one day after the announcement came down that they would play each other, according to DraftKings.
The line opened in some places with the Cougs as 7-point favorites and has since jumped to most books holding at 7.5-point favorites. Some books had the total open as low as 55 points and have since risen to and leveled around 57.5-points — that’s where DraftKings has it.
In the Cougs’ 11 games this season that had betting odds, they went 8-3 against the Vegas Insider consensus spread. The over was hit in five of their last six games after failing to hit the over in their first five games.
For the Chippewas, they went 6-5 against the Vegas Insider consensus spread this year beating the spread in five of their last six games. They hit the over in five of their 11 games this year and fell short of hitting the over in their final two games.
2021 Season Statistics
|Central Michigan||Stats||Washington State|
|Central Michigan||Stats||Washington State|
|33||Average Points Scored||28.42|
|26.17||Average Points Allowed||24.25|
|451.9||Total Yards Per Game||390.2|
|394.4||Total Yards Allowed Per Game||379|
|181.8||Rushing Yards Per Game||130.3|
|128.2||Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game||161.6|
|270.08||Passing Yards Per Game||259.83|
|266.25||Passing Yards Allowed Per Game||217.42|
Central Michigan comes into the game with their lead running back Lew Nicholas III who had 1,710 yards and 15 touchdowns on 311 attempts. He added 300 yards and two touchdowns on 38 receptions.
Their quarterback, Daniel Richardson, averaged 202 yards per game while throwing for 23 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing just over 61% of his passes. He was moved from backup to starting quarterback after their third game of the season when they benched former Washington quarterback Jacob Sirmon. They finished the year ranked 25th in the nation in passing offense. Their passing defense on the other hand struggled as they were ranked 117th nationally in passing yards allowed per game.
While the Chippewas are going to come into the game with their running game in full force, the Cougs are going to be without their lead back in Max Borghi and will lean heavily on Deon McIntosh and Nakia Watson. McIntosh was second on the team in rushing with 578 yards and three touchdowns on 111 attempts. He added 108 yards on 14 receptions and hauled in one touchdown. Watson added 61 yards on 19 carries as well.
Jayden De laura finished the regular season with 2,751 yards and averaged just over 250 yards per game while completing 64.3% of his passes. He had 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He added another three rushing touchdowns and 101 yards on 43 rushing attempts.
Both the Cougars and the Chippewas finished the season strong. The Cougs won three of their last four including outscoring their final two opponents, Arizona and Washington, by a combined score of 84-31. The Chippewas won their final four games of the regular season and averaged 41-points per game over that span.
One downside the Chippewas do face is that they only played two power-five opponents in Missouri and LSU, both were road losses early in the year. The Cougars this season went 0-2 against group of 5 opponents with losses to Utah State and BYU.
The Cougars will continue their bowl streak having been in a bowl game each of the last six years, not including last season in which most bowl games wound up getting cancelled. They are 8-8 all-time in bowl games with their last win coming in the 2018 Alamo Bowl with a 28-26 victory over Iowa State. They are 2-0 in the Sun Bowl with victories coming in 2001 against Purdue and in 2015 against Miami.
The Chippewas on the other hand have not won a bowl game since the 2012 Little Caesars Bowl against Western Kentucky. They have lost in their last five bowl appearances and have never been to the Sun Bowl. In those five loses, they have failed to score more than 14 points in four of those games.
The 88th Annual Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl will air on CBS on Friday, December 31st at 9:00 am PST.
REQUIRED DISCLAIMER LANGUAGE: Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.