Middle Tenn St vs


at Bahamas
Fri, Dec 17
9:00 AM Pacific
Rotation: 201
Odds: Toledo -10, Total: 50.5

Game Analysis

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Strong Opinion – Under (50.5) – Toledo (-10)  28   Middle Tennessee State  16

Toledo was hot offensively to end the season, racking up an average of 45.5 points over their final 4 games while averaging more than 8.0 yards per play in each game. However, over the course of the season Toledo was just 0.1 yppl better than average offensively and they have been+0.4 yppl with Dequan Finn at quarterback over the course of the season. Finn was an upgrade over early season starter Carter Bradley, who he split snaps with through the first 6 games, but the Rockets were still 0.1 yards per pass play worse than average with Finn at quarterback. The 9.3 yppp Finn has averaged over the last 4 games is an aberration, although I do rate the Rockets’ pass attack at +0.6 yppp heading into this game because losing WR Bryce Mitchell (6.1 yards per target and just a 31% success rate) to injury and replacing him in the receiver rotation with Matt Landers (16.4 YPT and 62% success) is significant and part of the reason for the increased production the last 4 games – although Landers’ 24.9 yards per catch average over the last 4 games is highly unlikely to continue (he has two catches of 80 yards or more). I also don’t expect the three Toledo running backs, who combine for 6.2 ypr for the season, to average 7.7 ypr as they’ve done the last 4 games – especially against a solid MTSU run defense.

While Toledo is certainly improved offensively with Finn at quarterback and with Landers getting targets in place of Mitchell, the Rockets’ offense that I rate at +0.7 yppl heading into this game (instead of +0.1 yppl for the season) will be up against a solid Middle Tennessee defense that’s been 0.2 yppl better than average this season. Toledo is projected to gain 422 yards at 6.1 yppl in this game, even with expected winds in the mid-teens and a 10% chance of rain.

The MTSU offense took a bit of a hit mid-season when quarterback Chase Cunningham was injured but the backup quarterbacks have only been 0.2 yards per pass play worse over the last 4 games than the Blue Raiders poor season pass rating of -1.6 yards per pass play. The MTSU backup quarterbacks have averaged only 5.3 yppp the last 4 games against teams that would allow 7.1 yppp to an average team and they’ll struggle to produce against Toledo’s great pass defense, which allowed just 5.0 yppp this season (to quarterbacks that would combine to average 5.8 yppp against an average defense).

The MTSU rushing attack is 0.9 yards per rushing play worse than average (4.7 yprp against teams that would allow 5.6 yprp) and it’s unlikely that the backs will be able to carry the offense against a slightly better than average Toledo run defense. The Rockets have faced 4 very bad offensive teams this season and they’ve allowed just 12 points (Ball State), 7 points (UMass), 17 points (Bowling Green), and 14 points (Akron) in those games and the math projects only 272 yards at 3.9 yppl for Middle Tennessee State in this game (adjusted for projected weather).

Overall, the math favors Toledo by 15.2 points with a total of 44.2 points and the posted total may be high based on Middle Tennessee games averaging 55.6 total points. That’s much higher than what would be expected from a team that averaged just 5.2 yppl and allowed just 5.2 yppl while playing an average pace. The reason that MTSU games have been higher scoring than their stats would project is because of 8 defensive touchdowns and 2 special teams TDs, which is much higher than normal (the most combined non-offensive TDs in the nation).

Toledo, meanwhile, had 6 combined non-offensive touchdowns in their 12 games, which is a couple more than average too. In addition to all the random touchdowns in games involving these two teams (worth 4.7 points per game more than average), the oddsmakers likely have over-adjusted for Toledo’s recent offensive surge (teams off 3 or more overs tend to go under in their bowl game) and not fully taken into account the bad weather expected in the Bahamas on Friday.

The situation favors MTSU a bit, as the Blue Raiders apply to a 50-22 ATS bowl situation that plays on teams that had to win their final game to make it to a bowl (such teams usually are more excited) and playing on December bowl favorites of 7 points or more is risky (74-124-7 ATS excluding major Bowls/playoff games). So, I won’t lean with Toledo despite the math model favoring the Rockets by 15 points.
The under is a Strong Opinion at 50 points or more.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Middle Tenn St
  • Toledo


  • Run Plays 31.5 31.8
  • Run Yards 147.5 151.6
  • YPRP 4.7 4.8


  • Pass Comp 22.3 22.3
  • Pass Att 35.1 37.6
  • Comp % 63.4% 59.4%
  • Pass Yards 226.3 239.1
  • Sacks 2.3 2.5
  • Sack Yards 15.0 17.3
  • Sack % 6.0% 6.2%
  • Pass Plays 37.3 40.1
  • Net Pass Yards 211.3 221.8
  • YPPP 5.7 5.5


  • Total Plays 68.8 71.9
  • Total Yards 358.8 373.3
  • YPPL 5.2 5.2


  • Int 1.0 1.3
  • Int % 2.9% 3.5%
  • Fumbles 0.7 1.3
  • Turnovers 1.7 2.6
  • Points 29.8 25.8
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