2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl Betting Preview
Washington State Cougars (-7) vs Central Michigan Chippewas
It’s the Pac-12 against the MAC in 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl betting. Both Washington State (7-5) and Central Michigan (8-4) are glad to be back bowling after shortened 2020 campaigns. WSU was just 1-3 in 2020 while the Chippewas were 3-3 playing only in a conference schedule.
The Cougars had been to five straight bowl games (2-3) prior to last year’s hiatus and Central Michigan had made an extra game in five of the six previous years. Washington State is a -7 point favorite on Friday afternoon in El Paso, TX, mainly because they played a higher level of competition this season. Central Michigan had wins in six of their last seven games in the regular season though so they come in hot – and have the nation’s leading rusher.
Great Opportunity for Dickert
It’s been an interesting season for Washington State coach Jake Dickert, who began the year as defensive coordinator and then led the team to a 2-3 record as head coach after Nick Rolovich was fired for failing to comply with state vaccine mandates. Dickert was then named permanent head coach and has the chance to get a bowl win in just his sixth game on the job.
Washington State looked really good under Dickert, especially considering the circumstances. Their last month of the season began with a 34-21 win at Arizona State as +16.5 underdogs and concluded with a 44-18 win over Arizona and beating Washington 40-13 in Seattle to win the Apple Cup for the first time in eight tries. There is also a 38-24 loss to Oregon as +13.5 underdogs in Eugene, but the Ducks were ranked #3 at the time.
Cougars QB Jayden De Laura has to have confidence coming into 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl betting after his performance in the Apple Cup. De Laura threw for 245 yards on 27/32 passing against Washington, who has the #1 pass defense in the country giving up just 143.3 yards/game. Facing Central Michigan (262.8 ypg) may seem like a walk in the park.
CMU Ready to Light the Scoreboard
Washington State closed out the season with consecutive 40+ point scoring games, so Friday’s matchup in El Paso may be a higher scoring affair (O/U 57.5). That’s because Central Michigan can put points on the board too, scoring 37+ in four of their last five games of the season.
The Chippewas had the #20 overall offense in the country this year, putting up 451.9 yards/game. CMU has great balance on offense, and their passing game where they averaged 270.1 yards/game. QB Daniel Richardson has multiple TD passes in five of his last six games and Kalil Pimpleton is closing in on a 1,000 yard receiving season. with 58 catches for 929 yards.
Who Washington State really needs to stop in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl though is Central Michigan RB Lew Nichols, the nation’s leading rusher with 1,708 yards and 15 TDs. Nichols is only a freshman in eligibility so he will be playing in this game, looking to break 160+ yards for the 7th time in the last 8 games.
Free 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl Betting Pick
Central Michigan can run the ball, but some of their success had to do with playing in the MAC. That being said, this is a great opportunity for Nichols to show he’s a special talent but ultimately Washington State will be able to move the ball too. Gotta go points here.
Washington State 38 – Central Michigan 35
Free Pick: Over 57.5