Middle Tenn St vs Toledo
Middle Tenn St +10 -102 over Toledo

Pinnacle +10½ -102 BET365 +10½ -110 SportInteraction +10½ -105 BetOnline+10½ -108  Bookmaker  +10½

Posted at 10:00 AM EST.

Bahamas Bowl - Thomas J. Robinson Stadium – Nassau, Bahamas

Streaming: ESPN

Middle Tennessee State +10½ over Toledo

12:00 PM EST. Narratives influence market perception and brand identity inspires some buy-ins. What you will read from many outlets in the buildup to this game is that the Toledo Rockets were supposed to be a player in the Mid-American Conference race. That narrative was amplified way back in September, when Toledo nearly staged a shocking upset of Notre Dame in South Bend as a 16½-point underdog. The Irish finished with just one loss as the #5 team in America. That performance sent Toledo’s MAC ceiling into orbit. Toledo did lose three games in conference but all three games were settled by eight points in total in either overtime or the final two minutes of play. 

While we normally view in-game variances as an avenue to find a team mispriced when several touts or other “experts” make the same case and the market follows suit, we, as contrarian handicappers, are prompted to take a look at the other side. This is especially the case when 91% of the folks have picked Toledo to win on ESPN Bowl Mania and many are calling Toledo one of the biggest “locks” of the bowl season. One can also chalk this up to brand identity, as Toledo is a name-brand in terms of the MAC hierarchy.'

Indeed, everything we wrote about Toledo is true but there is one thing that the market has overlooked and that is Middle Tennessee State itself. You see the Blue Raiders had to fight their way into the bowl picture. In the final week of the regular season, MTSU was a win away from bowl eligibility and found itself down 14-0 early at Florida Atlantic, a team in the same predicament as the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee could have very easily thrown up the proverbial white flag and went back to Murfreesboro to regroup for 2022. Instead, the Raiders rallied back and punched their ticket to paradise. 

Look, we are not even going to bother to break down the X’s and O’s here or try to tell you about how Middle Tennessee is going to match up with Toledo. On paper, the Rockets may seem like the better team and they may clobber MTSU as expected. However, emotional intangibles is one key edge that rests in the Blue Raiders favor. For MTSU, they will be “free-rolling” and we have explained previously how dangerous underdogs of this capacity are, as they will enter this game with nothing to lose and everything to gain. After all, they fought so hard to be here and we trust that they are not just happy to have arrived. By contrast, Toledo had bigger aspirations and will likely view this Bowl Game as a demotion. Should this attitude transcend to Toledo’s play, the Blue Raiders will not only cover here but can win outright. The best part is we get enhanced points to find out. 

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Our Pick

Middle Tenn St +10 -102 (Risking 2.04 units - To Win: 2.00)