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Miami Beach Bowl Preview: Tulsa vs Central Michigan

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in College Football

Dec 8, 2016 · 5:55 AM PST

The college bowl season offers more opportunities for betting than your fickle heart may know what to do with. But just because you’ve never heard of the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, it doesn’t mean you should stay away from it. Let SportsBettingDime be your guide through all of bowl season, especially the really obscure ones! Today, we look at… 

The Bowl

Miami Beach Bowl (Dec. 19, 2016)

Tulsa (-12) vs Central Michigan

One of four new bowl games added in 2014, the Miami Beach Bowl brings two Group of Five teams down to South Beach for a weekend of partying and mediocre football. Awkwardly stuffed into Marlins Park and played on a Monday afternoon, this bowl is a lot like most of the parties I went to in college: sparsely attended and usually ending with a fight.

The Teams

Central Michigan Chippewas (6-6, 3-5 MAC)

That miracle play against Oklahoma State ended up being the difference between bowl eligibility and sitting at home for the Chippewas. Losers of four of their final five games, they finished the season as the worst directional Michigan team in the Mid-American Conference. But there were plenty of positives during this up down year, too.

Quarterback Cooper Rush finished 20th in the nation in passing yards, leading a middling offense that finished 70th in points per game. Receiver Corey Willis led the team in receiving with 1,024 yards and nine touchdowns, earning himself Second Team All-MAC honors. And while the Chippewas finished with a negative point differential, they did boast a solid pass defense, led by First Team All MAC safety Amari Coleman, who snagged four interceptions and scored two touchdowns.

This will mark the Chippewas’ eighth bowl game since 2006, and though they’re just 3-4 straight up, they are 4-2-1 ATS.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (9-3, 6-2 AAC)

A narrow loss to Navy was the difference-maker as Tusla missed out on the AAC Championship Game and the potential for a better bowl berth. Consolation for the Golden Hurricane will be getting to travel to Miami as big favorites to get the program’s first bowl win since 2012.

The reason Tulsa is so optimistic is its unstoppable offense that finished 11th in the nation in scoring. The two-headed backfield of senior James Flanders and junior D’Angelo Brewer combined for 2,849 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns and the Golden Hurricane finished eighth in the nation in rushing. Four of their starting five offensive lineman earned either first or second team All-Conference nods, as did receiver Keevan Lucas (1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns).

Defensively, Tulsa was nothing to write home about. But thanks to that offense, which scored over 40 points a game, the team still finished with +119 point differential.

The Golden Hurricane have gone 5-3 straight up in their last eight bowl games, and 6-2 against the number.

The Play

Tulsa (-12)

It’s tough to see Central Michigan scoring enough to keep this game close. Tulsa has only failed to break 30 points once this season, and that was against Ohio State. The Chippewas haven’t topped 30 since way back on October 15. Run or pass, the Golden Hurricane should have success: Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery may flip a coin to decide how he wants his team to score.

Central Michigan is just average in too many areas to inspire betting confidence. That lack of confidence is bolstered by the fact that the Chippewas have just two covers in their last eight. Tulsa has won six of its last seven against the number.

With all of the Chippewas’ magic this season seemingly used up on their “Hail Mary” lateral, don’t expect any upsets here. Take the Golden Hurricane in this bowl, and don’t bother calling in sick to work to watch; it won’t be worth it.

Photo Credit: Michael (Flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/].

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