Bahamas Bowl 2021: Middle Tennessee vs. Toledo TV Info, Time and Odds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 16, 2021

ATHENS, OH - NOVEMBER 16: Toledo Rockets running back Bryant Koback (22) celebrates a touchdown with teammates Toledo Rockets quarterback Dequan Finn (7), Toledo Rockets wide receiver Danzel McKinley-Lewis (4) and Toledo Rockets tight end Drew Rosi (89) during a Mid-American Conference game between the Toledo Rockets and the Ohio Bobcats on November 16, 2021 at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders and Toledo Rockets kick off the FBS bowl season in one of the most idyllic postseason destinations.

The Conference USA and MAC programs will contest the seventh Bahamas Bowl. MTSU and Toledo are both making their second trips to Nassau. Neither side won during its previous visit to the Bahamas.

Toledo was the more consistent side throughout the regular season, and that is reflected by the odds for Friday's contest. The Rockets won four of their final five games to reach 7-5, and they suffered four one-possession losses.

Middle Tennessee put together a single set of consecutive wins, and it needed a second-half comeback from a 15-point deficit just to reach .500 and become bowl-eligible.


Bahamas Bowl Info

Date: Friday, December 17

Start Time: noon ET


Live Stream: ESPN.com and ESPN app


Bahamas Bowl Odds

Spread: Toledo (-10)

Over/Under: 50.5

Moneyline: Toledo -400 (bet $400 to win $100); Middle Tennessee +300 (bet $100 to win $300)



Toledo's one-game edge in the win column over Middle Tennessee is not indicative of how the the Bahamas Bowl participants' seasons went.

The Rockets were a few minutes away from upsetting the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in September, and it only lost by two to the MAC champion Northern Illinois Huskies. Toledo also lost by three points to two other bowl qualifiers out of the MAC in the Central Michigan Chippewas and Eastern Michigan Eagles.

Toledo turned a corner in its season toward the end of October with a win over the Western Michigan Broncos.

The 7-5 side averaged 43.2 points per game in its final five regular-season contests and had an average margin of victory of 24.5 points in four wins during that span.

Middle Tennessee might be comparable to some of the weaker sides in the MAC. The Blue Raiders struggled against the best teams on their schedule. They fell by double figures to four bowl-eligible teams and lost by seven to the 6-6 Old Dominion Monarchs in their penultimate Conference USA game.

The Blue Raiders needed 24 second-half points against the Florida Atlantic Owls just to earn its postseason berth.

The Conference USA squad is one of the worst of the 82 teams to qualify for bowl season, which could show early against Toledo quarterback Dequan Finn.

Finn is a dual-threat signal-caller who could wreak havoc on the Middle Tennessee defense that gave up 367.4 yards per game.

Toledo's freshman quarterback has 1,855 passing yards, 24 total touchdowns and a single interception. He was only sacked once in his final three games. Finn leads an offense that averages 434.5 yards and 34.2 points per game. Toledo's rushing attack produced 193.2 yards per game and 28 scores.

Look for Finn and 1,200-yard rusher Bryant Koback to test Middle Tennessee's front seven early. The Rockets might not need to throw the ball much if they achieve success on the ground.

Middle Tennessee's offense averages 78 fewer yards per game than Toledo, and it has dealt with some issues at quarterback after Chase Cunningham suffered a season-ending leg injury in October.

Nick Vattiato and Mike DiLello have split time under center. Vattiato has one more interception than touchdown pass, while DiLello came in against Florida Atlantic to produce 131 passing yards and a touchdown.

The Blue Raiders do not have a player with more than 400 rushing yards, and DiLello leads the squad in rushing touchdowns.

There are few reasons to have faith in Middle Tennessee's offense, and that makes it a hard underdog to trust. Toledo should dictate the pace of play, and if Finn and Co. get on the board early, the Rockets could push the final score over the projected total.


If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN).

21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.