Sun Bowl 2021: Washington State vs. Central Michigan Odds, Daily Fantasy Tips

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 30, 2021

Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura drops to pass against Washington during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

The Washington State Cougars and Central Michigan Chippewas were not originally supposed to play each other in the Sun Bowl.

The rare Pac-12-versus-MAC showdown was set up for New Year's Eve after the original bowl opponents for both programs were unable to play because of positive COVID-19 tests.

Central Michigan made the short trek from Tucson, Arizona, where it was supposed to play the Boise State Broncos in the Arizona Bowl, to El Paso, Texas, to set up what has the potential to be one of the most entertaining bowl matchups. 

Central Michigan has a high-scoring offense, led by running back Lew Nichols, while Washington State has one of the more underrated power-five quarterbacks in Jayden de Laura.

Washington State will try to reverse a poor trend for Power Five programs against weaker opposition. The Group of Five and independent programs are 5-0 against Power Five squads so far in bowl season.   


Sun Bowl Info

Date: Friday, December 31

Start Time: noon ET 


Live Stream: CBS Sports app and CBSSports.com.


Game Odds

Spread: Washington State (-7) 

Over/Under: 57.5

Money Line: Washington State (-275; bet $275 to win $100); Central Michigan (+220; bet $100 to win $220) 


Daily Fantasy Tips

Have Fun With Central Michigan's Playmakers

Central Michigan running back Nichols and wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton are two of the most dynamic playmakers at the Group of Five level. 

Nichols dominated MAC play with seven triple-digit rushing performances. He ran for over 150 yards in each of his last five games. 

The freshman running back carried the ball on 311 occasions this season, and he should receive a heavy workload on Friday as well. 

The expected volume alone makes Nichols one of the best options for a daily fantasy football contest across the entire bowl slate. 

Nichols is going up against a Wazzu defense that allows 161.7 rushing yards per game, so he could feast in El Paso. 

Pimpleton will get his chances to torch the Pac-12 unit as well. The wide receiver averages 16 yards per catch.

The junior had over 100 receiving yards in four of his last six MAC contests, and he has a long reception of over 50 yards in three games during that span.

Central Michigan will turn to Pimpleton for explosive gains in the passing game when it wants to give Nichols a breather on the ground. 

There is always a chance the Chippewas struggle to match the Pac-12 talent opposite them for stretches of the contest, but Wazzu's defense has enough holes that can be exploited for big plays by the CMU duo.


Go With Jayden de Laura At Quarterback

Washington State carries the edge at quarterback because De Laura is more active in the passing game than CMU's Daniel Richardson.

The sophomore out of Hawai'i has 60 more pass attempts and over 300 more yards through the air than his counterpart from the MAC.

De Laura tossed multiple touchdown passes in three of his last four games, and he is just a game removed from a four-touchdown outing against the Arizona Wildcats. 

De Laura has consistently thrown for around 250 yards over the last two months, and he could be tasked with keeping Wazzu close in a high-scoring affair. 

Central Michigan averages 451.9 total yards and 33 points per game. If those totals translate to a matchup with a mid-tier Pac-12 team, Wazzu will need to air the ball out more. 

That is where De Laura and his collection of wide receivers should be effective. Calvin Jackson Jr. and Travell Harris both had over 800 receiving yards, and they combined for 16 touchdown catches in the regular season. 

Jackson and Harris should be coupled with De Laura in a potential DFS lineup stack for the matchup against a defense that allows 394.6 total yards per contest. 


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