Central Michigan vs. Tulsa Miami Beach Bowl: College Football Spread

Ricky Rothstein | Updated Dec 14, 2016


One of the newest bowls in college football is the Miami Beach Bowl, played at the home of Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins — so not really that close to the beach. If you like offense, this bowl should be for you as the first two in its history have been very high scoring. That looks to be the case as well Monday as Central Michigan plays Tulsa with a total on Sports Interaction college football odds that’s one of the highest of all the bowl games. For more details on every Bowl game, check out our full schedule of the 2016-17 College Bowl games, complete with moneyline odds, point spreads and betting trends for each game.


Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Point spread: Golden Hurricane -12

Over/under: 68.5

Date: Monday, 2:30 p.m. ET

Location: Marlins Park, Miami

Central Michigan Chippewas

The Chips (6-6) are from the Mid-American Conference. You might be familiar with them from a Sept. 10 game at then-No. 22 Oklahoma State. The referees mistakenly gave Central Michigan a final play after OSU was called for intentional grounding to run out the clock with a 27-24 lead. The officials were wrong to think the game couldn’t end on that penalty and gave CMU the ball around midfield on an untimed down. So what happened? The Chips won 30-27 on a Hail Mary & lateral combination. That was probably the most unlikely finish in college football this year.

While that was a quality if tainted win for Central Michigan, it doesn’t enter with much momentum in having lost four of its final five games. It closed the regular season with a last-minute defeat at Eastern Michigan. CMU does have a quarterback in Cooper Rush who will be drafted by some NFL team next spring. He has completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 3,299 yards, 23 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season and ranks second in school history in career touchdown passes, yards passing, total offense, completions and pass attempts. He will play in the East-West Shrine Game for draft prospects next month.

This will be a homecoming of sorts for CMU coach John Bonamego, who was the special teams coordinator for the Miami Dolphins from 2008-10. It’s the third straight bowl appearance for Central Michigan. It lost the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit last year to Minnesota, 21-14. Rush struggled, hitting just 15 of 29 for 145 yards and an interception.


Tulsa Golden Hurricane

The Golden Hurricane (9-3) are from the American Athletic Conference and they just missed playing in the conference championship game. Tulsa lost 42-40 at Navy on Nov. 12, and had the school won that game (and its following results been the same) it would have taken the AAC West Division over the Midshipmen. Tulsa’s other two losses were to teams ranked at the time: 48-3 at Ohio State on Sept. 10 and 38-31 at Houston on Oct. 15.

Tulsa has a rising star at coach in Philip Montgomery, a terrific offensive mind who was formerly Baylor’s offensive coordinator when hired in December 2014. He’s likely not long for Tulsa if it keeps winning as some Power 5 school is expected to hire Montgomery as soon as after next season if the Golden Hurricane keep winning and putting up points. Montgomery led the Hurricane to six wins in his first season in 2015 and is seeking a 10th win Monday. In the two years before his arrival, TU won only five games.

The Golden Hurricane average 41.3 points per game, which is 11th nationally, and have scored at least 31 points in every game but that Ohio State loss. Quarterback Dane Evans has thrown for 3,044 yards and 27 touchdowns, and Tulsa has the top two rushers in the American Athletic Conference in James Flanders (school-record 1,529 yards to go with 17 TDs) and D’Angelo Brewer (1,330). Tulsa ranks sixth in the country in total offense (522.8 ypg) and eighth in rushing (261.8 ypg). Keevan Lucas is Evans’ favorite target with 74 catches for 1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns.

It’s the second straight bowl appearance for Tulsa, which lost 55-52 to Virginia Tech in last year’s Independence Bowl. It was the highest-scoring Independence Bowl ever.

Miami Beach Bowl Prediction

First meeting between CMU and Tulsa since 1987. Two potent offensive teams and neither is very good on defense. I would go over that large total as there will be no weather worries at Marlins Park. Go with Tulsa minus the points as it has played a superior schedule, while CMU is just 1-4 against the spread in its past five games vs. teams with a winning record.