Last Updated: 2017-12-29
On Saturday December 30th there are four great bowl games to choose from if you want to watch and wager on college football bowl games. The second game on this great schedule will kick off just 30 minutes after the TaxSlayer Bowl and start at 12:30 p.m. eastern standard time. This game will be played in Memphis Tennessee and feature two quality football teams.
This bowl game usually features a team from the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference. However that is not the situation this season. While there is a team from the Big 12 the other team is not from the SEC and instead was selected from the American Athletic Conference otherwise known as the AAC. This was due to the fact that the SEC did not have enough bowl eligible teams to fill the slot at the Liberty Bowl.
The team from the Big 12 that will play in this game is the Iowa State Cyclones. The Cyclones were one of the better stories of the college football season. They finished the season with a 7-5 straight up record and a 5-4 record in the Big 12. Unfortunately that was only enough for a seventh place finish but they provided plenty of excitement during the season. They had big upset wins over the TCU Horned Frogs and the Oklahoma Sooners. Down the stretch they lost three of the last four games but all of those games were decided by seven points or less. They will try to break a streak in this bowl game as Big 12 teams are 0-4 in the last four appearances at the Liberty Bowl.
Because of those big time upsets, the Cyclones were one of the best teams in the country against the spread (ATS). They had an incredible 10-1 ATS run this year which included a 5-0 ATS road record and a 8-1 ATS record in the last nine games overall.
The Cyclone’s opponent in this game will have a home field advantage as the Memphis Tigers will be their foe. Memphis played well enough to be ranked in the top 25 of the college football rankings. They were 10-2 on the season and 7-1 in the AAC which was good enough to win the west division. They only lost two games this year and they both came at the hands of the University of Central Florida Golden Knights who finished the season without a loss.
The Tigers also had a winning record against the spreads as they were 7-4 ATS on the season. This included a run where they were able to pay bettors who wagered on them in six of the last nine games that they played.
These teams have never met before on the football field. Since it will be the first meeting between these two teams each team may employ a never seen before strategy to surprise the other team.
The latest odds on the Liberty Bowl show that the Tigers are currently (-4) point favorites in this game. That is a slight increase from the opening point spread of (-3.5). This line move is a bit surprising since over 55 percent of the wagers on this bowl game have come in on Iowa State. These teams also boast some pretty impressive offenses which is why the over / under for this game is posted at 66. This again is a slight increase from the opening total that was at 65.5 when the bowl games were announced. This move could also be because of heavy betting on the over. As of the writing of this article over 80 percent of the wagers coming in on this game were on this game to go over the posted total of 66 points.
There are plenty of reasons to like the Cyclones in this game. The Cyclones are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games, 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 road games and 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 games overall.
Meanwhile the Tigers are 4-10-1 ATS when they play against a team with a winning record, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 bowl games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
This matchup has all of the makings of a shootout. Iowa State deserves some credit for their incredible turnaround. Head coach Matt Campbell took a three win team and made them a bowl team in two years that is capable of beating any team in the country.
They have an offense that can put up points and has used three different quarterbacks at different times during the season. Kyle Kempt will be the starter in this game and Kempt’s highlights this season include passing for nearly 350 yards in the win against Oklahoma. He will have to have another big game if he hopes to keep up with Memphis and their explosive offense.
The Tigers offense ranked second in the country in in average points score as they put up 47 poins per game. They also got huge chunks per play by averaging 7 yards per play which again ranked high in the nation. Riley Ferguson is the signal caller this season and he has had an incredible year as the leader of this offense. He has a slew of targets to include Anthony Miller, running back Tony Pollard, senior Phil Mayhue, tight end Sean Dykes and receiver Damonte Coxie. This could possibly be one of the best offensive units in the country.
The defense of the Tigers is not as good as their offense. They finished near the bottom in their conference in rush defense. Iowa State may be able to run, but they will need to up more points if they want to win this game.
While Iowa State is a very good team, they will have too much to handle in this game. The Cyclones offense cannot keep up on the scoreboard and their defense will be shredded by the Tigers offense. Iowa State will fade away in the second half and Memphis will use their home field advantage to get a win in the Liberty Bowl.
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