Autozone Liberty Bowl
Iowa State Cyclones (7-5 SU, 10-2 ATS) vs. Memphis Tigers (10-2 SU, 7-5 ATS)
Date/Time: Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 12:30 PM ET
Where: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee
by Jerbeek, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ISU +3.5/Mem -3.5
Over/Under Total: 66.5
The Iowa State Cyclones will travel to Memphis, Tennessee to take on the Memphis Tigers in the Autozone Liberty Bowl. Iowa State finished 4th in the Big 12 conference. Memphis won the won the American Athletic West division and lost to Central Florida in the championship game in an exciting 62-55 loss in double overtime. Iowa State was very strong in the middle of the season has they won 2 huge games as underdogs beating playoff qualifier Oklahoma on the road by a score of 38-31 and then beat TCU at home by a score of 14-7. However, the Cyclones have struggled down the stretch as they have lost 3 of their last 4 games. Memphis has their 7 game winning streak snapped in their loss in the championship game and their only 2 losses on the season are to Central Florida. Memphis also had a high profile win when they beat UCLA in week 2 by a score of 48-45. Both teams are led by 2nd year coaches who were rumored to be candidates for higher profile jobs but Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell and Memphis head coach Mike Norvell appear to be staying for another season.
QB Kyle Kempt came in for relief in the Oklahoma game after starter Joel Lanning and Kempt came up huge with 343 yards passing and 3 touchdowns in the upset win. Kempt has held the starting job the rest of the season and completed 66.7% of his passes on the season and thrown for 13 touchdowns with 3 interceptions. RB David Montgomery leads the ground attack with 1,094 yards and 11 touchdowns. On all stats across the board Iowa State is pretty much an average team offensively as they are averaging 29.9 points against teams that average 29.3 points and they gain 5.7 yards per play against teams that give up 5.7 yards.
Memphis has a strong offensive attack led by Senior Riley Ferguson who is in his 2nd year of starting. Ferguson has completed 63% of his passes for 3,971 yards and 36 touchdowns on the season. Sophomore Darrell Henderson leads the ground attack with and impressive 8.9 yards per carry average. He has a total of 1,154 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns. WR Anthony Miller has also had a great season with 1,407 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns. The Tigers are averaging 5.9 yards per rush against teams that average 5.1 yards and 8.9 yards per pass attempt against teams that average 8.4 yards. Overall they gain an average of 7.5 yards per play against teams that average 6.5 yards per play. Memphis has really ramped of the offense late in the season as they have averaged 64 points in their last 3 games. For the season the Tigers are averaging 47.7 points per game against teams that give up 34.0 points.
The strength of the Iowa State team is the defense. They have only allowed 3.7 yards per rush against teams that average 4.2 yard. Overall the Cyclones have allowed 5.4 yards per play against teams that average 6.1 yards. These stats translate to a good scoring defense as they have allowed 21.0 points per game to teams that average 31.3 points per game.
The Tigers defense has the task of trying to slow down other teams so that the offense can get back on the field. They give up a lot of yards but when you look closer they are actually a bit above average as they have allowed 5.9 yards per play against teams that average 6.1 yards. One of the problems is that with the fast pace the defense is on the field more and thus has a tendency to give up more yardage.
Iowa State will be playing in their first bowl since 2012 and they are coming off a 3-9 season in 2016. Memphis will be making their 4th consecutive bowl appearance. They has lost their last 2 bowl games.
Jerbeeks Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This game is going to be strength against strength as the Iowa State defense tries to slow down the Memphis offense. The Cyclones have played against some good offenses in the Big 12 so I think they will handle the situation well. The Iowa State offense has rose to the occasion several times when needing to score and I think that happens again here and I am calling for a small upset with Iowa State winning 35-34. My recommendation is to play Iowa State plus the 3.5 points. – Where are you betting this game? Wanna bet it for FREE? Simply deposit $100 to $1000 at MyBookie! and use promo codePRDCT14 and they will match your deposit with FREE PLAY loot!