Kansas State Wildcats (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS)
College Football Liberty Bowl
Date/Time: Saturday, January 2, 3:20pm
Where:Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Memphis, TN
by Bob, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: KSU +12 / ARK -12
Over/Under Total: 55
Since 1959, the Liberty Bowl has been an annual event. Over the years many different conferences had tie-ins to this game, but in recent history the game has been a showdown between the Big 12 and SEC. This year, the Arkansas Razorbacks of the SEC will take on the Kansas State Wildcats from the Big 12 conference.
The line opened on this game with Arkansas as a 12 point favorite over Kansas State and that has not changed much over the last week or so. The total points however did make a move opening at a combined 59.5 but now it sits at 55, meaning that much of the public was taking the under. The books are now shifting the line to get some action on the over before kickoff. As it stands now, 58% of the action is on Arkansas to get the cover even though it is double digits. Could this be SEC bias? Who knows?
Arkansas was supposed to be a team on the rise. Much like Tennessee in the SEC East, Arkansas was supposed to be the surprise team of the SEC West. Well, things did not quite work out the way Arkansas wanted. After a week one victory over UTEP, Arkansas dropped three straight to Toledo, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M. Nothing against Arkansas but a legit SEC contender should not be losing to Toledo or Texas Tech, especially when their head coach talks as much trash as he does. Arkansas went very quickly from a team that was feared in the offseason to the joke of the SEC. However, as the season went on, Arkansas did get better and they did win five of their last six games to finish the season at 7-5 and 5-3 in the SEC. Arkansas was a roller coaster of a team in 2015. From a 16-12 loss to Toledo to a 53-52 win over Ole Miss, you just never knew which team was going to show up week in and week out. The key in this bowl game is keep the momentum alive. Like I mentioned earlier, the Razorbacks won five of their last six games and their only loss in those six was a 51-50 loss to a very talented Mississippi State team led by Dak Prescott who put up astounding numbers in that game. If Arkansas can have success on offense and keep the K-State offense in check, this could be a great finish to 2015 for the Razorbacks and positive momentum headed into 2016.
Kansas State is always that team. They are good, they are dangerous, they just cannot quite seem to put together an entire season. One thing overlooked though is the schedule that the Wildcats had to play in 2015. Games against Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma did in fact play a part in the Kansas State record not being more impressive. However, in those losses, with the exception of the Oklahoma blowout loss, they stayed competitive and proved that they can play at a high level. Just like Arkansas, Kansas State is coming into this game with some good momentum. After losing six straight, the Kansas State Wildcats regained their composure to win their final three games of the season and get bowl eligible. I am not saying this will be easy, but I have faith that Kansas State can keep this game close. They are used to facing high powered offenses like Baylor and TCU. Arkansas is more of a smash mouth team that I think is a better match up for the Wildcats. Keep the score low, shorten the game, and do turn the ball over. Those are three major keys to this game.
I like Arkansas, but I like Kansas State to keep it close. Bowl games are always hard to gauge because there are so many factors that come into play. Are the guys who plan to enter the NFL going to even try? How did the teams spend their three weeks prepping for this game? There are many questions and many issues that can arise in a game like this. Which is why if you are spotting me 12 points, I will gladly accept the gift. Arkansas wins but they win a tight 24-20 type contest.
Bobs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE KANSAS STATE WILDCATS +12
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