Liberty Bowl Pick: Missouri Tigers vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Missouri Tigers (8-4 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS)
When: Monday, December 31st, 2018 – 3:45 PM ET
Where: AutoZone Liberty Bowl– Liberty Bowl Stadium– Memphis, TN
Point Spread: MIZZOU -8 / POKES +8
Power Ratings: Oklahoma State +2
Takeaways From The Regular Season
Missouri enters into the Liberty Bowl on a four-game winning streak mirroring what we saw out of this team down the backstretch of the 2017 season when the Tigers made their way into the Texas Bowl. Over this span, Missouri has been kind to bettors as they have gone 3-1 ATS. Most recently, the Tigers blanked the lowly Arkansas Razorbacks 38-0 at home to wrap up their regular season efforts. The Tigers come into this game ranked as the No. 23 team in the land.
The Cowboys closed out their regular season with a loss that had little weight on their overall docket. Oklahoma State was defeated 31-24 by a TCU team that was hungry for a victory to gain bowl eligibility on their own soil. The Pokes already made a statement the week before when they upset the West Virginia Mountaineers in Stillwater as a six-point underdog. In the week previous, a failed two-point conversion was the difference maker between the Pokes being able to knock off cross-state enemy Oklahoma in the annual Bedlam Game.
How the Public is Betting The AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Presently, 68% of the consensus like the Cowboys in this spot. Despite the public taking a liking to the underdog in this contest, we have seen the line movement head in the opposite direction as the market has moved upward by half of a point from Mizzou’s opening price of -7.5.
These two teams used to meet regularly when the Tigers were still members of the Big 12 Conference. Since their move in 2012, these two teams crossed paths once in the post-season in 2014 when the Tigers defeated the Pokes by a score of 41-31 as a three-point underdog. The victory snapped Oklahoma State’s three-game winning streak against Missouri from 2009 to 2011.
The Pokes will be without their bull rusher Justice Hill who will be sitting due to a rib injury. This is a significant blow to the high-powered offense of the Cowboys as Hill has compiled nearly 1,000 yards on the ground this season.
When Missouri Has the Ball
The epicenter of the Missouri offense is their NFL prospect quarterback Drew Lock. Lock has been a beast in 2018 as he has thrown for 3,125 yards and 25 touchdowns while throwing just eight picks. Lock spearheads an offense that is responsible for generating 468.8 yards per game (19th in America) and scoring 36.9 points per outing (18th in the FBS). In addition to Lock, Missouri features a 1,012-yard/10-touchdown rusher in Larry Rountree III.
When Oklahoma State Has the Ball
Oklahoma State like their counterparts continues to light up the scoreboard at will, as they average 38.4 points per game (14th nationally). Pokes quarterback Taylor Cornelius like Drew Lock on Mizzou is the engine of this offense and has thrown for 3,637 passing yards while tossing 28 touchdowns while doing so. This is a football team that also bodes the services of a 1,398-yard receiver in Tylan Wallace who also has 12 touchdown snags on the year. Collectively, the two spearhead an offense that ranks 10th in the country in total yardage (499.2 yards per game).
In the head-to-head between these two teams, the Road Team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings. However, this is impertinent given the neutral site context of this game. Missouri is 1-8 ATS in their previous nine games in December.
Conditions are projected to be mild for kick-off. Temperatures are expected to hit the mid-50’s with mostly sunny skies. Considering the fact that winter will be in full swing across most places in America, this will serve to be a friendly environment to play in.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Oklahoma State +8
According to Scores and Odds, the Pokes bode a significant edge here as they are potentially under-priced by a touchdown. We would have to agree with that principle here given the shootout element of this game. In games such as these where the offenses are expected to dictate the ebb and flow of the affair, the academic move is to take the points if that number exceeds a touchdown. 1,000 yards of offense is undoubtedly attainable in this contest between both teams as Missouri and Oklahoma State’s defenses will only be on the field as a formality in this one. The Tigers are ranked 104th against the pass (256.1 yards per game) while the Cowboys are 107th overall against the pass (258.2 yards per game). Lock and Cornelius will both have big days at the office here, and with that, the points are that much more appealing as this game can go in any direction and likely be settled on the last possession of the game.