Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Eagles

Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Eagles article feature image

Christian Petersen/Getty Images and Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured from left: Samson Evans (22) of the Eastern Michigan Eagles and Chevan Cordeiro (2) of the San Jose State Spartans.

Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State Odds

Tuesday, Dec. 20
3:30 p.m. ET
Eastern Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
San Jose State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Eastern Michigan and San Jose State will meet Tuesday afternoon in what will be the 12th edition of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Previously called the Humanitarian Bowl, the Potato Bowl is played on Boise State's famous blue turf in Boise, Idaho.

Eastern Michigan closed out the season on a three-game winning streak, including a 4-1 against-the-spread record in its last five contests.

Meanwhile, San Jose State struggled to finish the year, losing two of its last three games while failing to cover the spread in six straight contests.

This will be the first meeting between these two teams since the 1987 California Bowl in which EMU won outright despite entering the game as consensus underdogs.

Eastern Michigan has plenty of motivation, as a win would give the Eagles their first nine-win season in program history and first bowl win since the 1987 California Bowl.

SJSU's motivation is less apparent given its poor performance to end the season.

The current forecast calls for temperatures in the low-30s — an environment that would be fairly unfamiliar to the California-based Spartans.

Eastern Michigan Eagles

Eastern Michigan ended its 2022 regular season on an impressive three-game winning streak behind inspired performances from quarterback Taylor Powell.

The senior from Arkansas played in eight games this year, saving his two best performances for the last weeks of the season. Powell racked up 581 total yards and six touchdowns without an interception against Kent State and Central Michigan.


A #MACtion marvel from Eastern Michigan’s Taylor Powell

CFB Live Blog: https://t.co/9B6PmLLNH8


— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) October 8, 2022

This improved quarterback play is promising for an Eastern Michigan offense that has found more success running the football than passing this season. The Eagles recorded a 52% Success Rate on standard downs compared to just 31% when put in passing situations.

These passing situations will be crucial for EMU against a San Jose front seven that has defended the run well all year. The Spartans have allowed their opponents a Success Rate of just 35.1% when running the ball. This mark is a result of a front seven that has created a 14% Havoc Rate up front.

Powell's recent success through the air will give another dimension to the Eagles' offensive attack, as they already rank 27th in Rushing Success Rate.

This two-dimensional offensive attack will be crucial for an EMU team that has struggled on the defensive side of the ball.

The Eagles ranked 78th in Defensive Success Rate this season, due in large part to their inability to stop the run. EMU allowed teams to record a 42.7% Success Rate on the ground, which ranks 99th nationally.

In order to give its offense a chance, EMU will need to limit San Jose State's ground success. However, the Spartans have struggled at producing explosive rushing plays, owning a rushing explosiveness ranking of just .85.

If EMU can limit these second-level rushing yards, SJSU will find itself in more third- and fourth-down situations than it would like.

During the regular season, SJSU struggled during these crucial late-down situations with a Success Rate of just 42.28% (74th nationally).

Look for an EMU defense that ranked inside the top 30 (64.74%) in first down percentage on first and second down to put the Spartans offense in uncomfortable situations.

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San Jose State Spartans

The Spartans come into the Potato Bowl looking for their eighth postseason victory and their first bowl win since 2015. The Spartans have seen success in bowl games, boasting a 7-4 overall record.

On paper, this is a great matchup for a Spartan passing attack that ranked 30th nationally in Success Rate at 42.5%.

This passing attack, led by junior quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, will look to exploit an Eastern Michigan secondary that allowed a 1.6 passing explosiveness ranking this season.

Although EMU has had a tendency for giving up the big play through the air, it's also found ways to create Havoc for opposing offenses through its secondary. That unit has created a 9% Havoc Rate for the Eagles this season, which will be crucial against a quarterback in Cordeiro who is tied for 11th nationally with only four interceptions this season.

As a whole, Eastern Michigan has had more success defensively this season against the pass than it has against the run. The Eagles rank 63rd nationally in EPA/Pass compared to 105th in EPA/Rush.

This comfort level against the pass will be crucial against a San Jose State team that's top-30 nationally in Passing Success Rate (42.5%).

Although San Jose State will find success offensively, I believe Eastern Michigan will make enough plays in the secondary to outpace the Spartans.

Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Eastern Michigan and San Jose State match up statistically:

Eastern Michigan Offense vs. San Jose State Defense
Rush Success2723
Line Yards6547
Pass Success3754
Pass Blocking**7358
Finishing Drives5720
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

San Jose State Offense vs. Eastern Michigan Defense
Rush Success3798
Line Yards68102
Pass Success5572
Pass Blocking**10088
Finishing Drives32129
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling2073
PFF Coverage10662
SP+ Special Teams22131
Seconds per Play27.2 (88)27.0 (79)
Rush Rate56.1% (49)45.2% (114)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State Betting Pick

As is the case with many bowls games, this matchup will come down to motivation, among a few other factors.

Not only do I believe Eastern Michigan will be more motivated to return home with a victory, but I also believe it's the team that has been more efficient to end the year.

The confident quarterback play of Powell will do wonders for an offense that has struggled to keep up with the shortcomings of its defense. Combine all of this with a weather forecast that favors a MAC team, and I will gladly take the points with the underdog.

Given that this will likely be a close contest, I would recommend price-shopping for the best number. Anything over a field goal is worth a play.

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