Iowa State vs Memphis Picks, Odds | Liberty Bowl Betting Guide

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Iowa State vs Memphis Odds

December 29
3:30 p.m. ET
Iowa State Odds
-110o / -110u
Memphis Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Friday's bowl slate rolls on with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, and it will be a familiar affair for both teams.

The Memphis Tigers will be playing in their home stadium, while this is Iowa State's third trip to the Liberty Bowl since 2012. Both teams had solid seasons to advance to the Liberty Bowl, as Memphis went 9-3 and Iowa State finished 7-5.

What's more, neither team is dealing with large numbers of opt-outs, so we'll get these teams at relatively full strength.

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Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State also did a good job of avoiding dumb losses, save for its road defeat to Ohio. Other than that, Matt Campbell's squad only fell to Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, which is an accomplishment with a freshman quarterback.

Things did look ugly for the Cyclones after a 50-20 road loss to the Sooners, but they responded in a big way by winning five of their last seven games. Four of those wins came by double digits, and the other was a 42-35 shootout victory over Kansas State in Farmageddon.

Two freshmen led the way in that snowy affair in Manhattan. Quarterback Rocco Becht completed his impressive freshman season with three touchdown passes, while freshman running back Abu Sama III exploded for 276 yards and three touchdowns in the Little Apple.

That talented duo in the backfield should look even more comfortable with a month to prepare for this game. Plus, they should be adequately supported since all key offensive players will suit up for Iowa State.

The Cyclones defense was solid once again, as it allowed just 21.7 points per game.

Their secondary had some studs in cornerbacks T.J. Tampa and Jeremiah Cooper, who was tied for fifth in the country with five interceptions. Tampa has opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft, but Cooper is expected to play.

Memphis Tigers

Memphis did a great job of taking care of business this season. The Tigers only lost to Missouri, 10-win Tulane and SMU, the eventual American Athletic Conference winner.

None of those were blowout losses, and there's something commendable about not dropping a game to lesser competition along the way.

Junior quarterback Seth Henigan played very well for Memphis as he accumulated 3,519 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns, nine interceptions and four rushing touchdowns.

It also helped that he had two quality wide receivers in Roc Taylor (981 yards and 4 TDs) and Demeer Blankumsee (825 yards and 6 TDs), along with a productive running back in Blake Watson, who rushed for 1,045 and 14 scores.

Iowa State's defense will be tougher than the average AAC defensive unit, but the Tigers still scored 39.7 points per game and finished 10th in the nation in points per play, so they should still move the ball.

Two of Memphis' starting offensive linemen have already hit the transfer portal, though, so that could slow things down in this game.

Defensively, the Tigers aren't as outstanding. They allowed 29 points per game and gave up at least 30 points in seven games this year.

Memphis will also be without starting safety Cameron Smith, who entered the transfer portal after leading the team with three interceptions.

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Iowa State vs Memphis

Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Memphis and Iowa State match up statistically:

Memphis Offense vs Iowa State Defense
Rush Success3164
Line Yards9129
Pass Success2038
Finishing Drives1238
Quality Drives6033
Iowa State Offense vs Memphis Defense
Rush Success13297
Line Yards13365
Pass Success8229
Finishing Drives9188
Quality Drives5463
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling12882
PFF Coverage8819
Special Teams SP+6228
Middle 83044
Seconds per Play26.3 (53)30.2 (121)
Rush Rate47.1% (105)51.5% (80)

Iowa State vs Memphis

Betting Pick, Prediction

I turned my head when I saw that Iowa State was favored by 10.5 points at most major sportsbooks. Memphis had a strong season, but that line shows a lot of respect for a 7-5 team.

However, the Tigers' defensive numbers are a blaring warning sign. They gave up 30-plus points more often than not and got shredded by the likes of North Texas and South Florida.

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There's also no reason to think Iowa State won't be motivated to play in this game. The Cyclones weren't expected to win the Big 12 or anything like that, so the Liberty Bowl won't be disappointing for them.

Additionally, the Cyclones' best offensive players are freshmen who will want to continue to improve, especially after their impressive road victory over Kansas State to end the regular season.

Ultimately, I just can't see this Memphis defense offering much resistance against Iowa State's offense, so take the Cyclones to cover the 10.5-point spread.

Pick: Iowa State -10.5 or Better

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