2017 Liberty Bowl Pick: Iowa State Cyclones vs. Memphis Tigers
The Memphis Tigers will have the home crowd advantage according of offshore sportsbooks, as they play the Iowa State Cyclones in the Liberty Bowl on Saturday, December 30 on ABC. The Tigers come into this game ranked No. 19 in the country, while the Cyclones are unranked. The Tigers finished the season at 10-2, while the Cyclones went 7-5. The edge could be with Memphis, especially since the game will be played at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. “We’re extremely excited about the opportunity to play in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl,” Head Coach Mike Norvell said, “This is the first time we get to play in our hometown bowl game and we will get to face a Big 12 opponent in another national showcase game. There’s a lot of excitement in the progress and direction we are going, and to get this one last time to see this team in the Liberty Bowl, with this group of seniors, is going to be special.” This will be the first time in the 59-year history of the Liberty Bowl that the hometown team is playing in the game.
Iowa State vs. Memphis
The Cyclones are all about defense, while the Tigers are all about offense, so this will be an interesting matchup. Iowa State finished the season giving up just 21 points per game, 29th in the country, while Memphis was the second-highest scoring team in the country, putting up 47.7 points per contest. The question is whether or not the Tigers defense can stop Iowa State, as Memphis gave up just over 33 points per contest.
Iowa State is led on defense by linebacker Joel Lanning who had 110 tackles, 10 of which were for loss and five sacks. He actually played a little at quarterback, as he ran the ball for 115 yards and threw it for 47 yards.
The Tigers are led by their duo of quarterback Riley Ferguson and wide receiver Anthony Miller. Ferguson threw for 3,971 yards and 36 touchdowns, while Miller had 92 catches for 1,407 yards and 17 touchdowns.
This will be the 13th bowl berth for Iowa State and their third appearance in the Liberty Bowl. They last played in the game in 2012 and lost 31-17 to Tulsa. Memphis is playing in their 10th bowl game they will be in their first Liberty Bowl.
Games are won and lost a lot on turnovers and that is one area where Iowa State may have the edge. They simply don’t fumble the ball. Iowa State is the only team in the country not to lose a fumble this season. Let’s put that in perspective. No team in NCAA FBS history has ever gone through an entire season without losing a fumble.
Iowa State was 7-0 this season when they won the turnover battle but they were 0-5 when they lost or tied the battle. “It’s harder than it looks to maintain control of the ball after being hit by one of those mat things,” said Lanning about fumble practice where the team runs through an Arm PowerBlast. “Once you do it a few times, you start to learn the hang of it, but it definitely prepares you for the real games on Saturdays.” Iowa State has fumbled the ball six times this season but they have recovered each one.
Liberty Bowl Odds at Sports Betting Website:
Memphis -3.5, total 65
The Cyclones are 4-0 ATS at the sports betting websites in their last 4 non-conference games. The Cyclones are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games. The Tigers are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall. The Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 bowl games.
The Under is 4-0-1 at sports betting sites in the Cyclones last 5 Bowl games. The Over is 6-0 in the Tigers last 6 non-conference games. The Over is 5-2 in the Tigers last 7 Bowl games.
Liberty Bowl Picks
It is hard to see how Iowa State can keep up with Memphis, so we’ll lay the points with the Tigers at the sports betting website.