The Liberty Bowl kicks off this upcoming December, 29th. We’ve got the latest updates on lines, injuries, departures and weather right here:
There is so much going on with each of these bowl games that we wanted to take one more look at how betting patterns were progressing and one more look at the players who will make a difference for bettors.
Let’s start by taking one last look at the Liberty Bowl betting patterns. Iowa State opened as a 5.5-point favorite but after Memphis suffered key losses the number was adjusted, making the Cyclones a 10-point favorite with 76% of the total tickets in on Iowa State. The total opened at 57.5, and surprisingly, that’s where we stand today. A bet on the Memphis Tigers to win straight-up will pay +305 for every $100 wagered. Iowa State is -385 on the moneyline.
The Memphis Tigers will have the luxury of playing the Liberty Bowl at home where they are 45-9 in their last 54 home games. The Tigers will try to control the ground with Blake Watson who ranks third in the ACC with 125.7 all-purpose yards per game. Watson is eighth in the nation with 17 touchdowns.
The Tigers will have Seth Henigan at quarterback who is just 20 years old in addition to 321 yards short of the school’s single-season passing yards. As far as significant losses for Memphis, right guard Davian Carter and tackle Makylan Pounders have opted out. carter started 22 games for the Tigers.
The Iowa State Cyclones will feature their dynamic player in wide receiver Jaylin Noel who also pours fear into the opposition on kick-off and punt returns. Like Memphis, the Cyclones will have their starting signal-caller Tocco Becht behind center. Becht is the Big 12 offensive freshman of the year. 13 players have decided to enter the portal with DB T.J. Tampa, RB Eli Sanders, and Cartevious Norton being the most significant.
Now, check out the rest of the Liberty Bowl Bowl preview, originally published on December 8.
The Memphis Tigers (9-3) stay at home to face the Iowa State Cyclones (7-5) in the 2023 Liberty Bowl. It will be just the second time that Memphis (0-1) will take part in the game that’s played on their home field.
Interesting that Iowa State will be headed to Tennessee for the fourth time (1-2). This is not the first time the Tigers and Cyclones have played in this bowl game, but the first since 2017 when Iowa State got by Memphis 21-20.
Oddsmakers have opened Iowa State as a 7-point favorite with a total of 57.5. Early betting patterns have favored the cyclones but bookmakers would prefer that number doesn’t budge. ‘Note (Consensus now 6.5).
Liberty Bowl Information
Records: Tigers (9-3)/Cyclones (7-5)
Location: Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium
Tigers Right At Home As Road Team
Everything started right for Ryan Silverfield’s team after a 3-0 start, but bettors knew that something wasn’t right, with the first sign coming in week three against Navy when they were tied with the Midshipmen, 21-21, into the fourth quarter as an 11-point favorite.
Memphis finished the season 3-6 against the number and 4-7-1 ATS overall. With a 10-2 record to the over, offense wasn’t an issue, but defense certainly was after failing to hold any opponent under 21 points after week two. In their last five NCAAF games, Memphis has allowed at least 38 points in four of those match-ups.
It was a bit of a surprise that the Tigers fell into this game after the SEC was not able to fill all their college bowl tie-ins, then it went to an AAC team which fittingly happened to be the Tigers.
Memphis was 3-1 against non-conference teams this year but will be going up a less-than-favorable trend that has seen the Tigers fail to cover 7 of their last 10 bowl games.
The number seems a little low according to our recent power ratings. We expected the Cyclones to be an 8-point favorite, but that just sets up what we’ve seen so far, and that’s plenty of wagers on the “home” team.
We think the motivation to play in front of a home crowd is a massive advantage considering the program needs the win because there were plenty of times when the public questioned whether they were as good as their record would indicate.
It’s been four years since Memphis has had a winning season against the spread, 15-27 ATS in that span. We also have to take into account that with any Power Five team playing against a non-P5 program, there may be some defections from NCAAF players that will sit out or decide to head to the transfer portal which we’ll address next.
Departures & Injuries
Outside of the loss of depth wide receiver Koby Drake, the Tigers will be headed into this one 100% healthy. We continue our Liberty Bowl odds preview by turning our attention to the Iowa State Cyclones.
Cyclones Escaped Eye Of Gambling Probe
What Iowa State has been able to do started with a story that the school would like to forget back in May when they lost five starters due to a gambling investigation. Head Coach Matt Campbell will tell you that the investigation created a chip on the shoulders of each Cyclone throughout the college football season.
In addition, Campbell had four new assistants to start the season so perhaps we give them a small pass for one of the most surprising college football scores on their schedule after a 10-7 road loss as a 1-point favorite.
State is led by quarterback Rocco Becht who has modest numbers this season after completing just under 65% of his passes, but has been asked to throw just 27 times a game, leading to a 236 yards per game average.
Talking about College Football betting lines may be a sore spot for Campbell, but for us, it’s an obvious necessity. The Cyclones have been a difficult read all season long with Iowa State failing to get on a real run of wins or losses outside of a three-game cover streak in the middle of the season.
The Cyclones have rotated covers in all four games following the streak that ended with a cover against Baylor as a 3-point favorite (30-18). It can’t be overlooked that Campbell’s team has three quality wins as an underdog, including a season-ending stunner at Kansas State (42-35) as a 10-point underdog.
Let’s end our Liberty Bowl odds preview with a look at a couple of ISU departures followed by our key to the game.
Departures & Injuries
It appears that the Iowa State Cyclones will be healthy except for some depth at running back where Eli Sanders and Cartevious Norton are listed as questionable with the reason officially listed as personal but both have announced that they will enter the transfer portal. That means that local product and starter Abu Sama III will carry the load in the Liberty Bowl.
Memphis High-Octane Offense Faces Cyclones Opportunistic Defense
We’ll give our NCAA football prediction on this one late in the week, but once we start analyzing this game it’s obvious that the team who covers will do so because their strength was about to impose their will on the other.
For the Tigers, their strength is an offense that averages just under 40 points a game good for 7th in the nation, and fueled by quarterback Seth Hanigan who completes 65.2% of his passes for 294.3 yards per game.
He’ll be up against a defense that is ninth in the nation with 16 takeaways while allowing 21.7 points per game (34th in the nation). As the week goes on and we get closer to a prediction, that will be the focal point of our analysis. That does it for our Liberty Bowl odds initial preview, we’ll be back late in the week with our official selection.
For NCAAF betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.