Liberty Bowl Odds
The Iowa State Cyclones (6-6) and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (10-3) will face off Monday, Dec. 31 at 3:30 PM ET in the Liberty Bowl, which takes place at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, TN. Oddsmakers have listed Iowa State as a one-point favorite and have set the total at 51.5.
Why Tulsa Covers
Tulsa won’t be lacking any motivation as it tries to pay Iowa State back for a 38-23 loss in the season opener for both teams. That game was in Ames, IA. The Golden Hurricane will have a much better chance at revenge with this one being played on a neutral field.
Tulsa is the far more explosive team. It ranks 25th in the nation in total offense with 461.6 yards per game while Iowa State ranks 90th with 372.2 yards per game. The Golden Hurricane also rank 32nd in scoring with 35.0 points per game while the Cyclones rank 84th with 25.2 points per contest.
Tulsa’s offense should find success moving the football against an Iowa State stop unit that ranks 99th in total defense with 444.8 yards allowed per game. The Cyclones showed vulnerability to both the run and pass this season, giving up 165.2 yards per game on the ground and 279.7 yards per game through the air.
It is significant that Tulsa boasts the nation’s 11th-best rushing attack (241.1 yards per game) considering Iowa State is on a 4-13 against the spread slide in road/neutral field contests versus excellent rushing teams that average 230.0 yards or more per game.
It also significant that Iowa State has allowed its opponents to complete 61.3 percent of their passes this season. That’s because Tulsa is on a 7-0 against the spread run in road/neutral site games versus teams that allow a completion percentage of 58.0 percent or higher.
In addition, Iowa State is on an 11-25 against the spread slide when playing away from home against a top-level team with a winning percentage greater than 75.0 percent.
Why Iowa State Covers
The Cyclones have already defeated Tulsa once this season, and it wasn’t even close. As a 1.5-point home underdog, Iowa State won by double digits while outgaining Tulsa 441-358.
Tulsa has 10 wins, but playing in Conference USA is not the same as playing in the Big 12. Iowa State’s wins over TCU and Baylor are arguably more impressive than any of Tulsa’s wins.
Baylor leads the nation in total offense with 578.8 yards per game and ranks a more than respectable fifth in scoring with 44.1 yards per game. It also handed Kansas State its only loss.
TCU has wins over Baylor, West Virginia and Texas so it is clearly no slouch.
It doesn’t say a lot for Tulsa that it only managed 15 points in a loss to Arkansas (4-8), which ranks 83rd in scoring defense with over 30 points allowed per game. So with the loss to Iowa State, the Golden Hurricane were 0-2 in games against teams from BCS conferences this season.
The Golden Hurricane are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games against non-conference foes and 5-15-1 against the number in their last 21 games against Big 12 Conference opponents.
I have picked Tulsa to win this game. Check out the rest of my bowl predictions by clicking on the link. If you want to find out even more about these games, check out these in-depth Liberty Bowl predictions from Brandon Lee, Carolina Sports, and Jack Jones.