The Wyoming Cowboys host the Missouri Tigers in Laramie next weekend as Week 1 college football continues. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM EST on Saturday, August 31st at War Memorial Stadium and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
Taking a look at the Week 1 college football odds, Missouri opened as a 14-point road favorite earlier this week. That line has moved pretty substantially after early betting, as the Tigers are currently listed at -17.5. The total for the game is sitting at 54.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Wyoming vs Missouri
Mizzou had a pretty solid year overall in 2018, finishing with an 8-5 record en route to a spot in the Liberty Bowl. Unfortunately, the Tigers weren’t able to finish their season on a high note as they fell 38-33 to Oklahoma State. They also lost starting QB Drew Lock to the NFL, as he was selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 2019 draft. Even so, the future looks pretty bright moving forward as Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant will lead the offense moving forward. Bryant has plenty of great options in the receiving game, as Jonathan Johnson and Albert Okwuegbunam combined for over 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. Missouri also has a lot of depth on the ground, as Larry Rountree and Tyler Bade both made big contributions offensively as well. As a whole, the Tigers averaged 36.6 points per game on 481.8 total yards of offense in 2018.
On the other side of the ball, Missouri played fairly well defensively last season as they limited opposing teams to an average of 25.5 points per game on 388.5 total yards of offense. However, the coaching staff will likely try to make some changes in the secondary after the Tigers gave up an alarming 256.1 passing yards per game (101st overall).
Wyoming will look to continue to improve after a respectable 6-6 record in 2018. The Cowboys also went .500 in Mountain West action, going 4-4 in conference play. However, they ended up barely missing out on a bowl game after finishing 3rd in the Mountain Division. QB Tyler Vander Waal appears to have lost his starting role after completing less than 50% of his passes for just 1,310 yards last year. Sean Chambers will likely be under center moving forward, barring an injuries. Wyoming will also have to overcome the loss of their starting running back, as Nico Evans hopes to pursue his NFL dreams. However, freshman standout Xazavian Valladay should be more than capable of solidifying the ground game after averaging 5.6 yards per carry last season. Overall, the offense averaged 20.7 points on just over 330 total yards of offense per game in 2018.
The Cowboys were an above average defensive team for the most part last year, surrendering a very respectable 22.0 points per game on 326.2 total yards of offense. Wyoming looked especially strong against the pass, as they gave up less than 197 yards per game through the air (28th overall).
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Missouri -17.5
I was a lot more confident with taking the Tigers against the spread when they opened at just -14, but the market seemed to correct pretty quickly after that number ballooned to -17.5. Even so, I just don’t have enough faith in the Wyoming offense to score enough points to keep this game close for more than a couple of quarters. While both teams have unproven quantities at the quarterback position, Kelly Bryant has been heavily praised heading into his first appearance for Mizzou here in Week 1. He also has way more weapons at his disposal on offence, as the Tigers have two star receivers and a potent rushing attack to keep things balanced. Wyoming doesn’t look overly threatening down the field, which should help a somewhat suspect Missouri passing defense avoid getting exposed too badly.
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If this spread moves above 18 or 18.5, I’ll most likely stay away from this particular game entirely. However, as things sit right now, there still should be a slight edge found by backing Mizzou in this matchup. If the Tigers can keep Wyoming under 17 points, which I believe has a pretty good possibility of happening, I think Missouri manages to find the end zone enough times to scrape out a tough cover on the road.