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Liberty Bowl Pick: Memphis-Iowa State Bet (Dec. 29)

After finishing the regular season 7-5, the Iowa State Cyclones take on the 9-3 Memphis Tigers as 9.5-point favorites in a game with a 57.5-point total. Let’s dive into our Iowa State-Memphis odds, pick and prediction for this year’s AutoZone Liberty Bowl. If you’re looking for more college football bets, check out our college football betting tools and our guide to betting on football.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl Pick: Memphis-Iowa State Bet

AutoZone Liberty Bowl Odds

Odds via bet365
Memphis: +275 | Iowa State: -350
Memphis +9.5: -110 | Iowa State -9.5: -110
Over 57.5: -110 | Under 57.5: -110
Expert: Matt Gajewski
Friday, Dec. 29 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Memphis-Iowa State News & Notes

Memphis Absences: Edge Richard Kinley II, S Cameron Smith, OL Davion Carter, OL Makylan Pounders

Memphis Coaching Changes: DC Matt Barnes

Iowa State Absences: RB Eli Sanders, RB Cartevious Norton, OL Darrell Simmons, S Malik Verdon

Iowa State Coaching Changes: N/A

Memphis-Iowa State Comparison

MetricMemphisIowa State
Overall Offense24th79th
Run Blocking34th121st
Pass Blocking13th123rd
Pass Rate26th50th
Overall Defense93rd33rd
Run Defense97th37th
Pass Rush76th122nd

AutoZone Liberty Bowl Pick & Prediction

One of bowl season’s strongest clash of styles, the shootout-driven Memphis Tigers face the defensively stout Iowa State Cyclones. Both teams over-achieved this year, with Iowa State reaching bowl eligibility despite a widespread gambling scandal. Memphis also put together a strong season, only losing to elite competition in Missouri, Tulane, and SMU.

Starting with the Memphis offense, the biggest question will be the departures of offensive linemen Makylan Pounders and Davion Carter. This offensive line finished top 10 in the country and paved the way for Black Watson to finish over 1,500 all purpose yards. Fortunately, the rest of the offensive line should be experienced enough to protect veteran quarterback Seth Henigan. Henigan put together another strong season with a 66.4% completion percentage for 8.0 yards per attempt and 28 scores. Both Roc Taylor and Demeer Blankumsee finished with over 800 receiving yards this year.

Unfortunately for Henigan, Iowa State plays excellent defense. They don’t rush the passer by design, ranking 122nd in the metric. However, they rank 37th against the run and 19th in coverage. They also may get back stud safety Malik Verdon, who is reportedly 50/50 to play here. Memphis scored on some of the better defenses in the AAC this year, making this an elite chess match to watch.

As for the Iowa State offense, this unit overcame a lot in 2023. Initially listed as the backup quarterback Rocco Becht finished with a 63.3% completion percentage for 8.1 yards per attempt, 20 scores, and 12 turnover worthy plays. More impressively, the did so behind a suspect offensive line, allowing a 26.7% pressure rate. With that said, Iowa State will still try to establish the run behind Abu Sama III. Sama worked in a committee most of the year, but averaged a hyper-efficient 8.5 yards per attempt. With Jaylin Noel and Jayden Higgins both over 740 yards receiving, this offense has strengthened throughout the season.

On the other side, the Memphis defense is basically non-existent. They already moved on from their defensive coordinator and rank around the top 100 in most major metrics. Prior to their season finale against Temple, Memphis allowed at least 35 points in four straight games against AAC competition. Even though Iowa State isn’t known for their offense, they should move the ball here.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl Pick & Prediction and our Memphis-Iowa State Bet: Iowa State -9.5 (-110) at bet365

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