Washington State likely a bit disappointed in not making the Rose Bowl or New Year’s Day Bowl following their season-ending snow-sledging loss to rival Washington. But the Cougars should still feel good about their unexpected 10-win season, which delivered them to the 2018 Alamo Bowl. Bettors finding themselves thankful as Washington State went 10-2 ATS. Coach Mike Leach and his Air Raid passing attack developed transfer QB Gardner Minshew into one of the nation’s elite passers, as Minshew passed for 4,477 yards and 36 touchdowns. The Cougars defense was also much improved, and WSU allowed 342.9 yards per game to rank top-25 in the country, but wore down a bit at the end allowing 405.0 yards per game over their final three contests.
No. 13 Washington State (10-2) vs. No. 24 Iowa State Cyclones (8-4)
Friday, December 28th – San Antonio, Texas – 9:00pm ET (ESPN)
Betting Line: Washington State -3 (56.5)
Iowa State is more excited to be playing in the 2018 Alamo Bowl and coach Matt Campbell showed his star is rising with a strong season in Ames. The Cyclones can capture their 9th win and become just the second team in 38 years to win 9 games at Iowa State. The Cyclones won seven of their final eight games and shut down West Virginia QB Will Grier with 100 passing yards and handed the high-powered Mountaineers their worst defeat, 30-14, as Iowa State racked up a 498-152 yard advantage as freshman QB Brock Purdy passed for 254 yards and 3 touchdowns in just his second start for the Cyclones. Iowa State was also competitive in a 37-27 loss earlier against Oklahoma and Heisman winning QB Kyler Murray, who led the Sooners nation-best 8.6 yards-per-play offense. Purdy is still an underrated quarterback despite finishing the season with a 10.04 yards per pass rating which was No. 3 in the country behind the two Heisman Trophy finalists Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa. Clemson freshman QB Treveor Lawrence averaged 7.99 yards per pass.
Iowa State played the stronger schedule and beat three top-20 teams from the Big 12. They still ranked top-35 in the country in total defense allowing 357.5 yards per game despite wearing down late in the season. While the Cyclones 367 yards per game offense vs FBS foes is 84 yards per game less than Washington State, there is more balance on offense for Iowa State and their defense faced plenty of spread offenses and pass-heavy attacks in the Big 12. The Cyclones will be refreshed and ready.
Key ATS Info: Iowa State is 7-1 ATS the last two years vs. AP Top-25 teams, and the UNDER is 9-1 in games which Iowa State is an underdog of 7 points or less.Washington State coach Mike Leach is 2-7 ATS in his last nine bowl games and was favored in eight of them.
2018 Alamo Bowl Pick – Iowa State (+3)
Fairway Jay is a professional handicapper based out of Las Vegas. He focuses primarily on the four majors along with college football and college basketball. You can follow him on Twitter @FairwayJay.