If high scoring shootouts and flying footballs with little defensive resistance is your style, then tune into the 2018 Liberty Bowl betting battle on New Year’s Eve when Missouri and Oklahoma State trade punches in Memphis.
Missouri started the season 3-0 with a 40-37 win at Purdue one of the games and box scores to review when evaluating this Liberty Bowl match-up. Both Mizzu and Purdue piled up more than 600 yards offense and Tigers QB Drew Lock passed for 375 yards along with 3 touchdowns. Missouri then lost their next three games in SEC play, but had chances to win against both Georgia and South Carolina, while both of those games landed on 72 total points. The 65-33 win over defenseless Memphis in non-conference play is another game to identify, as Lock passed for 4 touchdowns and 350 of Missouri’s 646 total yards. Missouri’s defense improved down the stretch, and after a 15-14 loss to Kentucky, the Tigers won their final four games while averaging 39.7 points per game. For the season, the Tigers offense averaged 460.7 yards per game to rank No. 18 in the country.
The Oklahoma State run defense has allowed at least 224 rushing yards in five of their last nine games, and Missouri has topped 200 yards rushing seven times this season. The Missouri Tigers are going to move the ball well and scoring should follow as QB Lock adds to his 3,125 passing yards and 25 touchdowns after passing for 44 touchdowns last season. There’s a reason the 2018 Liberty Bowl betting line is so cavernous.
2018 Liberty Bowl
Missouri Tigers (8-4) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-6)
Monday, December 31st – Memphis, TN 3:45pm ET (ESPN)
Betting Line: Missouri -9 (74)
The Oklahoma State offense is No. 12 in the country averaging 478.0 yards per game against FBS opponents. But leading rusher Justice Hill and right guard Larry Williams are joining other potential pro players in sitting out the bowl game in preparation for the NFL draft. Running back Chuba Hubbard, who started the last two games for the Cowboys and rushed for 176 yards, will start and carry the load in the Liberty Bowl. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius had a strong debut season starting for the Cowboys, passing for 3,647 yards and 28 touchdowns with 8.3 yards per pass. His favorite target wide receiver Tylan Wallace also had a breakout year in his first year as starter catching 79 passes for 1,398 yards and 12 touchdowns.
For the season, Oklahoma State faced a strong schedule of opponents with a combined win percentage of .545. The Cowboys went 3-4 SU and 4-3 ATS against bowl teams and out-gained them by an average of 2 yards per game.
Missouri was 4-4 SU and 3-5 ATS against bowl teams and the Tigers were out-gained by 1 yard per game. The Tigers played a schedule of opponents with a combined .500 win percentage and their best win was at Florida (38-17).
Oklahoma State has the better yards per play in the 2018 Liberty Bowl betting matchup and the Cowboys are catching nearly double-digits. Oklahoma State also beat three ranked team in Boise State (44-21), Texas (38-35) and West Virginia (45-41). Close losses to Iowa State (48-42) and CFP participant Oklahoma (48-47) shows the Cowboys can really compete and score. With extra time to prepare, coach Gundy and the Cowboys should cash-in with a shootout expected.
ATS Notes: Oklahoma State has won their last two bowl games, and the Cowboys are 8-4 SU and 7-5 ATS in bowl games as head coach Mike Gundy brings them to a bowl game for the 13th straight year.
2018 Liberty Bowl Betting Free Pick – Oklahoma State +9 (OVER 74)
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.