There are two things worth watching in Friday’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl between Central Michigan of the MAC and Wyoming of the Mountain West: Cowboys quarterback Josh Allen in likely his final college game and how the teams adjust to playing on the Smurf Turf in Boise. Let’s see how the NCAAF lines are doing for this classic Bowl game.
2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Betting Preview: CMU vs. Wyoming
It’s a beautiful day in Boise to start Bowl week. Teams have arrived! pic.twitter.com/OHVB5F2iW7
— FamousID Potato Bowl (@IDPotatoBowl) December 18, 2017
When: Friday, 4 PM ET
Where: Alberstons Stadium, Boise
Radio: Chippewa Sports Network (Central Michigan) / Cowboy Sports Network (Wyoming)
Opening Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Lines: Wyoming -3 (45.5)
- Mostly Cloudy: -2°C/29°F
- Humidity: 68%
- Precipitation: 1%
- Wind: 9 mph NW
- Cloud Cover: 78%
- Type of Stadium: Open
In early 1997, the Big West Conference was without a guaranteed bowl game for its football champion because the Las Vegas Bowl had switched to the WAC champion as UNLV had moved to the WAC. So with the support of Big West commissioner Dennis Farrell, on June 12, 1997, the currently named Famous Idaho Potato Bowl received official certification from the NCAA. The inaugural Humanitarian Bowl was played on December 29, 1997, as Cincinnati beat Utah State.
Last year, Idaho beat Colorado State 61-50 in the game, combining to break or tie 24 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl records with 1,206 total yards. The 84 combined second half points were the most in college football bowl history.
This is the third meeting and first bowl matchup between CMU and Wyoming. The teams are looking to break a 1-1 tie in the series, each boasting a win on their home turf. The last tilt went to CMU, 32-20, back in 2002.
Latest Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Betting Trends
- Central Michigan is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
- Central Michigan is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Central Michigan’s last 5 games
- Wyoming is 7-2 ATS in its last 9 games
- Wyoming is 6-3 SU in its last 9 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Wyoming’s last 5 games
Why Bet on Central Michigan?
The Chippewas rattled off five consecutive wins to end the regular season at 8-4, including a 6-2 conference mark to finish second in the MAC West Division. Head coach John Bonamego is in his third season at the helm, leading CMU to a bowl game each year. The Chippewas are headed to a bowl game for the 11th time in program history and ninth time in the last 12 years.
Wide receiver Corey Willis has had a big hand in CMU’s season, passing former Central Michigan receiver Antonio Brown on the school’s all-time touchdown reception list, now sitting at third with 23 TD catches. After getting fewer than a handful of starts at Michigan and experiencing injuries during his time (2013-16) in Ann Arbor, transfer Shane Morris was thrilled to get a chance to play full time at CMU and he has made the most of his opportunity, throwing for 2,908 yards and 26 TDs with 13 interceptions this season.
What Other Teams Done in this Bowl?
MAC teams are 3-4 in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl games. Akron beat Utah State, 23-21 in the 2015 game, the last time at MAC team played in the bowl. Idaho beat Colorado State, 61-50, in the 2016 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
The Chippewas’ last Mountain West opponent was UNLV. CMU defeated the Rebels, 44-21, at home last season. It will be CMU’s first road trip west of the Mississippi River since it played at UNLV on Sept. 14, 2013. None of the current Chippewas has been on the winning side in a bowl game. CMU’s last bowl victory came in 2012, when it defeated Western Kentucky, 24-21, in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit.
- Average Score For: 29.67
- Total Yards: 392.09
- Pass Yards: 248.17
- Rush Yards: 143.92
- Average Score Against: 26.75
- Total Yards: 381.49
- Pass Yards: 188.17
- Rush Yards: 193.32
Why Bet on Wyoming?
The Cowboys finished the regular season 7-5, earning their second consecutive bowl bid under fourth-year head coach Craig Bohl. Their 5-3 record in the Mountain West was good for second place in the Mountain Division. The Cowboys dropped their final two regular-season games, 13-7 to Fresno State and 20-17 to San Jose State and it’s a quick return to Albertsons Stadium. The Cowboys lost to Boise State, 24-14, on Oct. 21.
Wyoming has a potential Top 10 draft pick in QB Josh Allen. He missed the final two games of the regular season with a shoulder injury but plans to play. Allen has accounted for nearly 2,000 yards of total offense and 18 touchdowns but wasn’t as good as he was in 2016. Big-play receiver C.J. Johnson has caught six touchdowns and averages 17.3 yards per reception.
Allen said establishing the run will be critical, but doing so has proven difficult for the Cowboys in 2017. Wyoming ranks No. 119 in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 107.8 rushing yards per game. Wyoming forced 30 opponent turnovers in 2017 to tie for No. 2 in the nation with Miami (Fla.) and Memphis, while Central Michigan forced 31 opponent turnovers to rank No. 1.
How Has the Defense Been This Season?
Not only has the Cowboy defense generated 30 turnovers, but the Wyoming offense has converted those turnovers into points. The UW offense scored on 17 possessions immediately following a takeaway and generated 99 points on those 17 possessions. That equated to 37 percent of Wyoming’s total points scored this season of 268. The Cowboys ranked No. 13 in the nation in scoring defense, allowing opponents only 17.8 points per game, and ranked No. 21 in the nation in total defense, giving up only 332.8 yards per game. The Wyoming defense held five opponents to 14 points or less in 2017.
Wyoming will be making its second consecutive bowl appearance. It lost to BYU, 24-21, in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego last season. The Cowboys will play in a bowl game in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1987-88. It will be the 15th bowl appearance in program history. The Cowboys are 6-8 in their previous 14 bowl games.
- Average Score For: 22.33
- Total Yards: 286.92
- Pass Yards: 179.17
- Rush Yards: 107.75
- Average Score Against: 17.83
- Total Yards: 332.75
- Pass Yards: 160.67
- Rush Yards: 172.08
Expert Prediction & Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Pick
As long as Allen does play, take Wyoming as it should roll.