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Alamo Bowl Picks – Iowa State vs. Washington State

Cyclones vs. Cougars Picks

It is a matchup of Top 25 teams on Friday night in the Alamo Bowl, as the No. 24 Iowa State Cyclones take on the No. 13 Washington State Cougars in a game that can be seen on ESPN. The Cyclones come into this game at 8-4, while the Cougars are 10-2. It is a matchup between the stout defense of Iowa State that allowed just over 22 points per game and the explosive offense of the Cougars that scored more than 38 points per contest. Let’s look at the game and Alamo Bowl picks.

Iowa State Cyclones vs. Washington State Cougars

Date and Time: Friday, December 28, 2018, 9:00 p.m. ET

Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

CFB Odds: Washington State -3, O/U 54

Iowa State vs. Washington State TV Coverage: ESPN

Iowa State is definitely on the way up under head coach Matt Campbell. The Cyclones went just 3-9 in his first season, but they were 8-5 last season and they are 8-4 coming into this game. The Cyclones started this season 1-3, but then won seven of their last eight games. Iowa State has a good quarterback in Brock Purdy and a solid defense. The Cyclones averaged 26.8 points per game this season, while giving up 22.5 per contest. They went under seven times this season, over just four times, with one push.

The Cougars have won at least eight games under head coach Mike Leach in each of the last four years. The Cougars are led on offense by East Carolina graduate transfer Gardner Minshew who threw for 4,480 yards and 36 touchdowns this season.

Washington State averaged 38.3 points per game this season while they gave up 23.1 points per game. They went over the total seven times and under five times this season.

Matchup to Watch

The Cougars couldn’t win their biggest game of the season, as they were beaten by Washington in the regular season finale. The reason the Cougars didn’t win is that they couldn’t stop Washington from running the ball, as the Cougars ran for 258 yards in the win. The question is whether or not that was an aberration or whether the Washington State defense is overrated. Iowa State has one of the top running backs in the country in David Montgomery who ran for 1,092 yards and 12 scores.

Key Stats

Iowa State has more than held their own against winning teams, as they are 15-6-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Cougars are 6-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Washington State has struggled against the Big 12, as they are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big 12 conference teams.

NCAA Football Betting Odds

Bet the Alamo Bowl at

This game comes down to which team dictates the pace of the game. Iowa State wants to run the ball with Montgomery and hit play action passes with Purdy, while Washington State wants to turn the game into a shootout. It seems unlikely that this game is going to turn into a scoring fest, as both teams have solid defenses. Iowa State knows all about facing high-powered offenses, as they play in the Big 12, so the passing attack of Washington State is not going to surprise them. The Cyclones are also getting a lot of respect from the oddsmakers, as they are just a 3-point underdog, despite being ranked 11 spots lower than the Cougars. I think the oddsmakers are trying to tempt bettors to take the Cougars in this game. I think Iowa State is the better team and will control this contest, so I will take the points with the Cyclones.

I also think the total is worth playing. Iowa State has a stout defense, but the Washington State defense is better than most people think. They only gave up 23.1 points per game and that number is very close to what Iowa State gave up this season. If Iowa State controls the ball then this game should go under the total.

CFB ATS Betting Pick: Iowa State +3 and Under 54

CFB Score Prediction: Iowa State 27, Washington State 24