Potato Bowl – Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Wyoming Cowboys
Date and Time: Friday, December 22, 2017, 4:00 p.m. ET
Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
Opening Potato Bowl Odds: Pick, O/U 45.5
Potato Bowl TV Coverage: ESPN
The last time we saw Josh Allen in action was in a 28-14 win against Air Force. He hurt his shoulder in that contest and didn’t play in losses to Fresno State and San Jose State and the offense put up just 7 and 17 points respectively. Allen said he hopes to play in the Potato Bowl. “If I’m 100 percent, I’m playing in this game,” Allen said to the media. “I owe it to this university; I owe it to this team. It’s something that I want to do. I’m not the type of guy that is going to sit out just to sit out because of what the future may hold.” Allen did say his shoulder is getting better but that it is not where he wants it to be. Allen has thrown for 1,658 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. His backup, Nick Smith played in six games this season and threw for 471 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Wyoming went 7-5 SU and 7-5 ATS this season, with 10 of their 12 games going under the total. They averaged just 22.3 points per game, while allowing just over 17 per contest.
The Cowboys have said they are very motivated to win this game after losing their last two bowl games. "We're very motivated. We lost our last two games – games we could have won," UW redshirt sophomore middle linebacker Logan Wilson said to Wyoming Daily. "We don't want to end the last two seasons with a loss and not on a three-game losing streak this season."
The Chippewas are going to a bowl game for the 9th time in the last 12 years. Head coach John Bonamego has led Central Michigan to three straight bowl games. The previous two trips were losses, as they lost to Minnesota and Tulsa. Bonamego said to Central Michigan Life that the key is to stop Allen and find a way to score against Wyoming’s tough defense. “We have to find out how to stop a guy like (Josh Allen) first off,” Bonamego said. “Then it’s about finding a way to score on their defense. I think we’re confident and have to look at Wyoming and find out what the challenges will be for us.”
Central Michigan quarterback Shane Morris will be starting the final game of his college career. Morris threw for nearly 3,000 yards this season. Defensive lineman Joe Ostman said the team is very motivated to get this win. “It would be huge for us, we haven’t won a bowl game in five years,” Ostman said. “This is a big test for us and this time we want to go out there and get the win.”
Central Michigan went 8-4 SU and 7-5 ATS this season, with six games going over and six going under. They averaged 29.7 points per game and gave up 26.8 per contest.
The line on this game opened at a pick and has moved to Wyoming being a one-point favorite. The total has moved slightly from 45.5 to 45. The Chippewas are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall but they are just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games. The Cowboys are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall but they are just 2-6 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games.
The Over is 5-0 in the Chippewas last 5 games overall. The Under is 12-2 in the Cowboys last 14 games overall.
Potato Bowl Free Picks
The question of course is whether or not Allen plays, as Wyoming is simply a much different team without him. Since we don’t know for sure if Allen will play, I will avoid a side and just look at the total. Wyoming hasn’t been that good on offense with or without Allen, but they have been excellent on defense. I think both teams will struggle to score, so I will go under the total at the best sportsbooks.
Potato Bowl ATS Pick: Under 45.5 at BookMaker.eu
Potato Bowl Score Prediction: Central Michigan 20, Wyoming 17