Kent State vs. Wyoming Potato Bowl Picks and Predictions

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Running back Xazavian Valladay #6 of the Wyoming Cowboys. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

The first of two college football bowl games on Tuesday, Dec. 21 features Kent State facing Wyoming in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on the blue turf from Boise. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks

Kent State Golden Flashes vs. Wyoming Cowboys 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021 – 03:30 PM EST at Albertsons Stadium

I’m not sure it’s a reward to get a trip to Boise in late December, but surely both Kent State of the Mid-American Conference and Wyoming of the Mountain West is happy to be playing postseason football as they meet in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl from the campus of Boise State on Dec. 21. It’s televised by ESPN. 

It’s the first time ever in this bowl game for Kent State. Wyoming played in it in 2017 and beat MAC school Central Michigan 37-14. The Cowboys’ QB back then? Current Buffalo Bills star Josh Allen. He threw for three TDs vs. the Chips. 

Kent State and Wyoming have never played previously so any betting trends available at BMR’s top-rated books.

Flashes Lost in Mac Title Game

Coach Sean Lewis has done a fine job at Kent State (7-6) as the program was a mess when he arrived ahead of the 2018 season. This is the second bowl game for the Golden Flashes under Lewis as they won the 2019 Frisco Bowl in a 51-41 shootout over Utah State, a Mountain West school like Wyoming. That’s the last time KSU faced a Mountain West school. 

Kent State runs a FlashFAST offense that is very balanced as it averages 480.8 yards per game, which is eighth nationally. The Flashes average 243 yards per game on the ground and 237 through the air. 

Quarterback Dustin Crum led Kent State to the MAC title game, which it lost 41-23 to Northern Illinois, by completing 64.2 percent of his passes this season for 2,922 yards, 16 TDs, and six picks. He also rushed for 633 yards and 11 scores. Crum was named the MAC Player of the Year. 

Running back Marquez Cooper has 1,080 yards and 11 TDs. He’s the first Kent State back to rush for 1,000 yards since 2012. Dante Cephas caught 78 passes for 1,124 yards and eight scores. He’s the first Kent State wideout with a 1,000-yard season since 1997.  

That offense did struggle quite a bit in the MAC title game, down 17-0 at the half. The defense, well, isn’t very good in allowing 35.1 points and 467.1 yards per game. The Flashes have intercepted 16 passes this season, which is fifth in the FBS and they are eighth overall with 25 turnovers forced.

At plus-14, Kent State is second in the FBS in turnover margin, trailing only Nevada. Kent State is 1-6 against the spread on the NCAAF picks in its past seven as an underdog. 

Cowboys Fortunate for Bowl Bid

Wyoming (6-6) made a bowl game despite a 2-6 record in Mountain West play but it did have a regular-season blowout victory over eventual Mountain West champion Utah State and also was 2-0 vs. Mid-American Conference schools this year, winning 50-43 at Northern Illinois and 45-12 at home vs. Ball State back in September.

Kent State lost twice to Northern Illinois this year, also in the regular season. The Cowboys are a good defensive team, ranking No. 7 nationally in pass defense and No. 36 in both scoring defense and total defense. Linebacker Chad Muma is a second-team All-American and a finalist for the Butkus Award.

Muma is ranked No. 2 in the nation in solo tackles (6.7 per game) per game and No. 4 in the nation in total tackles (10.8 per game). He has totaled 129 tackles and had double figures in 10 of 12 games. He also returned two interceptions for touchdowns.

Muma has one year of eligibility left but already declared for the draft – he never thought about sitting out the bowl game. The school did lose defensive tackles coach Pete Kaligis, who took a job at Washington State. Defensive ends coach Marty English will coach the D-Line as a whole for the bowl game. 

Offensively, Wyoming switched from Sean Chambers to Levi Williams at quarterback around midseason, and frankly, neither was very good as they combined to complete just 53.5 percent of their passes with 14 TDs and 12 picks.

The Cowboys do have two good running backs in Xazavian Valladay (984 yards, five TDs) and Titus Swen (737 yards, seven TDs). Valladay is only the second Wyoming player to reach 3,000 career rushing yards. At receiver Isaiah Neyor had 11 TD catches on the season.  

It’s the school’s fourth bowl game under Coach Craig Bohl and the Cowboys are 2-1 in the previous three. Wyoming beat a school that beat Kent State twice. The Cowboys also know the surroundings in Boise well as they play there often against the Broncos.

Simulations I have run have Wyoming winning 5-6 points. The Cowboys are 5-2-1 ATS at the NCAAF odds in their past seven vs. teams with a winning record.  

NCAAF Pick: Wyoming -3 (-110) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Wyoming -3 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.