Today's Free Picks for
Posted Thursday at 12:30 PM EST
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Friday, Dec. 21 - Lyle Smith Field at Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
Western Michigan +12 -106 over BYU
4:00 PM EST. BYU was hoping for a better bowl in a warmer climate, but the Cougars will have to settle for a return visit to the blue turf, where they dropped a 21-16 decision to Boise State back in the first week of November. This is a young team, in poor overall health, with some key players out. Other players are getting married during the break, while some will have to take exams at the bowl site due to the timing of the game relative to the academic calendar. Given those distractions, and the disappointment of both the bowl assignment and the blown three-touchdown lead in the finale versus rival Utah, it's hard to see this outfit turning in its best game of the season.
However, that's what we expect from a Western Michigan squad that closed the regular season strong with a win over MAC champ Northern Illinois, which beat BYU 7-6 in Provo in October. The Broncos missed the postseason last year despite a 6-6 record, and are a very bowl-grateful team this time around. Western fired its defensive coordinator after the season's penultimate game, and the defense responded with its best effort of the year against Northern Illinois. We like the late-season growth of both the defense and overall team chemistry, as well as the team's mentality heading into the bowl. The underdog also has a speed edge at the skill positions, and it would be awfully tough to lay double digits with a plodding BYU team that doesn't look quite full tilt heading into this one. WMU might win this one outright.
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Western Michigan +12 -109 (Risking 2.18 units - To Win: 2.00)