2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - BYU vs. Western Michigan

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D.S. Williamson

December 19th, 2018

Western Michigan heads to Albertson’s Stadium to take on Independent BYU in the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Friday. Broncos versus Cougars should be one of the most competitive bowl matchups this season. It seems that the oddsmakers didn’t get the memo.

BYU’s a huge -12.5 favorite even though the Cougars finished the regular season losing 3-of-5. The Cougars made waves earlier in the season with major wins over Pac-12 Arizona and Big Ten Wisconsin. Since then, they’ve played just well enough for a 6-6 record.

At one game above .500, Western Michigan has a better record than BYU. But, as is often the case on the gridiron, overall records don’t mean that much in bowl games. The Broncos and Cougars don’t know each other at all because the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is the first ever meeting between the two.

Can BYU cover as a massive favorite over a decent MAC team in the Western Michigan Broncos? Or, will the MAC prove there’s a reason so many of their teams garner bids to post season games?

2018 FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL FOOTBALL BETTING BYU Cougars vs  Western Michigan Broncos Friday, December 21st – Albertson’s Stadium – 4:00pm ET Odds: BYU -12.5 (48.5)

Which Western Michigan Team Shows Up?

Western Michigan is the Gemini squad of college football. In some games, like when they absolutely destroyed rival Central Michigan, the Broncos looked like one of the top squads in the Mid-Athletic Conference. Then, in other games, like the 41-42 loss to Ball State, Western Michigan has looked like a team that shouldn’t be allowed to step onto the field.

Just like the squad’s split personality there’s conflicting information about which Western Michigan shows up at Albertson’s Stadium. Before the Broncos beat eventual MAC champ Northern Illinois 28-21 in their final regular season game, they had lost 3 in a row:  24-51 to Toledo, 14-59 to Ohio, and the aforementioned loss to Ball State. Depending on which Broncos team shows up, the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl could go in any direction.

To have any hope of keeping it close against BYU on Friday afternoon, the good Broncos team has to show up. It’s hard to trust that will happen.

BYU Hopes for Relief After Brutal Schedule

A football team’s bowl game should be one of its toughest matchups of the season. For BYU, the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl might be a relief after their brutal schedule. BYU took on five Power 5 Conference Teams: Arizona, Cal, Washington, Wisconsin and Utah. They also threw down against Boise State, Northern Illinois, and Utah State. They went just 2-5 SU and ATS in those games.

That’s a tough schedule for any team. After battling so many good teams, and one great one in Washington, the Cougars should feel good about tackling a squad like Western Michigan. The on-paper results from the season belie how grizzled this squad is. Don't be entirely fooled by their 6-6 SU record on the year.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Betting Trends

The betting line’s moved 1.5 points since oddsmakers made BYU the -11 favorite. We shouldn’t expect the line to stay at Cougars -12.5 though. Many handicappers have already jumped on the Broncos. More should do the same.

This feels like a lot of points for a 6-6 SU team to give, but BYU is 8-4 ATS. The trends should also make BYU backers happy: the Cougars are 4-0 ATS in their last 4, 7-1 ATS in their last 8 following an SU loss, and 7-1 ATS in their last 8 on field turf.

Also, let’s not kid ourselves. If Western Michigan hadn’t pulled off the upset win against Northern Illinois in their final regular season game, they wouldn’t be playing on Friday. The Cougars should roll to an easy win and cover.

2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Betting Free Pick: BYU -12.5