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Liberty Bowl betting preview

The champions of Conference USA take on the ninth-place team out of the Big 12 when 10-3 Tulsa and 6-6 Iowa State meet in the Liberty Bowl New Year's Eve afternoon in Memphis (3:30 pm ET, ESPN).

The early Liberty Bowl odds were chalking the Hurricane, who outlasted Central Florida in overtime in the CUSA championship game, by three points over the Cyclones, who couldn't even go .500 in Big 12 play.

This game has gone to the dogs in recent years as favorites are just 1-7 ATS past 8 Liberty Bowls. [ More Liberty Bowl betting trends and stats ]

View Iowa State vs Tulsa Odds and Stats.

Betting Line: Tulsa were sitting as 2-point favorites earlier in the week at Bovada. The total was sitting at 51 at Bovada earlier this weekend.

How They Match Up:
Offensively, the game matches up Tulsa's No. 31-ranked offense (35 PPG) against a Cyclones defense that ranks No. 35 at 23.3 PPG. The Golden Hurricane passing attack has averaged 220.5 yards per game, less than the Cyclones give up through the air (279.7 YPG on average).

Defensively, the Cyclones feature the league's No. 77-rated road run defense, allowing 187.4 yards per game. Tulsa, meanwhile, ranks No. 9 in rushing offense at home.

In their last action, Iowa State was a 31-24 loser at home against West Virginia. They failed to cover the 3-point spread as underdogs, while the combined score (55) was profitable news for UNDER bettors. Last time we saw the Cyclones, they had no answer for WinningRB as the Mountaineers rolled to a 31-24 victory at Jack Trice Stadium.

Tulsa was a 33-27 winner in its last match at home against Central Florida. They covered the 3-point spread as favorites, while the total score of 60 sent OVER bettors to the payout window. In their last game, Tulsa got a 134-yard performance from Trey Watts as a key part of its 33-27 win over Central Florida.

Iowa State Cyclones Trends:
When playing in December are 3-5
When playing on turf are 4-6
After being outgained are 4-6
When an underdog on the road are 4-6

Tulsa Golden Hurricane Trends:
When playing in December are 4-4
When playing on turf are 8-2
After outgaining opponent are 7-3
When favored at home are 10-0

A few Cyclones at Golden Hurricane trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Iowa State's last 7 games
Iowa State is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games
Iowa State is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games
Tulsa is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Tulsa's last 7 games