College Football Betting: Missouri at Wyoming

Another game that has seen a significant college football betting line move is set for Saturday night in Laramie, Wyoming as the Wyoming Cowboys host the Missouri Tigers. Missouri opened a -14.5 favorite and continued to take money with the line reaching -17.5 before some buyback on the home team pushed it to the current price of -16.5. This appears to be another game where the public is backing the program with the ‘bigger name’ and not considering the more nuanced aspects of the matchup.


Missouri is coming off an 8-5 season and return 7 starters on offense and 6 on defense. They’ll have to replace the SEC’s second leading all time passer Drew Lock and that task will go to former Clemson starter Kelly Bryant. The public might think that Bryant will step right in and pick up where Lock left off but that’s not quite a given. Bryant has a nice completion percentage (65.8%) but it’s tough to determine how much of that is a function of the ridiculous level of talent he had around him at Clemson.

Wyoming took a step back last year finishing 6-6 but they were decimated by injuries before last season. They lost their top two running backs, best wide receiver and a couple of linemen to injuries before the opening kickoff last season. They closed the season on a 4 game SU winning stream and covered 4 of their last 5. Cowboys have a very capable defense that finished #29 in scoring defense and #17 in scoring defense. Much of the late season turnaround was due to coach Craig Bohl turning to Sean Chambers at quarterback. The Cowboys completely changed their offensive identity late in the season becoming–as one writer described it–an ‘old school meat grinder’. Another writer suggests that Wyoming is running a ‘1960’s Nebraska style offense’.

The biggest issue facing Missouri could be the Laramie, Wyoming altitude. The Tigers’ players and coaches have sounded dismissive of this reality but going from Columbia, Missouri at 758 feet above sea level to Laramie’s 7,228 feet above sea level is no joke. There’s really nothing that can prepare a team for altitude other than exposure to it. It’s also a strange scheduling spot for Missouri and one that might be tough from a motivational standpoint. The schedule is replete with lookahead potential–next week’s home opener against West Virginia, the following week’s ‘in state rivalry matchup’ against SE Missouri who have a very strong team at the FCS level and 9/21’s SEC opener against South Carolina. This is the team’s only road game until they play at Vanderbilt on 10/19 and the focus might be elsewhere tonight.

At any rate, this line move is tough to justify. You’ve got a team breaking in a new quarterback playing a non-conference opponent that provides little motivation on the road at 7,000+ feet above sea level. Missouri might have the personnel to scrap out the SU win but asking them to cover more than two touchdowns in this setting is a tall order.


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