Friday’s Bowl Tips

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**Florida International vs. Toledo**

Bahamas Bowl History

-- The Florida International Golden Panthers (8-4 straight up, 9-3 against the spread) from Conference USA take on the Toledo Rockets (7-5 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl.

-- Butch Davis leads his Golden Panthers into the school's fourth-ever bowl game. They won their initial postseason appearance in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl against Toledo by a 34-32 score back in 2010 under Mario Cristobal, now the head honcho at Oregon. Under Davis, FIU is 0-1 after getting trucked 28-3 by Temple in the Gasparilla Bowl last season.

-- Toledo has a much lengthier bowl history, as this will be their 18th postseason game. They were blanked last season by Appalachian State 34-0 in the Dollar General Bowl on Dec. 23, 2017, and each of their past two bowl games have been losses to the Mountaineers. This will be their first appearance in the Bahamas Bowl representing the MAC. After starting out 6-1 in their first seven bowl games the Rockets are 4-6 SU since a loss in the 2002 Motor City Bowl.

-- FIU has been a friend of bettors this season with a 9-3 ATS mark, including covers in their first four games and each of their two games against Power 5 conference members. They became bowl eligible on Oct. 27 at Western Kentucky, earliest in school history for that accomplishment. They followed that up with a stinker against rival Florida Atlantic, falling 49-14 as two-point favorites at home. The 'over' ended up cashing in their final five games, too.

-- Toledo whipped up on VMI of the FCS in their opener, covering a 48 1/2-point number, but they fell the next week to Miami-Florida by a 49-24 score the following week in the Glass Bowl. The Rockets rebounded nicely, though, shooting down Nevada 63-44 as 10 1/2-point favorites in their highest-scoring game of the season (combined points). Toledo went over the 50-point mark on six occasions, and they scored at least 24 points in 10 of their 12 outings.

 -- Toledo ranked 30th in the nation with 448.5 total yards per game (YPG), while posting 223.6 yards per contest to check in 22nd in the country. They were also an impressive 11th in points scored, posting 41.1 PPG. Defensively the Rockets had issues, ranking 94th in total yards allowed (430.1 YPG), 105th in passing yards allowed (257.8 YPG) and 78th in rushing yards allowed (172.3 YPG). They also yielded 30.2 PPG to rank 84th. This one could be a shootout, folks.

-- QB James Morgan was impressive for FIU, completing 65.3 percent of his passes for 2,727 yards, 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but he is a pro-style QB and will never be misconstrued with a Cam Newton, Lamar Jackson or other athletic, running quarterbacks. He had a trio of dependable receivers in WR CJ Worton (36-620-6), WR Austin Maloney (28-582-5) and WR Maurice Alexander (35-444-5).

-- When Toledo has the ball, it's all about QB Eli Peters. He no longer has QB Mitchell Guadagni (shoulder) breathing down his neck, as the latter is done for the season with an injury. Peters completed 54.6 percent of his passes for 1,573 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He is a little more mistake-prone, and less athletic, than Guadagni, who was much more of a dual threat. RB Bryant Koback rushed for 875 yards and 13 scores, while RBs Art Thompkins and Shakif Seymour rolled for a combined 1,089 rushing yards and 11 scores on the ground. WR Cody Thompson is the big-play threat with 10 touchdowns on just 43 grabs, while WR Diontae Johnson and WR Jon'Vea Johnson each had seven receiving scores.

-- FIU has covered four in a row against teams with a winning record, and four of the past five overall. They're also 5-2 ATS in the past seven non-conference games. However, they're 0-4-1 ATS in the past five tries against MAC foes, and 0-5-1 ATS in the past six neutral-site battles.

-- Toledo has covered four of the past five as well, while going 8-3 ATS in the past 11 on grass. They're just 2-5 ATS in the past seven outside the MAC, and 2-5 ATS in the past seven tries against winning teams.

-- The over has cashed in five in a row for FIU, but the under is 6-2-1 in their past nine games in the month of December.

-- The under is 4-1 in Toledo's past five bowl games, while going 5-1 in their past six neutral-site tilts. The under is also 26-12-1 in their past 39 against winning teams. The over has cashed in four in a row outside of the conference, however.

-- Kickoff is slated for 12:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

**Western Michigan vs. Brigham Young**

Idaho Potato Bowl History

-- It's time for the 22nd installment of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Albertson's Stadium in Boise, Idaho. The game features the Western Michigan Broncos (7-5 straight up, 4-8 against the spread) of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) against the Brigham Young Cougars (6-6 straight up, 8-4 against the spread), an FBS Independent.

-- Western Michigan will be playing in their ninth-ever bowl game, and their history in the postseason hasn't been great. They're 1-7 SU all-time, with their only victory in the 2015 Bahamas Bowl against Middle Tennessee. This is their second trip to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, losing their last trip in 2014 against Air Force by a 38-24 score.

-- BYU has an extensive bowl history, but lately it hasn't been terribly good. They're 1-3 SU in their past four bowl games, although they did win their last appearance on Dec. 21, 2016 against Wyoming in the Poinsettia Bowl. This will be their first-ever appearance in the Idaho Potato Bowl. They have appearance in a bowl game only once against the MAC, losing 21-3 in the Motor City Bowl on Dec. 27, 1999 against Marshall, then a member of the conference.

-- Western Michigan didn't start out well this season. They were 0-2 SU/ATS in the first two games, losing to Syracuse and Michigan while allowing 104 total points. They turned things around with a 68-0 win over FCS Delaware State, and that kick-started a six-game win streak, including a 4-0 conference start to gain bowl eligibility by Oct. 20. That's good that they wrapped it up early, as they had a three-game conference losing skid from Oct. 25-Nov. 13 before wrapping up the regular season with a 28-21 win against eventual conference champ Northern Illinois. They finished the season 2-6 ATS in the final eight games.

-- BYU had a strange up-and-down season, and you never knew who was going to show up. They won at Arizona 28-23 to kick off the season as 11 1/2-point underdogs, but followed that up with a 21-18 loss at home to California as two-point favorites. So naturally they went to Wisconsin as 23 1/2-point favorites and won outright, 24-21. BYU was waffled by Washington 35-7 on Sept. 29, and they were hammered by Utah State 45-20 on Oct. 5 to slip to 3-3 SU/ATS. They hung 49 on Hawai'i on Oct. 13 in a win, then followed it up with a 7-6 loss at home to Northern Illinois on Oct. 27. While they were also 3-3 SU in the final six games, they did manage an impressive 5-1 ATS mark during the span.

-- Western Michigan ranked 29th in offense, posting 448.8 yards per game, including 205.0 yards per game on the ground to rank 32nd in the country in rushing. They were also 36th in the nation with 33.2 points per game allowed. Defensively they ranked 51st in the country with 378.3 yards per game given up, and 48th in the land in passing yardage (209.3 YPG). The Broncos were tuned up for 33.3 points per game to check in 103rd in the nation.

-- BYU struggled on offense, posting just 354.8 yards per game to finish 108th in the nation. They weren't great passing (94th in the country) or rushing (88th in the country), while posting just 25.4 yards per game to finished 94th. Defense carried the Cougars, ranking 18th with just 325.0 yards per game allowed, 31st in passing yards (195.2 YPG) and 27th in rushing yards (129.8 YPG). They also had a decent 21.7 PPG allowed to finish 28th. And for whatever reason, BYU had the best field-goal percentage against, as opponents made just 33.3 percent of their attempts against the Cougars.

-- Western Michigan lost QB Jon Wassink (foot) to a season-ending injury in late October, so QB Kaleb Eleby was thrust into the starter's job. He completed 64.9 percent of his passes with 917 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Eleby wasn't nearly the dual threat as Wassink, who had 16 passing scores and six rushing TDs. RB LeVante Bellamy is the yardage threat, running for 1,172 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and six scores, while Jamauri Bogan was the hammer in short yardage with 702 yards, 4.5 YPC and 15 touchdowns. WR Jayden Reed led the way with 792 yards and eight scores, and WR D'Wayne Eskridge is a deep threat with 19.9 yards per reception, posting 715 yards and three scores on just 36 grabs.

-- BYU has a handful of injuries heading in, but none more important than RBs Squally Canada (lower body) and Lopini Katoa (knee), the top two backs. RB Matt Hadley, a former linebacker, filled in for the two, but he is done for the season with a leg injury. Katoa (77-427-8) and Canada (91-412-5) split the workload this season. If they cannot go it would be RB Riley Burt (46-213-1) tasked with stepping up. QB Zach Wilson (1,261-8-3) took over the starting job from Tanner Mangum (1,063-5-4) midway through the season, and TE Matt Bushman (25-459-2) and WR Talon Shumway (20-319-3) are the ones to watch in the receiving game.

-- Western is 2-6 ATS over the past eight games overall, and 2-5 ATS in their past seven outside of the conference. They're also 1-4 ATS in the past five following a straight-up win.

-- BYU enters on a four-game cover streak, and they're 10-4 ATS over the past 14 non-conference tilts. However, they're 2-6 ATS in the past eight neutral-site games and 0-4 ATS in the past four bowl contests.

-- The 'over' is 4-0 in Western's past four overall, and 4-0 in their past four contests on a fieldturf surface, too. The over is 5-2 ATS in their past seven following a cover.

-- The 'under' is 24-9 in BYU's past 33 games overall, 7-3 in their past 10 neutral-site games and 12-4 in the past 16 against teams with a winning overall record.

-- Kickoff is slated for 4:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.