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Kansas State Wildcats vs. Arkansas Razorbacks – AutoZone Liberty Bowl Predictions, Odds, Picks and NCAA Football Betting Preview – January 2, 2016

Kansas State Wildcats vs. Arkansas Razorbacks – AutoZone Liberty Bowl Predictions, Odds, Picks and NCAA Football Betting Preview – January 2, 2016

Arkansas Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema is looking to go 2-0 in bowl games as head coach of the Hogs program this coming Saturday, when his team faces Bill Snyder’s Kansas State Wildcats. Both teams had bad starts to their respective 2015 campaigns but engineered hot streaks to end the regular season and earn a spot in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. Will Bielema upend his former mentor in Snyder? Or will the underdog Wildcats shock the Hogs?

For more bowl game previews, you check out our breakdown of Michigan State vs. Alabama and Oklahoma vs. Clemson.

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Liberty Bowl Preview

Where: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis

When: Saturday, January 2, 3:20 AM ET

Line: Kansas State Wildcats (+13) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (-13); total: 55.5view all NCAA Football lines

TV Broadcast: ESPN

Betting on the Kansas State Wildcats (6-6, 3-6 Big 12)

[sc:OrangeBowl250 ]The Wildcats began and ended the regular season the same way: on a three-game win streak. Sandwiched between those consecutive victories, however, was a six-game losing rut that almost cost the Wildcats bowl eligibility. Now that they’re going bowling, the Wildcats will have to deliver a solid performance in what could be head coach Bill Snyder’s final game in charge.

That’s going to be easier said than done, though, as Kansas State simply lacks offensive punch. On the season, the Wildcats’ offense generates 341.3 total yards per game, just 108th in the nation. The passing game is mediocre at best, made even bleaker by the uncertainty of who between Joe Hubener or Kody Cook will be under center in the Liberty Bowl.

Chances are Snyder will go with Hubener, who’s made 11 starts and won five while passing for 1,837 yards and nine touchdowns with as many interceptions. Cook, however, played well in K-State’s 24-23 win over West Virginia in the regular season finale, when he filled in for the then hurt Hubener and passed for 121 yards and a touchdown and added one more rushing score.

Either way, the chosen starter must be able to find success against Arkansas’ weak pass defense that allows 284.5 passing yards per game, 121st in the FBS.

Kansas State’s defense is a letdown throughout the season, as it has allowed 33.3 points and 442.4 total yards per contest. The Wildcats’ run defense will have to be at its absolute best in this game, considering Arkansas’ run heavy attack led by Alex Collins.

Dating back to 2010, Kansas State is 8-2 ATS in 10 games when it’s the underdog by at least eight points.

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Betting on the Arkansas Razorbacks (7-5, 5-3 SEC)

Kansas State vs Arkansas - AutoZone Liberty Bowl Predictions/Preview

Like K-State, Arkansas had a sour start to the season, going 1-3 in its first four games. The Hogs managed to turn things around late October, though, winning five of the next six assignments to close out the regular season and earn a bowl game berth.

The Razorbacks arrive in Memphis as 13-point favorites, suggesting that Arkansas should be in control of this game. Faced with K-State’s inept defense, Arkansas’ offensive weapons could be in for big day in the Liberty Bowl.

The biggest threat to K-State’s stop unit is unquestionably Alex Collins, who’s had a terrific year, as he became just the third running back in SEC history to surpass 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first three years. He could have a historic game this coming Saturday against the Wildcats’ struggling run defense that yields 159.4 yards per game.

The Razorbacks also has to take advantage of Kansas State’s punching bag pass defense by letting Brandon Allen test the Wildcats’ secondary. Allen has been solid this season, passing for 3,125 yards and 29 touchdowns with only seven interceptions.

Kansas State’s poor defense almost makes Arkansas’ underwhelming stop unit look passable in comparison. And being average would likely just be enough for the Razorbacks’ D in the Liberty Bowl, considering Kansas State’s meek offense. The Razorbacks are just 68th in the FBS in total defense with 404.1 yards allowed per contest thus far this year.

Arkansas is 3-1 ATS in its last four games overall.

Writer’s Prediction

Arkansas (-13) wins 38-21.

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Written by Rex

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