Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State Prediction: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Odds and Picks

Eastern Michigan's past has been filled with losses, but a change in coaching has led this organization from embarrassment to respectful. Our college football picks see this change, and that's why we're going with the Eagles to pull off an upset.

Last Updated: Dec 20, 2022 8:26 AM ET Read Time: 4 min

What is a holiday meal without a potato dish? Your mother’s cheesy potatoes complete the meal, just like the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl brings delight to the early bowl season. The blue turf made famous by Boise State gets one last chance to shine each December, and for the Eastern Michigan Eagles, an unorthodoxly-colored field will feel familiar.

That may be the oddest of edges going against the San José State Spartans, but there are other reasons to support Eastern Michigan to defy College Bowl odds.

Here are our free college football betting picks and predictions for Eastern Michigan vs. San José State on December 20.

Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State best odds

Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State picks and predictions

The job in Ypsilanti, Michigan is one of the most difficult in the country. In 48 years, the Eagles have enjoyed a winning record just 10 times, with four of them coming under head coach Chris Creighton since 2014. Before his arrival, it had been 20 years since Eastern Michigan finished above .500.

Creighton took a team that had gone 4-20 in its previous two seasons and won seven games just two years later. He does not get enough praise, and the market continues to undervalue the Eagles. Most pertinently, it does not grant the proper credit to Eastern Michigan as an underdog.

Creighton does not have enough talent to outpace most opponents, leading to many one-possession games. Many.

In six one-score results this season, the Eagles went 5-1 straight up, including 2-1 as underdogs. This is not a new trend, particularly the propensity of stressful fourth quarters. Last season, Eastern Michigan had another six games within eight points, going 3-3, including 3-2 as an underdog.

Skipping past the shortened and chaotic 2020 season amid the height of the pandemic, the Eagles had eight one-score games in 2019, going 4-4 and 2-2 as underdogs.

With this Potato Bowl boasting a 3.5-point spread, and Eastern Michigan being involved, a close game feels assured.

Now comes a question of personal risk tolerance.

One could buy points up to +7.5 at -182 odds, trust the Eagles to stay within one possession as is their near constant, and ease into that cash. One could stick with the set spread, take +4 at -110 at UniBet, and avoid that 82-cent cost. Or one could grab Eastern Michigan outright, +160 at theScore, and bank on Creighton winning his first bowl game.

Going 7-5 as an underdog in one-score games in the last three seasons, again excluding 2020, stands out. Betting on that to continue at plus money speaks of value.

Furthermore, San Jose State went only 2-3 in one-score games this season, and while those two wins came as a favorite, the Spartans were four-score favorites in each.

A close game leans into Eastern Michigan’s ethos and every one of its habits. The moneyline offers the best value on that multi-year trend, though one could not be faulted for a more cautious wager.

My best bet: Eastern Michigan moneyline (+160 at theScoreBet)

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Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State spread analysis

The trend line of this spread agrees with backing the Eagles, opening at 4.5 when bowl games were announced, and then bouncing between +3.5 and +4.0 for most of the last two weeks.

That mild trust in Eastern Michigan fits in line with its entire season. Aside from the one-score games, the Eagles also went 6-1 ATS as an underdog this season and 5-2 SU.

As was said earlier, the market tends to undervalue Eastern Michigan and Chris Creighton, despite his lengthening track record of success in Ypsilanti, and yes, that was an excuse just to say “Ypsilanti” again.

There have been no notable opt-outs in this game, so the logic should be as straightforward as possible in a bowl game. For San Jose State, that means quarterback Chevan Cordeiro will again lead the way. It is worth noting: in his first five games this season, Cordeiro threw no interceptions. In his next six, he threw four, including three in the last four games.

One such miscue could be the only edge Eastern Michigan needs to yet again succeed as an underdog.

Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State Over/Under analysis

There is no singularly dominant unit in this matchup, but there is one strength shared by the two teams that should lead them Over this total of 52.5, even though it has fallen by a point or two this week. San Jose State’s defense is passable, as is Eastern Michigan’s offense. The strength between the two comes from the Eagles’ ability to end drives, averaging 4.45 points per quality possession, No. 31 in the country.

The Spartans’ offense borders on good behind Cordeiro, but their greatest trait is their own ability to finish drives, averaging 4.35 points per quality possession, No. 41 in the country. Amplifying that in Boise, Eastern Michigan’s defense gives up 4.62 points per quality possession, No. 111 in the country.

If the offenses look engaged Tuesday, there may be logic to betting a live Over each time a team crosses midfield, trusting it to finish that drive at a higher rate than live bookmaking analytics will assume.

Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State betting trend to know

Eastern Michigan is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five games, while San Jose State is 0-6 ATS in its last six. Find more NCAA betting trends for Eastern Michigan vs. San Jose State.

Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State game info

Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
Date: Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

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