Cincinnati Bearcats (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS) vs. Memphis Tigers (1-5 SU, 3-3 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date and Time: Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 8:00 pm EST
Where: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tenn.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Cin. -3/Mem. +3
Over/Under Total: 46
The Cincinnati Bearcats are still chasing the lead pack
in the AAC standings, but if they have any chance at all at catching them
theyll need to avoid the bite of the upset bug on the road this week at
when they travel to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to take on the Memphis
Tigers in a special Wednesday night primetime telecast on ESPN2.
The road hasnt exactly been friendly to the Bearcats, with both of their losses this season having come on the road at Illinois and South Florida, two teams that are looking weaker and weaker as their season plays out each week. The Bearcats offense appears to have turned a corner though, scoring 38 and 41 during a two-game win streak over Temple and UConn, but well find out if the longer layoff (last game was Oct. 19th) before Wednesdays game hurts the momentum the Bearcats under new coach Tommy Tuberville have built during the stretch.
Memphis has run a pretty tough gauntlet of a schedule during their current three-game losing streak, with close games against Central Florida, Houston and SMU last week (34-29) to give them nothing to show for this season. However, the Tigers have clearly made improvements and are not the easy pushover they were in seasons past.
The way the Tigers have been playing lately is starting to get a little more respect from Las Vegas too, since Cincinnati opened as 3-point favorites on the road. The early wagering by the majority of the public has been heavy on the Bearcats, yet the number hasnt moved much, so the Tigers may be drawing just enough sharp money to keep it steady right now.
The over/under total is off the board still at most sportsbooks, but the few offshore books listing a number have the total opening at 46.
One noticeable problem with the Bearcats continues to be their knack for turning the ball over on offense. They lost two fumbles and threw a late mop-up interception in their last big win over UConn, so its sort of gone unnoticed. QB Brendon Kay has played well throwing 6 TDs to zero interceptions in the two wins, but he may be called upon to shoulder more of the burden this week due to the Tigers improved defense (13th in yards allowed 332 ypg), especially against the Tigers 7th-ranked run defense allowing just barely under 100 a game (99.7).
Where Memphis has made strides on defense and being competitive, well offensively its a little different story. Ranked 107th in scoring, at 20.2 points per game is the reason the Tigers are losing close games. Freshman QB Paxton Lynch is learning on the job, so senior running back Brandon Hayes is getting piled up at the line. The big difference in this game is that Cincinnati lays defense too, as in the 7th-ranked unit overall (287 ypg) and top-10 (or close) across the board in most of the popular defensive categories.
The relevant betting trends for Wednesday include the fact Cincy is 1-4 ATS following a bye week, and Memphis going 6-2 ATS in their last 8 at home. The Bearcats are 5-0 ATS in the last five head-to-head, but that was against the old Tigers that used to play like kitty cats.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: If only Memphis could field an offense, theyd be a great barking dog here at home. But I dont have any faith that the Tigers can outscore the Bearcats, even if Memphis and their defense keep them in it till the end. If Ill play anything, maybe a small wager on the under of 46 expecting a defensive showdown on Wednesday night.
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