Miami Hurricanes (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Thursday October 1st, 7:30PM EST
Where: Nippert Stadium Cincinnati, O.H.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIA -4.5/CIN +4.5
Over/Under Total: 68
Thursday night football returns to the ACC this week as the Miami Hurricanes look to stay unbeaten against the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Hurricanes are coming off a bye week with a little rest after nearly blowing a 23 point lead in their last outing against Nebraska. Miami held a 20 point lead over the Cornhuskers going into the 4th quarter but could not hold off a late rally which forced overtime. On the very first play in overtime, Corn Elder nabbed an interception which put Miami in control to setup a game winning field goal. This week Miami looks to keep their momentum going as they seek just their 2nd 4-0 start in the last decade.
The Bearcats fell just short of upsetting Memphis last week in a 53-46 shootout that featured more than 1,300 yards of total offense. Cincinnati actually outgained Memphis in total yards 752 to 570 but 3 interceptions ultimately led to their demise. The early question this week is the status of starting quarterback Gunner Kiel who was carted off last week with a neck injury. It was actually the 2nd straight week that Kiel left the game with an injury which paved the way for backup Hayden Moore. Kiels status is uncertain but considering the extent and apparent severity of the injury last week, I would guess that the Bearcats coaching staff will give him some extra time to heal.
Hayden Moore proved with little time that he can move the football for the Bearcats offense. Despite the two picks last week, Moore hit 31 of 53 passes for 557 yards and 4 touchdowns in that shootout with Memphis. The 557 yards mark set a school record for Cincinnati and the 752 total yards mentioned earlier were also a team school record. Unfortunately, both marks will go down as losses which overshadows their performances to some degree. However, the bigger point is the offense should be just fine with Moore behind center in Tommy Tubervilles offense.
The question for the Bearcats will likely not reside on the offensive side of the ball this week but rather on defense. After all, the offense ranks 3rd in the nation despite the fact they have nearly split time between two quarterbacks. The bigger questions is can the Bearcats defense find ways to get off the field? So far this year that has hardly been the case considering Cincinnati has relinquished just less than 400 total yards per game. The Hurricanes offense will bring a ton of weapons this week to challenge the vulnerable Cincinnati defense.
The Hurricanes are balanced between both the run and the pass. Quarterback Brad Kaaya has hit 61.4% of his passes this season for 839 yards for 5 touchdowns and just 1 pick through the first 3 games. Additionally, tailback Joseph Yearby has averaged over 100 yards per game. Yearby has been solid in his two most recent showings with 271 yards and 2 touchdowns against FBS competition. As long as Kaaya avoids any bad performances that he has been subject to on occasion in the past, Miami should have no problem moving the football through their balanced attack against Cincinnatis defense.
Obviously, Cincinnati is going to move the football as well which means this could easily be an offensive shootout. However, the defense that can come up with a few stops and possibly force some turnovers is going to likely win this game. I expect the offense that wins the time of possession battle will likely wear the opposing defense down late. I like Miamis ability to run the ball which will help their offense in that cause if they are able to stay on the field. However when two outstanding offenses are on the field, anything can happen.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Neither team has been great for bettors in recent trends. Miami is just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games while Cincinnati is just 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall. For this weeks matchup, I think Miami is the better team but I do not like the position they are in. Cincinnati has been involved in 3 straight close games and I believe they are in a position to put everything together at home this week. I like the Bearcats to win outright in a mild upset. Take Cincinnati +4.5
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