Temple Owls at South Florida Bulls Pick 11/7/19
Temple Owls (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS) at South Florida Bulls (4-4, 5-3 ATS)
When: Thursday, November 7, 8 p.m EST
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
Point Spread: TEM -2.5/USF +2.5 (5Dimes)
Total: O/U 49.5
Outlook For Week 11
Apparently, USF’s players really like playing for Charlie Strong, because the Bulls have managed to get back to 4-4 after a 1-3 start to the season as rumors started to fly that the third-year man might not last much longer in Tampa given how this season has gone. South Florida could still find its way to a bowl game, but in order to do that, the Bulls have to find a way to win two of their final four games. Considering that their last three are against American East Division leader Cincinnati, American West Division leader Memphis and archrival UCF, beating Temple seems like a must if the Bulls are going to become bowl eligible.
For the Owls, the bloom has come off the rose in the past two games. Temple crashed from the high of beating Memphis to a blowout loss at SMU and an even worse loss at home to UCF. There’s no shame in losing to either the Mustangs or the Knights, but a program of Temple’s caliber should not be losing those games by more than three touchdowns. The Owls still have most of their goals in front of them, as they still can beat Cincinnati and should have no trouble beating Connecticut in the season finale. However, to keep any hope alive for the East title (which South Florida could still win as well if it runs the table and Cincinnati picks up a loss from someone else), the Owls have to win this game. Considering that Temple is 1-2 on the road, and the win was against a pathetic East Carolina squad, though, that’s not a promising prospect.
How the Public is Betting the Temple/South Florida Game
The Owls started as a 1.5-point favorite, but the line has moved a point toward Temple. The over/under has come down from its start of 53 to settle at 49.5.
Offensive lineman Matt Hennessy and safety Benny Walls are questionable with undisclosed injuries.
Quarterback Jordan McCloud is probable after recovering from an ankle injury while running back Johnny Ford remains suspended for a violation of team rules.
More Picks: Mike’s ND/TEM Against the Spread Pick >>>
When Temple Has the Ball
Anthony Russo will take chances, and he’ll capitalize on them fairly regularly. That’s what’s made the offense work well for Temple, as the Owls have had to win scoring contests against everyone they’ve beaten with the exception of punchless Georgia Tech. Unlike South Florida, Temple focuses on three main targets, and they’re all threats for both possession and big plays: receivers Branden Mack, Jadan Blue, and Isaiah Wright. Any could take over a game at any point, and they’re complemented well by running backs Re’Mahn Davis and Jager Gardner, both of whom have more than 100 carries this season. This is an offense that you either have to stop or try to keep up with, and South Florida likely doesn’t have the horses to try to keep up with Temple, so the Bulls’ defense will need to be at its best to pull off a win here.
When South Florida Has the Ball
With the season sliding away from his team and Blake Barnett out for the season, Strong tossed caution to the wind and went with freshman Jordan McCloud as the Bulls’ signal-caller, and South Florida has been better for it. McCloud has made his share of freshman mistakes, but he’s done a decent job of giving a spark to a South Florida offense that had previously been relatively moribund. At this point, McCloud is mostly a game manager, and he will spread the ball around to his tight ends most often, as Mitchell Wilcox and Jacob Mathis lead the Bulls in receiving yards.
As this is not a big-play offense, the Bulls will have to rely on Jordan Cronkrite to get going in order to get a result. Cronkrite has been a solid back all season, and with McCloud under center, he has stepped up his game, gaining more than 100 yards in each of McCloud’s three wins as the quarterback. This could be a situation where Cronkrite is given the ball and asked to carry USF to a victory against Temple’s weak defensive unit.
For all of their struggles this season, South Florida has been a solid spread team, while Temple has been terrible ATS away from Lincoln Financial Field. Not once have the Owls covered on the road this season, a rather drastic split from their 4-1 ATS mark in Philadelphia. However, this is the case of the stoppable force meeting the movable object, as South Florida has struggled badly to cover at home. The Bulls are just 2-7 ATS in their past nine home games, including the season-opening drubbing at the hands of Wisconsin. But on the positive side of the ledger for the Bulls, this series has favored the home team: the hosts are 4-1 ATS over the past five years.
On the points, it’s probably wise to take the over. The over is 5-2 in Temple’s past seven games away from home, and it’s 4-1-1 in South Florida’s previous six games in any location.
Fall in Florida is really not a thing, as temperatures could be pushing 88 degrees on Thursday. That could be a difficult adjustment for Temple, which will see temperatures increase 40 degrees in a matter of two days.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Given the start that they had to this season, I can’t believe I’m about to do this, but I’m going to go ahead and gamble on the Bulls here. With the line moving toward Temple, this seems like a good time to make a play on an improving South Florida squad that’s covered well this season and is playing at home. Temple has been an awful road team this season, and while a trip to SMU can explain part of that, there’s no excuse for getting blown out at Buffalo and winning a closer than it should have been game against East Carolina. Temple just isn’t the same team outside the Linc, and now is the time to exploit that. Give me the Bulls.
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