Cincinnati (10-2) travels to Memphis (11-1) to play the Tigers on their field this Saturday. This is a rematch of last weeks contest where Memphis beat Cincinnati 34-24 at home to clinch a spot in the championship game. However, the Bearcats weren’t as interested last week because they clinched a spot in the championship game earlier this season. Cincinnati will have a chance to prove last week was a fluke, and are the best team in the AAC. As of writing this, 59 percent of the tickets are taking the Bearcats at 8.5-point underdogs, and 56 percent of bettor are believe the game will go over 57.5 points.
Date: Saturday, December 7, 2019
Time: 3:30 PM ET
Location: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee
The Bearcats haven’t had the best success on offense this season. They rank 57th in points per game averaging 29.4, and have score under 28 points in seven games this season. Also, they rank 68th in success rate, and averaging 5.3 yards per play, which is 86th in the country. However, they do have a slight edge in the trenches, which could be a deciding factor in the game. Now, the Bearcats have relied a lot on turnover luck to get their way this season. This has helped Cincinnati to put up enough points in games where the narrowly escaped passed Tulsa, ECU, South Florida, and Temple. Cincinnati did put up 400 yards of offense against Memphis last week. This could be a positive sign, as they didn’t have the most interest in that game. Depending on what Cincinnati offense shows up could be the deciding factor on Saturday.
Cincinnati’s defense has been more consistent than their offense. Overall, they rank 24th in points per game allowed, 31st in yards per play, and 45th in success rate. The Bearcats should be able to control the line of scrimmage with their front seven, and limit explosive plays created by the Memphis offense. However, similar to their offense, they have received a great amount of turnover luck. They rank ninth in takeaways, which has helped limit their opponents drives. Cincinnati’s takeaways on defense has been a huge part as to why they have won sloppy games. If the turnover luck runs out this weekend, then it could get ugly in Memphis. Having an edge on the line does help, but will still need an answer to stopping the Tigers passing game.
The Tigers offense has been fun to watch this season as they rank eighth in the country in points per game. They’re 18th in success rate, and have the most explosive offense in college football. Quarterback Brady White has been a huge part of their success throwing for over 3300 yards and 30 touchdowns this season. Also, they have had a consistent rushing attack that ranks 32nd in the country and averages 5.1 yards per carry. The Tigers have an edge over Cincinnati in rushing and passing success rates. However, the Bearcats defensive line is better than the Memphis line. Controlling the line of scrimmage could be a big decider in how the game plays out. Memphis can move the football, but if Cincinnati constantly blows up plays, then the Tigers will struggle on offense.
When people think of the Tigers success this season, they think it’s because of their offense. However, their defense ranks 31st in success, 40th in points per game allowed, and 30th in yards per play allowed. Memphis has had success limiting teams, and it also helps when their offense averages 40.3 points per game. Now, Memphis’ defensive line should be able to take advantage of a weaker Cincinnati offensive line. They also should slow down the Bearcats passing and rushing attacks as they edge out in those categories as well. However, Memphis does allow explosive rushing plays on defense. Cincinnati isn’t spectacular in that category, but they are good enough where they can exploit it. If the Tigers are able to limit these explosive rushing plays, then they should have no problem having success on the defensive side of the ball.
Betting Pick: Memphis -8.5
According to CollegeFootballData, Cincinnati has been the luckiest team in college football this season. They have narrowly escaped passed Tulsa, ECU, South Florida, and Temple. The Bearcats could easily be an eight win team. Instead, they are 10-2 playing in the AAC Championship Game. Memphis should be able to take care of them as they have home-field advantage as well. The Tigers have been one of the best non-Power 5 conference teams in college football, and should prove that this Saturday.