Cinci +10 @ -120 buy 1/2 2.4% play / Cinci +295 1% play
The situation coming into this game is the fact that these two teams played each other just last week at the same location. THat only favors Cincinnati who didn’t need to win the game, but I came away impressed either way. Teams since 2005 have played each other in back to back weeks just 3 times, and the dog has gone 3-0 ATS. Memphis has all the pressure having lost in the Championship game the last two years, and they’ll have the Cotton Bowl game on the line. Everyone loves this Memphis team, but I can’t figure it out they did not have to face UCF, and in their non-conference schedule they did not face a team that has a winning record in Ole Miss, South Alabama, FCS opponent and LaMonroe and Ole Miss at the time was not as good as they were to close the season. Meanwhile, Cincinnati played UCF, and beat them which was something Memphis could not do in recent years. They also played 3 of 4 bowl teams in their non-conference schedule and faced the #1 team in the country in Ohio State, and they faced another team playing in their conference championship, and Marshall who almost got into their conference championship.
In last week’s game Cincinnati has to be pretty confident considering they got down 17-3 after the first quarter and outscored Memphis 21-17 the rest of the way. They gave up a kickoff return TD to start the game, which was really strange considering they have the 15th ranked special teams efficiency unit. They also turned the ball over 3 times in the game, which they hadn’t done all year and they played with a backup QB making his first start. They’ll get their starter Ridder back in the game, but at least they know they can go to Bell who has the bigger arm as he played better after the first quarter.
Cincinnati has a very balanced team, they are good on offense, but recency bias will say otherwise. Their defense which has faced 5 top 30 rushing offenses including Memphis allowed 28ppg in those games, and when you take Ohio State out, since they really are on another level they have allowed an impressive 23.75 ppg, and when we factor out the kickoff return TD they gave up to Memphis that number against top 30 rushing offenses drops to 22ppg.
Memphis offensively has shown struggles against top defenses. They have 8 turnovers in 4 games against top 40 yards per play, which Cinci ranks. Against top 50 run defenses they average 33.2ppg, which is 8.3 points below their season average. That # drops to 32.3 when they face teams with a top 50 rushing and pass defense, but when you take away their kickoff returns the offense is only responsible for 27.67 points per game.
Memphis defense does have vulnerabilities, and that comes against the run. Last week they gave up 180+ yards on the ground. Now they have done well giving up just 24.8ppg against top 50 rushing offenses, but Cinci gets to add their QB Ridder back into the mix, which makes the rushing offense that did so well last week more challenging to prepare for. I think Cinci has more success, and they’ll score into the 20’s again.
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