Free NCAA Football Picks: Cincinnati Bearcats at Temple Owls Odds
Cincinnati Bearcats at Temple Owls, Saturday Oct. 20, Noon ET
The AAC, remarkably, still has three remaining unbeaten teams - Cincinnati, South Florida, and Central Florida. All three teams play each other, but not until the last three weeks of the season, so we could be setting up for a very dramatic finish. All three of the teams are ranked, with Cincinnati at 20th between UCF at 10th and USF at 21. To make those last three weeks really special, though, we need the teams to stay undefeated until then, and that means that Cincinnati needs to find a way through what is the toughest stretch on the team's schedule so far.
Temple is a tough team to judge. They have had some very strong results on the way to their 4-3 record - most notably the 21-point win at Maryland as 15-point underdogs. But they also opened the season with head-scratching losses to Villanova and Buffalo at home, and they lost at Boston College by 10. So, they are the best team Cincinnati has played, but they are not exactly the best team in the country. And yet they are favored over the unbeaten Bearcats here. It all sets up a surprisingly-solid game in a surprisingly-solid conference.
Cincinnati at Temple Betting Storylines
Cincinnati's success is due almost entirely to their defense and the massive improvement from last year. Last year they were a dismal group, ranked 95th in the entire country. This year they have climbed all the way to third in both total yards and points allowed. And they have been relatively balanced, too, with Top 20 stats in both passing and rushing yards allowed. But they haven't played a particularly strong schedule, and Ohio scored 30 points on them and rushed for 5.2 yards per attempt. The team has looked good, but this should be another test of whether this Luke Fickell-led unit is legitimate or just a product of circumstance. But don't mistake Temple for a great offense. They rank 91st nationally in offense and have not done anything particularly well with any consistency. They are very mediocre through the air and solidly worse than that on the ground. And Ryquell Armstead, the top running back for Temple, missed the last game and is questionable in this one. That certainly won't help the offense.
This game is obviously important for Cincinnati, but Temple perhaps has more on the line. Cincinnati still has games against UCF and USF remaining, so they can overcome a loss here and still have a solid shot at winning the conference. Temple is unbeaten in the conference as well and has played one more conference game than Cincinnati, so they are still in every bit as good of shape as Cincinnati in the conference. But those early losses were really rough, and the failure to threaten Boston College was as well. So, while Temple is not ever going to be nationally relevant no matter what happens this year, they would really take a mental hit that would be tough to overcome if they don't show well in this game at home. Cincinnati is looking to maintain an unbeaten record that not even their closest fans would expect them to keep all year. But Temple is fighting for any remaining edge of significance. With their backs against the wall, some decent recent momentum, and home-field advantage, our job as bettors is to determine whether that is enough for us to trust the Owls.
Cincinnati at Temple Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Temple favored by 3.5 points, and that number almost immediately fell to three points. It has bounced around a little, but still is available at that three-point number - basically just the standard home-field advantage. Action has been very evenly split between the teams, so we are unlikely to see a big swing barring significant news. The total opened at 47 and has climbed slightly to 48.5.
The Bearcats are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five road games, but they are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games on grass and 1-4 ATS in their last five games against teams with a winning record. Temple is a strong 21-5 ATS in their last 26 conference games and 36-17 ATS in their last 53 games overall. Bettors love the Owls - and for good reason.
Cincinnati at Temple Predictions and Picks
Despite the ranking, Cincinnati isn't a hugely-impressive team. But Temple is even less impressive. I don't really see what Temple has done to make themselves favorites here - they have had two bad home losses already and don't have a significant strength to put forward here. Cincinnati gives us reasons for pause on both sides of the ball, but they are healthier and a little more talented, their coaching is a little better, and they are getting points. Cincinnati is the play here.
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