Cincinnati vs. Memphis College Football Picks for Week 14
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Memphis Tigers, Saturday November 30, 3:30 p.m. ET
During this final week of the college football regular season, we usually focus on the big rivalry games or the ones that will determine playoff berths or berths in conference championship games. This is none of those. But the AAC showdown has so much to like about it. Cincinnati and Memphis are the two highest-ranked Group of 5 teams, so the winner has the inside track to a New Year's 6 bowl game. And we could have a fascinating scenario with a Memphis win or a Navy loss, too. Cincinnati has already clinched their division, and Memphis will clinch theirs unless they lose and Navy wins, so there is a solid chance that we will see this exact same game again - with the winner of this game hosting that rematch. You almost never see teams play two weeks in a row in college football, so that alone would be worth the price of admission. And on top of everything else, these are just two very good, very entertaining teams, so it is going to be a very good game even without everything else going on.
Cincinnati at Memphis Betting Storylines
The contrast in styles here is significant. Cincinnati is barely competent offensively but gets by on the strength of a defense that ranks 23rd nationally in points allowed - and is much better than that if you ignore the debacle which was the 42-0 loss against Ohio State. They aren't stellar at one particular thing, but as a package it is very effective. On the other side, Memphis ranks eighth nationally in points scored and 10th in total yards, but they treat defense as an annoyance you are forced to do between times the offense is on the field. But when you look a little closer, you will see that Memphis is actually sneaky good when it comes to defending the pass. And Cincinnati is just awful through the air, ranking 110th nationally in yards allowed. It is dramatically easier to imagine Memphis coming close to their typical offensive production than it is to imagine Cincinnati scoring points in bulk. And that's why the Tigers are such significant favorites even though Bearcats have come in with wins in nine straight.
It also doesn't help Cincinnati's cause that they don't come in riding a lot of positive momentum. In their last two, they beat a bad USF team on the road by only three points and then barely scraped by Temple by two at home last week in a result that wasn't nearly good enough. Even worse, they have managed just 78 and 62 passing yards in those two games. Memphis likes to turn their games into shootouts, and you can't keep up in a shootout if you can't break 100 yards passing. Memphis, by contrast, won by 39 at USF last week and beat up on Houston on the road the week before. These teams have the same overall record, and Cincinnati the better conference record. However, based on where they sit right now, the teams don't feel entirely equal. Bearcats fans, though, would point out that while their team beat Temple by only two, the Tigers lost to the Owls by the same margin. When you are talking about 10-1 teams, so much of it is about the angle of your perspective.
Cincinnati at Memphis Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Memphis favored by as few as 9.5 points, and you can now find it widely at 11 , with 11.5 available in several spots. Memphis has only a slight edge in the number of bets placed on them, so we aren't likely to see dramatic movement without breaking news. The total opened at 57.5 and has since fallen just slightly to 57.
The Bearcats are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall - all conference games - and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games in November. The Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last five overall and 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 conference games. The Bearcats are 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings between these teams and have covered their last four spreads in Memphis. The road team has covered the last four spreads.
Cincinnati at Memphis Predictions and Picks
This is a very well-coached, competitive showdown. And it should be a whole lot of fun. What kind of football you prefer says something about your personality, though, and I will take offensive explosiveness or grinding defense every single day. I don't have many doubts that Memphis will be able to score. And I'm not sure how Cincinnati will keep up. This is a lot of points to give up, but not too many. Memphis is the play against the spread.
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