Memphis Tigers vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Picks and Predictions

October 29, 2020

Date:Saturday, October 31st
Time:12:00 PM ET
Network:ESPN
Venue:Nippert Stadium
Spread:Cincy -6.5
O/U:55.5

The 3-1 Memphis Tigers will go on the road Saturday afternoon to face off with the 4-0 Cincinnati Bearcats at 12:00 PM ET in Nippert Stadium. The seventh-ranked Bearcats come in as 6.5-point home favorites and we’re looking at a 55.5 over/under. The Bearcats silenced a lot of doubters with their commanding victory over SMU and they’ll have another chance to do so against a Memphis squad that has a ton of talent. You know that must be the case when an I ranked team is less than a touchdown underdog on the road against the seventh-ranked team in the nation. Let’s dive into how this one will go down and who will end up covering the spread.

Trends

  • Memphis is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games when playing on the road against Cincinnati.
  • The total has gone OVER in 6 of Memphis’ last 8 games played in October.
  • Cincinnati is 3-6 ATS in their last 9 games when playing as the favorite.
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Memphis’ last 6 games played in week 9.

When The Memphis Tigers Have The Ball

The CFB committee isn’t always fair. The Memphis Tigers dropped out of the rankings after their close loss to SMU and weren’t re-included after beating UCF just seven days later. It likely had to do with the Knights being exposed a week prior as a fraudulent contender. The Tigers moved to 3-1 on the season with a win over Tulane a week ago and will face their toughest competition of the season in the Cincinnati Bearcats. 

The Tigers beat you with balance offensively, but they still run through senior QB Brady White and his right arm. He’s completed 65% of his passes for 1,375 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s thrown four interceptions, which I’m willing to take as he’s a bit risky with the football. It typically leads to good things. He’s added another 76 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He’s by no means a prolific runner, but he’s smart and knows when to escape the pocket and make something happen. He’s also big and uses his body well when necessary. 

This offense has run the same two-RB set for the better part of a decade. One guy is always the slammer and the other runs the edges and catches passes. Rodrigues Clark (421 yds, TD) is the thunder while Kylan Watkins (229 yds, TD, 8 rec, 67 yds, TD) brings the lightning. The pair is tough to contain as they bring much different skill sets to the table. Look for Memphis to establish the run early on the road against a Cincy defense that can struggle in the trenches. 

The receiving corps is filled with talent and it starts with Calvin Austin III. The 5’9 junior slot receiver is a beast and he’s caught a team-high 24 balls for 424 yards and five touchdowns. White loves throwing it over the middle and it’s where Austin III is most comfortable. Tight end Sean Dykes has caught 28 balls for 281 yards and four touchdowns. Again, White is usually looking over the middle of the field and those are the two guys there. Tahj Washington and Damonte Coxie have each caught 15+ balls for 175+ yards. Coxie is approaching 3,000 career receiving yards and is the team’s best player. It’s only a matter of time until he breaks out with a massive performance. 

When The Cincinnati Bearcats Have The Ball

The Bearcats proved legitimate after beating SMU 42-13 in a game they were slight underdogs in. The entire team played well on both sides of the ball and the game was over by halftime. Desmond Ridder looked better under center than he has been all season and Cincy as a whole looked like one of the best teams in the entire country. They’ll get another immediate test against a Memphis Tigers squad that can move the ball with anyone. 

Junior QB Desmond Ridder has been up and down throughout his career, but there’s a reason many believe he’s one of the best NFL prospects out there. It has to do with his upside when he does perform well, as he’s built like a prototypical franchise QB (6’4, 220) and his arm has all the necessary talent. He’s completed 60% of his passes on the season for 723 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s looked better and better in every single game and it certainly seems like he’s getting a real feel for the offense. 

Ridder is also the team’s leading rusher with 250 yards and three touchdowns on just 23 carries. He’s tied with senior RB Gerrid Doaks, who’s one of the few workhorse backs in CFB that remain. Doaks has run it 62 times for 250 yards and six scores. He’s a problem for anyone to tackle 1-on-1 and is far enough to outrun LB’s. Doaks is the starter in this offense that gets the alternator and engine revving. They’ll look to feed him early and often against an undersized Memphis defensive line. Charles McClelland and Jerome Ford are excellent complementary pieces and both have picked up 20+ carries on the year and 100+ yards. 

The Bearcats don’t have a ton of prolific talent at wide receiver, but they have a couple of guys that will get attention from NFL scouts. Jayshon Jackson and Michael Young are only 5’10 a piece, but they’re tough to contain over the middle of the field when both are running similar routes. They each have 10 catches on the year and Young has found paydirt. Tight end Josh Whyle has caught just seven balls on the year for 104 yards, but three of those have been for touchdowns. The 6’6 sophomore is a massive target with soft hands and Ridder has been wise to look his way when it matters most. Doaks has seven catches out of the backfield for 135 yards and two touchdowns. All in all, Ridder doesn’t have a favorite. He’s comfortable going to the open man and has done a great job of going through his progressions, dissimilar to past seasons. 

Spread Prediction

The Pick: Memphis +6.5

The Bearcats made me look silly a week ago and I’m doubling down. The SMU Mustangs were terrible offensively and it was nowhere near the test we expected to see. That won’t be the case against a Memphis team that can score in more than one way. Brady White is just as good of a thrower as Desmond Ridder and the weapons he has to work with are far better. Cincy is being proved like this by the books for a reason. They don’t have the traits that make up an elite CFB team. 

The Tigers defense isn’t one to write home about, but they’re extremely aggressive and they are elite in the secondary. They’ve turned opposing teams over twice per game and the Bearcats offense is far from prolific. I’ll be waiting for Memphis to get up to a touchdown underdog before laying two units on them. This is the week Cincy finally struggles and I’ll be all over Memphis. I’ll also be sprinkling some Tigers money line as they have a real chance to win this game if their offense shows up. 

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Total Prediction

The Pick: Over 55.5
Final Score Prediction: Memphis 31, Cincinnati 28

The Bearcats were tremendous defensively against SMU and it’s why we’re seeing the lower total in this game. I expect Memphis to perform much better as they aren’t banged up and reliant on one facet of their offense. I expect this game to come down to the wire and for the second-half to be a lot of back and forth action. Give me the over all day here and I’ll be laying two personal units on the total. It’ll likely get bet up to 57 or 58, which is where I’d stop. Jump on the bet earlier in the week and take advantage. 

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