Cincinnati vs Memphis AAC Title Game Picks & Odds: Tigers Favored by 9.5 at Home

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis
No. 21 Cincinnati and No. 16 Memphis clash for the second straight week, but this time the AAC title is at stake. Photo from Christopher Boyd Jr. (Wiki Commons) [CCLicense]
  • No. 21 Cincinnati and No. 16 Memphis clash in the AAC Championship game (Dec. 7, 3:30 PM ET)
  • The Tigers are 9.5-point favorites
  • These two teams squared off last week, with Memphis earning a 34-24 victory

No. 16 Memphis (11-1) hosts No. 21 Cincinnati for the second straight week, but this time the conference championship is on the line. The Tigers defeated the Bearcats 34-24 last week and opened as 10-point favorites in Saturday’s AAC title game (Dec. 7, 3:30 PM ET).

#21 Cincinnati vs #16 Memphis Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Cincinnati Bearcats +9.5 (-112) +275 Over 57.5 (-110)
Memphis Tigers -9.5 (-108) -330 Under 57.5 (-110)

Odds taken Dec. 3

The point spread has already moved a half a point in Cincinnati’s favor, while the total has held firm at 57.5. Memphis failed to cover as 14-point favorites last week, while the Bearcats played a game that went under the total for the fifth time in six outings.

Both teams have been removed from the 2020 National Championship odds board, but a win on Saturday would guarantee the Tigers a spot in the Cotton Bowl. Memphis is the highest-ranked Group-of-Five program and has beaten the Bearcats four straight times.

Familiar Foes

The Tigers got off to a fast start last week versus Cincinnati, returning the opening kick 94 yards for a touchdown. They built a 17-3 lead by the end of the first quarter, before putting the game away with an Antonio Gibson 29-yard touchdown late in the fourth.

Memphis was held to eight points below its season average, but made up for the lack of offense with a strong defensive showing. They recorded five sacks, 15 tackles for loss, and forced three turnovers, while holding the Bearcats below 25 points for the third straight game.

With their starting QB Desmond Ridder nursing a shoulder injury, Cincinnati was forced to start redshirt freshman QB Ben Bryant. The inexperienced Bryant actually played quite well in the first half, but two second-half interceptions and a fumble derailed any chance of a Bearcats comeback.

Ridder appears on track to play this week, although no final decision has been made. Cincinnati is 20-3 over the last two seasons with Ridder under center.

The Bearcats Will Lean on Their Defense

The Bearcats held the Tigers to their third-lowest point total of the season, and 51 yards below their 2019 average. They lead the AAC in points allowed and turnovers forced, and rank second in run defense.

Last week was just the third time they’ve surrendered more than 24 points in a game all season, and they’ll need to keep the AAC title game low scoring if they want to pull off the upset.

The Cincinnati offense eclipsed 27 points just three times all season, and rank 10th in the conference in total yards, eighth in yards per play and seventh in scoring.

Play the Under

Nine of 12 Bearcats games this season have gone under the total and Saturday’s tilt has all the ingredients to fall short of 57.5 points. Cincinnati already has a blue print on how to slow down the Memphis attack, and even if the Tigers are able to put up points early, the Bearcats lack the firepower to keep pace. If Ridder starts he won’t be 100% healthy, and even when he wasn’t battling an injury the Cincinnati offense struggled to hit pay dirt.

The Bearcats defense gets all the press, and rightfully so, but the Memphis defense is a fierce unit as well. They give up just three more points per game than Cincinnati and rank 31st in the nation in yards per play allowed. Play the under now before the market adjusts.

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