The American Athletic Conference continues to show how strong it can be as a “Group of 5” conference. With teams vying for top bowl games each year since the league was formed, the 2019 season has provided its strongest year yet.
On Saturday at noon, two of the league’s best teams square off in the City of Brotherly Love, but there will be no love lost between the Memphis Tigers and host Temple Owls.
The teams last met in 2016 when the Tigers took down Temple in Tennessee, 34-27. The Owls have beefed up their program this season, racing out to a 4-1 start and first-place in the AAC East. But to keep pace with an even stronger Cincinnati team, Temple desperately needs a win.
On the other side, Memphis and 21st-ranked SMU are tied for first in the AAC West. But the 23rd-ranked Tigers have a trio of should-be wins on the slate before they face the Mustangs — including Saturday at Temple.
Memphis Tigers vs Temple Owls
Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 12 p.m.
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline
Spread: Memphis (-5.5 at -110)
Over/Under: 49.5 (-110 either side)
The Tigers are one of the top teams at defending the pass this season, ranking third in pass yards allowed per game with 146.2. It’s a staggering total for a talented Tigers secondary. The Memphis defense as a whole gives up 325 yards per game, however, meaning they struggle to consistently stop the run.
That isn’t reflected in the scoring, however, as Memphis’ opponents average just 19.2 points per game. Offensively, the Tigers are one of the highest-scoring teams in the nation averaging 39.2 points per game themselves.
Memphis mixes things up well offensively, providing a balanced rushing and passing attack behind quarterback Brady White and running back Kenneth Gainwell. Gainwell had the eighth-most single-game rushing yards last week against Louisiana-Monroe with 209 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.
Allowing under 300 yards of total offense per game this season, the Owls defense is for real and is the main reason why the team has been so successful this year. Stopping the run hasn’t been too hard for Temple, which allows 125.4 rushing yards per game this season.
While the Owls rushing offense has been fairly average, Re’Mahn Davis’ last two games have given reason to believe a second-half surge is coming. He’s currently 23rd in the FBS with 503 total yards this season, through five games, and four rushing touchdowns as well.
Quarterback Anthony Russo has also enjoyed a successful season, throwing for 1,279 yards and 11.7 yards per completion.
This game will be filled with offense in a battle between two versatile teams. Memphis is a big over team while Temple has been wobbling back and forth when it comes to totals.
Whoever can command the ground game will control the result of this one, and it could be an exhibition of two of the nation’s most underrated running backs.
Pick: This game should likely hit the over, but the spread is more difficult to predict. The Tigers are favored on the road and could win a game decided by less than a touchdown. Take Temple against the spread in a 35-31 win for the Tigers.