The NCAA week 14 Cincinnati at Memphis free pick is a good one on paper with both teams being ranked in the top 20. Oddsmakers aren’t expecting much of a game on the field however making #18 Memphis a -13.5 favorite over the 19th ranked BearCats. That’s a lot of points to be getting for a Cincinnati team that has won 9 in a row. Perhaps oddsmakers think Luke Fickell’s team gets complacent, having already punched their ticket to the AAC Championship next week?
How Impressive Has the Bearcats’ Run Really Been?
Cincinnati should thank Ohio State for the wake up call they delivered in a 42-0 beatdown in week two. Since then the Bearcats have won 9 straight games, including going 7-0 in the conference to win the AAC East. Although the Bearcats have already made their way to the conference title game next week, the NCAA week 14 Cincinnati at Memphis free pick is still important. If Cincinnati wins, they’ll host the title game at Nippert Stadium, a venue where they’ve won 13 straight.
So why are the Bearcats nearly 2 TD underdogs on Friday? Some people think that the 9-0 run they are on is expected and Cincinnati has been a double-digit underdog in 6 of their last 7. Their wins include a 2 point win at Temple last week, a 3 point victory over USF the game prior, and outlasting ECU 46-43 earlier in the season. The 4-7 Pirates amassed 535 passing yards in that tilt. That doesn’t bode well for Cincinnati against a Memphis offense that is top 10 in the country in total yards.
Despite some struggles, the Cincinnati defense did allow the fewest points in the AAC conference on the season. The Bearcats also have a solid running game that was 34th in the nation at almost 200 yards per game. Michael Warren II has a great chance of eclipsing 1000 yards for the season after going for 100+ in 3 of the last 4 while scoring 7 TDs over that span. Unfortunately for Cincinnati, their running game will have to be great as QB Desmond Ridder is battling a shoulder injury that has held him to 140 total passing yards the last two games.
Memphis Ready to Dominate Here?
After a closer look, maybe the -13.5 points isn’t nearly enough for Friday afternoon’s tilt? The total for this one is 58.5 and it almost looks like Memphis should be able to pick their score. The Tigers have won 5 straight in their own rights, all while scoring at least 42 points in each of those games.
The Bearcats defense has given up just 11 ppg over the last three, but they haven’t seen an offense that compares to Memphis’ over that span. The Tigers have the most efficient passing game in the conference and the #20 unit in the whole country at 292 ypg. Brady White is on a roll with 340+ yards passing in 4 of the last 6. White has over 3000 yards and 30 TD on the season. What scares you about Memphis though is that they are far from one-dimensional. Kenneth Gainwell does what his last name says with 1294 yards rushing on the season.
There are a couple other things going for Memphis here. The first is that they need this game as a win would set up a rematch with Cincinnati in the conference title game. Navy goes to the championship if Memphis loses and the Midshipmen beat Houston. Memphis is also at home, where they are 5-0 on the year.
NCAA Week 14 Cincinnati at Memphis Free Pick
The Tigers will honor their Senior class before Friday’s game, the only group in school history to record multiple 10-win seasons. With a victories vs. Cincinnati in the next two weeks, Memphis will also be eligible for a New Year’s Six Bowl, probably the Cotton Bowl. That’s a lot of motivation for a team playing some of their best football over the past month.
Pick: Memphis -13.5