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Montgomery Bowl: Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic odds, preview, and pick

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December 21st, 2020

The Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, AL is the site for Wednesday night’s Montgomery Bowl (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN). A replacement for the Fenway Bowl, the Montgomery Bowl pits the AAC’s Memphis Tigers (7-3) against Conference USA’s Florida Atlantic Owls (5-3). The Tigers are favored, but will they reward their backers, or will the Owls spring the upset? Here’s our wagering preview.

Thu, December 24 2020, 12:00 AM

Florida Atlantic Owls

Moneyline

+255

Spread

+9.5

Total

O 50.5

Memphis Tigers

Moneyline

-335

Spread

-9.5

Total

U 50.5

Memphis enters with momentum

The Tigers have won four of their last five games heading into Wednesday’s Montgomery Bowl, averaging 30.2 points per contest. They nearly gave away their most recent game against the Houston Cougars – who scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to force a 27-27 tie – but Memphis was able to seal the deal with a last-second field goal.

Florida Atlantic closed out their season with two straight losses after winning four in a row between Oct. 31 and Nov. 20. Georgia Southern shut down Willie Taggart’s squad on Dec. 5, 20-3, before Southern Miss added a 45-31 defeat to the Owls’ ledger five days later.

A classic offense-vs-defense matchup

The Owls are getting by on defense, allowing the 12th-fewest points per game in the nation (16.5). By contrast, the Tigers are 78th in scoring defense this season (31.4 points allowed per game).

However, Florida Atlantic is a lacking 112th in points per game this year (20), while Memphis is 59th in the same department (28.9 points per game).

Memphis and Florida Atlantic statistics and rankings

Team NamePassing YardsRushing YardsPassing Yards AllowedRushing Yards Allowed
Memphis Tigers
314.9, 14th
123.9, 103rd
317.9, 128th
155.8, 55th
Florida Atlantic Owls
143.6, 117th
185.2, 46th
175.6, 13th
150.8, 51st

Both teams have played poorly on the road

The Tigers and Owls were both undefeated at home in the regular season, with Memphis going 6-0 and Florida Atlantic going 4-0. However, both programs went 1-3 in road games in 2020.

Memphis managed just 17 points per game in their four road contests. Quarterback Brady White saw significant drops in completion rate (61.9% at home, 57.1% on the road) and yards per attempt (8.5 at home, 7.2 on the road) when asked to travel. He tossed 21 of his 28 total touchdowns at the Liberty Bowl.

Florida Atlantic was held to fewer than 10 points in two of their four road games this year. Their offense-by-committee, with Nick Tronti and Javion Posey splitting time under center and James Charles leading the backfield, can’t afford a similar performance here.

Will Memphis cover the spread in the Montgomery Bowl?

Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic trends

Florida Atlantic appeals catching plenty of points in Wednesday’s Montgomery Bowl. They’re a perfect 4-0 against the spread in bowl games, and have covered in five of their last six games as an underdog. The Owls are also 7-1 ATS in their last eight games against teams with winning records.

Memphis has failed to cover in five straight bowl games and are just 3-10 ATS in their last 13 overall tilts.

The Under is 6-2 in games involving Florida Atlantic this season, and 4-1 in the Tigers’ last five December games.

Score prediction: Memphis 24, Florida Atlantic 21

NCAAF pick: Florida Atlantic +7.5, Under 51.5 points


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