We’re one week away from College Football Conference Championships, and Friday afternoon kicks off some pivotal matchups.
Friday features three rivalry games, including two in-state battles and a matchup between top-20 AAC teams. Here’s a closer look at those matchups:
#19 Cincinnati Bearcats @ #18 Memphis Tigers, 3:30 PM:
- Memphis has covered the spread in 11 of its last 12 games played in November.
- Cincinnati has a 23 ATS record as an away underdog since 2018. Stats courtesy of StatsChecker.
Both of these teams have AAC Conference Championships implications on the line on Friday afternoon. With a win, Cincinnati secures home-field advantage for the conference title game next weekend. For Memphis, a win would secure a spot in that game and sets up a rematch with the Bearcats.
Memphis (10-1) are coming off their fifth consecutive win after rolling past the USF Bulls 49-10.
Senior running back Patrick Taylor Jr. carried the ball a team-high 17 times for 95 yards and three touchdowns.
The Tigers have the third highest scoring offense in the AAC averaging (42.4 ppg).
Cincinnati (10-1) picked up a ninth straight win after edging out the Temple Owls 15-13. The biggest play came in the fourth quarter as junior cornerback Coby Bryant went 98 yards on a blocked extra-point attempt to retake the lead for the Bearcats.
Junior running back Michael Warren II contributed 24 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown.
My pick is Cincinnati to cover the spread (+11).
The difference in this matchup will be the fierce Bearcats defense that has allowed the fewest points in the conference (19.9 ppg), and should keep this game close enough to at least cover the spread.
- Virginia Tech has a 65 ATS record, yet has managed to cover the spread in five consecutive games.
- Virginia has a 35 ATS record against the Hokies since 2011. Stats courtesy of StatsChecker.
The winner of the ACC’s Coastal Division will be decided by the Virginia in-state rivalry between the Cavaliers and Hokies.
Virginia Tech (8-3) – ranked 24th - picked a third win in a row after putting together their second consecutive shutout, defeating the Pittsburgh Panthers 28-0.
Sophomore quarterback Hendon Hooker was efficient completing 10-of-13 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns, adding 20 carries for 27 yards.
Meanwhile, Virginia (8-3) has also won three consecutive games after handling the Liberty Flames 55-27.
Senior quarterback Bryce Perkins showed off his dual-threat abilities by completing 18-of-30 for 199 yards and two touchdowns, adding 13 carries for 30 yards and a rushing score.
Virginia is my play at (+2.5), and I’ll sprinkle some on the moneyline at (+125).
My expectation is a closely contested defensive battle. Virginia and Virginia Tech defenses rank second and third in the conference respectively in points allowed; the Cavaliers (22.9 ppg) and the Hokies (22.3 ppg). With that said, my advantage tips towards the home team getting the points.
Texas Tech Red Raiders @ Texas Longhorns, 12:00 PM:
- Texas has failed to cover the spread in seven of its last eight home games in November.
- The Longhorns have a 60 record as a favorite, and a winless 0-5 record as an underdog. Stats courtesy of StatsChecker.
The Texas Longhorns (6-5) stumbled on the road and lost a second straight game after falling to the #14 Baylor Bears 24-10.
Gun-slinging junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger was held in check as he failed to account for a touchdown. Ehlinger completed 22-of-37 for 200 yards and one interception, adding 19 carries for 79 yards.
Texas Tech (4-7) fell short of completing a comeback and dropped a second consecutive game at home, losing to Kansas State Wildcats 30-27.
Senior wide receiver R.J. Turner had a big game catching seven passes for 141 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown to cut the lead to three points in the fourth quarter.
Take the Longhorns to cover the spread (-10), and I like the over 63.5 points.
Both these teams are more than capable of scoring points, and neither should have an issue doing that on Friday as both defenses rank in the bottom three of the conference. Texas has allowed the second most (29.4 ppg), and Texas Tech has given up the third (28.6 ppg).