Cincinnati vs. Temple Prediction, Pick Against the Spread, and Latest Odds
Spread: Cincinnati -29
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Cincinnati vs. Temple Prediction
The Cincinnati Bearcats emphatically strengthened their College Football Playoff resume with a massive road win last week in one of their marquee games of the season against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by a score of 24-13 as they controlled the game on both sides of the football. They will look to avoid a letdown here as they return home to face the Temple Owls in a Friday night conference matchup in the AAC. Cincinnati is 4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS this season, including two wins against Indiana and Notre Dame, which are among the two toughest games on their schedule this season.
The Bearcats offense is extremely balanced, making them tough to defend. Quarterback Desmond Ridder averages 265 passing yards per game through the air at 8.9 yards per attempt and a strong set of targets, including Wide Receivers Alec Pierce and Michael Young and Tight End Leonard Taylor. Cincinnati is also running the football well with 146 yards per game at 4.5 yards per carry. The Cincinnati defense has been stout, just like they were last season. They are giving up 14.5 points per game and rank 16th in the country in yards per play allowed, which is impressive considering they’ve played two high-quality opponents to this point, Indiana and Notre Dame.
Temple has exceeded my expectations which were very low coming into the season. The Owls are 3-1 SU to begin the season, and the only loss was against the Boston College Eagles by a score of 28-3. In that loss, Temple was +24 in total yards and only -0.5 yards per play against BC. Temple’s defense has been surprisingly solid against the pass, although they have struggled to stop the run, yielding 4 yards per rush and 171 rushing yards per game.
The Owls also have a positive yards per play margin so far this season at +2 yards per play in their games against FBS foes. Temple has gotten competent quarterback play from D’Wan Mathis, a Georgia transfer, who had a rough first start against Rutgers in the season opener but has progressively gotten better in subsequent games since then. In his last two starts at quarterback against Wagner and Memphis, he has five touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 70.1% completion rate. He rallied the Temple offense from a 17-0 deficit against Memphis when the Owls came back to win 34-31 as double-digit home underdogs. The Wide Receiver corps has been making plays for their Quarterback with Jose Barbon, Randle Jones, and Amad Anderson combining for 44 receptions, 693 receiving yards, and four touchdowns through five games. That will be put to the test here against a Cincinnati secondary that was elite last season and appears to be that way again this season, with the Bearcats giving up only 184 yards through the air per game and 5.2 yards per attempt. Opposing quarterbacks against Cincinnati is completing just 46.2% of their passes. This will be a very challenging defense for Temple to navigate even though their offense has improved because Cincinnati’s defense is by far the best stop unit that Temple has faced this season.
This is a tricky game to handicap because, obviously, this is a talent and speed mismatch in favor of Cincinnati. Still, I’ve seen enough from Temple to be a little reluctant to lay more than four touchdowns in this game with the Bearcats for a couple of reasons. One is that Temple’s offense has certainly improved in recent weeks with a healthy D’Wan Mathis at Quarterback. Let’s not forget that Mathis was initially a Georgia recruit, so he has talent. The other reason is the spot here for Cincinnati. They just came off one of the biggest wins the program has had in years going into Notre Dame and knocking off the Fighting Irish, and now they must maintain focus and intensity as they return home to face Temple on Friday night. This is a national TV game on a Friday night, and the atmosphere at Nippert Stadium should be fantastic. We saw Cincinnati roll over teams in these weeknight home games last season on national TV, but this scheduling spot is slightly different. Therefore, I will lean a bit here to Temple at more than four touchdowns to keep this game from getting too far out of hand.
Cincinnati vs. Temple Pick
Temple +29 (-110)