Sunday College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Cincinnati vs. Memphis (Jan. 9)
Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Minott
- The Memphis Tigers opened as 9-point favorites against the Cincinnati Bearcats for Sunday's AAC college basketball matchup.
- However, betting support for Cincinnati has pushed the point spread to a consensus of Memphis -7.5 with just hours before tipoff. Some sportsbooks even list Memphis -7.
- Nevertheless, as our college basketball betting analyst explains below, the point spread is not the bet to make on Sunday afternoon. Instead, look to the over/under, and bet on a defensive struggle.
Cincinnati vs. Memphis Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The insane and unpredictable AAC is back on Sunday, as Cincinnati will travel to Memphis to take on the Tigers.
Both of these teams have been up-and-down this season.
Memphis sits at 2-1 in the conference, with wins over Tulsa and Wichita State, while Cincinnati is 1-1 and coming off of a huge win over SMU. The Bearcats also suffered an embarrassing loss to Tulane at home.
Memphis came into the season with maybe more hype than any team in the country, and what a let down it has been.
The Tigers have suffered losses to Georgia, Ole Miss, Tulane and Murray State to just to name few. But they were also able to defeat a top-25 team in Alabama, and beat Virginia Tech earlier this season on a neutral court.
So again, both of these teams are just wildly hot and cold.
And even more so, neither of these teams have been good against the spread. Cincinnati boasts a record of just 6-7 ATS while Memphis is just 5-8.
So, when two teams that are maybe among the most unpredictable in college basketball match up, which one should you take?
The Bearcats have been led by David DeJulius, who is averaging 12.8 points, 2.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. In their last game against SMU, DeJulius went off for 22 points — his second 20+ point game in the Bearcats’ last four contests.
But he isn’t the only one who has stepped up recently. Jeremiah Davenport has scored in double digits in six of Cincinnati’s last seven games. Davenport has also led the team in rebounding this season, racking up 5.1 boards per game.
As a team, the Bearcats have been decent enough on offense, currently averaging 70.6 points per game. But when you look at their numbers in depth, it becomes concerning.
The Bearcats post an effective field goal percentage outside the top 250 at 47.3%. Even worse, they rank 322nd in the country in 3-point shooting, hitting at just 28.9%.
They have been able to limit turnovers and be a force around the basket, though. Cincinnati is turning the ball over on only 14.7% of plays and coming down with 33.9% of offensive rebounding opportunities.
The Bearcats’ biggest strength has been on the defensive end. Cincinnati is fifth in college basketball in defensive effective field goal percentage, allowing opposing teams to shoot just 41.2%. The Bearcats also post the second-best 2-point field goal defense at 40.2%.
Overall, teams are racking up just 60.8 points per game against the Bearcats.
Memphis will look for its third win in a row as it hosts the Bearcats. I’ve already talked enough about how unpredictable this team can be, so let’s look at what we know for sure about the Tigers.
On offense, Memphis has averaged 77.7 points per game while allowing opponents to score an average of just 69.6. That offensive output has been led by DeAndre Williams and Jalen Duren, two of the three players for Memphis averaging in double figures along with Emoni Bates.
The Tigers have also been one of the fastest teams in college hoops, ranking 12th in adjusted tempo. But they have turnover problems, giving the ball up on 24.8% of offensive plays. They are one of the bottom-five worst teams in the nation in turnover percentage and steal percentage.
Another major issue for this Memphis offense has come at the free throw line, where it ranks 227th, hitting just 68.8% of shots.
Cincinnati vs. Memphis Betting Pick
One thing I want to note that can’t be ignored, Cincinnati has played just two road games this season. But they weren’t true road games.
Cincinnati’s road contests have been against Miami (OH) and Xavier — neither team is more than 75 miles from the Cincinnati campus. The trip to Memphis will be the Bearcats’ first true road test of the season.
In those two short road trips, though, Cincinnati escaped Miami (OH) with just a one-point victory and got blown out by its rival Xavier, 83-63.
With how unpredictable both of these teams have been I will look to shy away from the spread — even though I think eight points is too many on either side of this matchup.
Instead, I’ll be trusting what I know these teams will do — play aggressive defense and struggle at the free throw line. Both teams rank inside the top 40 in defensive adjusted efficiency and outside the top 200 in free throw shooting.
Cincinnati is also outside the top 200 in shooting percentage, and I think its defense will do enough to slow down a Memphis team that is averaging 77 points per game.
With that said, I took the under at 142, and would feel comfortable at any number better than 140.