Memphis vs FAU Odds, Picks & Prediction | How to Bet This 8-9 Matchup
Getty Images. Design by Matt Roembke/Action Network. Pictured from left: Memphis Tiger Kendric Davis and FAU Owl Johnell Davis.
Memphis vs FAU Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Tipping off the late round of games on Friday night, Memphis and Florida Atlantic battle in one of the better first-round matchups of the NCAA tournament.
The Tigers earned their automatic bid by defeating No. 1 Houston in the American Athletic Conference Championship last weekend.
Meanwhile, the Owls also won their league tournament, securing the Conference USA title to go along with a program-record 31 wins.
As a follower of both conferences, my eyes lit up when I saw this pairing, so I’m excited to dive into this game to find the best betting value.
Coach Penny Hardaway and his squad are back in a similar role to last season, when the Tigers played in the 8-9 matchup before losing to Gonzaga in the second round.
However, they enter this tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country.
Memphis has only lost two of its last 11 games, which both came against the Cougars by just a combined 10 points.
One of those was also without guard Kendric Davis, who is one of the more electric players in the NCAA.
Coming into this tournament, Davis ranks 12th in the nation in scoring (21.5 PPG) and 20th in assists (5.6 APG). He is fresh off being named the Most Outstanding Player of the AAC Tournament after averaging 28 points and 5.3 assists per game to lead the Tigers to the title.
The other player to watch in this matchup will be DeAndre Williams, who has put up 17.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a big man who also can take you off the dribble.
This duo carries Memphis in most games, and they will have to come up big here.
What a season for FAU under head coach Dusty May, who will likely be a hot name in the coaching carousel this summer after guiding the program to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002.
The Owls come into the Big Dance with only three losses, with the last one coming all the way back on Feb. 16. The resume includes a win at Florida, at home versus UAB and a pair of conference triumphs over North Texas.
May’s squad is very well balanced, ranking in the top 40 on both ends of the floor in adjusted efficiency, effective field goal% and 2-point shooting% according to Bart Torvik.
FAU also just misses this distinction in defending 3-pointers, ranking 68th defensively and 32nd on offense.
The Owls also showcase great depth offensively, with two of their top scorers coming off the bench in many games. Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin both average just over 13 points per game, with neither starting in half of the contests this season.
Memphis vs FAU Betting Picks & Predictions
I can’t stress enough how good of a basketball game this is going to be, and I feel like both teams could make a run to the second weekend.
However, I’m going to back Memphis to edge out Florida Atlantic on the moneyline price of -135 or better.
If you look at how the Tigers have played since Feb. 9, no school in the East region has a higher Bart Torvik rating or adjusted efficiency numbers. Memphis is also higher than FAU during this period in games played away from home or on neutral floors.
I haven’t been the biggest fan of Penny as a coach, but he does still have more experience in this spot than May.
Another key edge comes at the free-throw line, where the Tigers are 66th in the nation compared to the Owls’ ranking of 177th.
With the way Davis is playing, I don’t trust anyone more than him in late-game situations at the moment, which is why I’ll also be looking to get involved in his player props as well.
Pick: Memphis ML -125 (Play to -135)
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