NCAAF Odds, Picks & Predictions for Akron vs. Temple
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: E.J. Warner #13 of the Temple Owls.
Akron vs. Temple Odds
One of the more overlooked matchups of Week 1 may be the Akron Zips vs. the Temple Owls.
Both teams experienced tough years in 2022, with Temple going 3-9 and Akron going 2-10. Things may be pointing the right direction, though, as there are positives to find for both teams.
Handicapping a game like this can be tough, but there's one specific angle that I love here. One unit in this game was head and shoulders above the rest last season and will have a chance to shine yet again this weekend.
Akron’s offense was rather putrid in Joe Moorhead’s first season. The Zips ranked 116th in SP+ offense a year ago. They were 65th in Success Rate, but 110th in Explosiveness, 116th in Finishing Drives and 133rd in Offensive Havoc Rate.
This year, they return eight starters — including starting quarterback DJ Irons — on top of adding several transfers. The Zips return four offensive linemen and three of their top four wide receivers.
Overall, this should be an improved unit on what they were last year, but it remains to be seen whether they can take a leap in Moorhead’s second season.
Defensively, Akron returns a lot, but that may not necessarily be a good thing. This team ranked 114th in Defensive Success Rate and 112th in SP+ defense. The Zips were especially brutal against the pass, as they ranked 125th in Success Rate and 127th in PPA.
Seven starters are back from last year’s defense. This includes eight of their top-10 tacklers from a season ago. This continuity may help the Zips inch towards being in the top 100 this year, but their passing defense is a bad matchup against Temple’s aerial attack.
When discussing the 2022 Temple football team, one of the lone bright spots may have been its defense. Despite struggling on offense, the Owls’ defense was rated 71st by SP+. They were 81st in Defensive Success Rate, but they did excel in preventing explosive plays, as the Owls ranked 56th in the country and 30th in Explosiveness against the pass.
The rushing defense was the biggest issue for this unit, but Akron is a high-volume passing team, so this may not present itself this weekend. Akron passed at the fourth-highest rate in FBS last year.
Temple is 30th in net returning production this year. It returns nine starters on the defensive side of the ball, including its entire secondary. This continuity on the back end and Akron’s propensity to throw the ball is why I'm high on the Temple defense in this matchup.
On the other side of the ball, E.J. Warner is the main reason for optimism. The surface-level numbers leave a lot to be desired for the Owls for 2022, but they performed much better with Warner on the field.
Temple ranked 113th in Offensive Success Rate a season ago, but were 53rd in Passing Success Rate. The Owls passed at the 10th-highest rate in the country and will likely do so again. The Owls return three offensive line starters and almost all of their rushing production as well.
Warner passed for 3,028 yards and 18 touchdowns last year with a 125.9 passer rating as a true freshman. If he can maintain this level of play, he may end up being one of the better quarterbacks in the AAC this season.
Akron vs Temple
Betting Pick & Prediction
Temple is flat out the better team in this game, which is already evident by the 10-point spread.
However, I believe the gap between these two teams is wider than htis.
While Akron should be improved from a season ago, its passing defense will not be able to hold up to Warner and Temple’s pass-heavy approach.
Meanwhile, Temple’s defense is largely suited to defend the pass and returns almost everyone from last year’s squad.
While betting a double-digit spread between two teams who were bad last year can be a bit scary, I believe that Temple is the better and more improved team. The Owls should come out with a win here and start their trek towards potential bowl eligibility.