Cincinnati vs. Memphis Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Should AAC Championship Spread Be This Low?

Cincinnati vs. Memphis Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Should AAC Championship Spread Be This Low? article feature image

Aaron Doster, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Perry Young

  • Odds for the 2019 AAC Championship have settled in -- Memphis is a 9-point favorite over Cincinnati, with the total at 59.
  • The Tigers closed -14 against the Bearcats just eight days ago in the AAC regular season finale, so the market has made a big adjustment despite Memphis winning that game 34-24.
  • Get our full breakdown of the AAC Championship Game and our Cincinnati vs. Memphis picks and predictions below.

AAC Championship Odds: Cincinnati vs. Memphis

  • Spread: Memphis -9
  • Over/Under: 59
  • Time: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ABC
  • Location: Memphis, Tenn.

Memphis closed at -14 against Cincinnati in this same stadium last Friday.

Just eight days later, Memphis is only -9 in the AAC Championship Game.

So why has the market shifted so drastically in just a week? Let’s try to diagnose it.

The winner of this game will likely take the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six bowl spot and face one of the nation’s best teams in the Cotton Bowl.

Odds as of Friday afternoon via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.

Cincinnati vs. Memphis Line Movement

Despite a significantly lower opening number than last week’s edition of this game, most bettors have taken Cincinnati plus the points this go-round. Fifty-nine percent of bets and 55% of money have landed on the Bearcats, who opened +10.5 at the earliest books to market, but are now just +9.5.

As for the total, the 54% of bettors on the over have accounted for 72% of money thus far, but that hasn’t been enough to convince oddsmakers to shift this total from the consensus opener of 57.5. — Danny Donahue

Is Ridder Really an Upgrade?

You could argue that Cincy didn’t really need to win last week as it had already clinched a spot in the AAC title game, but the Bearcats had plenty of motivation to get home-field advantage the AAC Championship and keep their New Year’s Six bowl hopes alive. They played to win.

One possible reason for the drastic line move from last week? Cincinnati benched starting quarterback Desmond Ridder, and coach Luke Fickell has already named Ridder the starter for this week’s rematch. He’d been dealing with a shoulder injury for weeks, and that has to at least be a slight concern despite reports from Cincy.

I actually think the Cincy offense looked more dynamic with Ben Bryant in his first ever start. He can make some throws that Ridder can’t and it showed on a number of third-down completions that helped Cincy keep drives alive.

Assuming Ridder is 100%, I’m not sure it’s much of an upgrade. In his last start against Temple, Ridder turned out one of the worst QB performances of the season, going 9-25 for 62 yards with 0 TD, 3 INT and 3 sacks.

In November against four defenses not as good as Memphis (Temple, Uconn, ECU and USF) — Ridder went 43-90 (47.8%) with 3 TD and 3 INT while averaging less than 110 passing yards per game. — Stuckey

Last Week’s Boxscore Results Favor Memphis

Memphis didn’t cover the closing line last week (the Tigers won by 10) but still gained 6.9 yards per play while holding Cincy to just 5.3.

Memphis stalled out in the red zone a few times which isn’t surprising against a Bearcat defense that ranks in the top 10 in Finishing Drives and top 20 in red zone scoring percentage.

However, I think the Memphis red zone production will benefit from seeing Cincy just one week prior.

This is an extremely efficient Memphis defense that I think can contain Ridder, who has looked lost at times this year, especially on the road in front of a vulnerable offensive line.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mike Norvell

The Cincy defense is no doubt a very solid unit but I see no reason why Memphis can’t once again move the ball with ease again this week at home.

I think Ridder may end up being a slight downgrade overall for the offense, especially if he’s not 100% healthy. And whenever Ridder has faced top-tier defenses throughout his career, the results have been bleak. As long as Memphis can have a little more success in the red zone, the Tigers should win this game by double digits.

Don’t forget that Cincy is one of the most penalized teams in the nation, which hurts even more on the road — and the Tigers have one of the best special teams units in college football.

I like the Tigers on the cheap here at anything under 10 in a game I make Memphis -12.5. I’ll wait to see where this line goes before investing as it’s currently sitting in a dead zone of 8-9. — Stuckey

Stuckey is 519-478-29 (52.1%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

Cincinnati, Very Lucky

I detailed it more in our favorite bets piece but Cincinnati leads the country in pretty much every “luck” metric you can think of. Yet the public is backing Cincy anyway.

The Bearcats have:

  • Four wins in games they were outgained (most in FBS)
  • Three wins with a worse success rate than their opponent (most in FBS)
  • 1.7 second order wins (fifth most in FBS)

If Cincy had dropped one or two of the games it should have earlier this season, we’d be treating this game a little differently. I’ll lay anyway under 10. — Steve Petrella

Pick: Memphis -9.5 or better

Collin Wilson: Why I Like the Under

Last week’s matchup was defensive minded despite the teams combining for 58 points. Memphis and Cincinnati had for four total turnovers and 12 drives of five plays or fewer than scored no points.

A 94-yard kickoff return by Memphis to start the game would be the deciding factor in the total that went over by half a point, while the Tigers never covered the closing number the entire game.

The Memphis defense made adjustments at halftime, pressuring Cincinnati quarterback Ben Bryant into multiple turnovers.

Memphis dominated the Cincinnati offense in the second half, and a Memphis defensive passing success rank of 25th will keep any Cincinnati scoring drives lengthy.

Cincy’s bread and butter has been its defense all year.

The Bearcats rank top 10 in opponent’s finishing drives on defense and have been among the best defenses in the Group of Five. That red zone defense is why they kept Memphis to only 27 offensive points, and only 20 points on six trips inside the Cincinnati 40-yard line.

The point spread is spot on according to the Action Network projections along with our total of 57.

But there are many factors pointing to taking an under in this spot. Both defenses should be better prepared after seeing each other in Week 14, while Ridder’s return at quarterback would keep Cincinnati from any explosive passing plays. He hasn’t topped 200 yards passing since September. — Collin Wilson

Pick: Under 57.5 or better [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Collin Wilson is 482-404-23 (54.4%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.

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