Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic Odds & Picks for Montgomery Bowl: Total Provides Quality Betting Value on Wednesday
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images. Pictured: Damonte Coxie.
- Memphis and Florida Atlantic were ranked top 15 in points per game in 2019, averaging a combined 76.8 points per contest.
- Should you expect similar offensive fireworks from the 2020 version of the Tigers and Owls in Wednesday's Montgomery Bowl?
- Check out Collin Wilson's college football betting breakdown, including updated odds, matchup analysis and pick for Wednesday night's Montgomery Bowl below:
Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic Odds
Memphis started its 2020 campaign with opt-outs from its two biggest weapons in wide receiver Damonte Coxie and running back Kenneth Gainwell.
The offense took a step back in Success Rate and Explosiveness with early losses to SMU and Cincinnati. The Tigers went 0-3 against the spread and straight-up on the road while winning every game at home.
Florida Atlantic was in transition from the Lane Kiffin era to the Willie Taggart era. The new head coach brought in former associate defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, who had a massive impact on the Owls’ defense. Every Owls home game went under the total.
These teams have played just once, a Florida Atlantic 44-27 victory in the 2007 New Orleans Bowl.
First-year head coach Ryan Silverfield hopes success on the recruiting trail will extend to the Montgomery Bowl. The Tigers ended the regular season going under the total in three straight against FBS competition.
The main culprit is a decrease in rushing success, not eclipsing 100 yards in final games against Houston, Tulane, South Florida and Cincinnati. The Bearcats specifically limited the Tigers to just five rushing yards for the game.
Memphis is a team that has an even distribution in run-pass play calling, but a rank of 99th in Rushing Success Rate and 109th in Line Yards could limit scoring opportunities.
The defensive side of the ball has been a struggle for Memphis against high-powered offenses. The Tigers gave up 35 points or more to Tulane, Cincinnati and Central Florida.
While their tackling has ranked in the top 10, a defensive EPA rank outside the top 90 shows that opposing offenses can hit chunk plays. Passing downs have been the biggest issue for the Tigers, as they rank outside the top 100 in Success Rate and opponent explosiveness.
Florida Atlantic Owls
For all the coaching stops at Western Kentucky, South Florida, Oregon and Florida State, this is just Taggart’s second bowl game to coach.
While plenty of his former teams went on to bowls, Taggart himself was in transition to another program. His one and only sideline-coached bowl game came in a 2015 Miami Beach Bowl in which Western Kentucky downed a Taggart-led South Florida squad.
Despite a strength of schedule rank of 130th, the Owls made the most of their games on the defensive side of the ball. Only one team scored more than 20 points against Florida Atlantic, a breakout rushing attack in a regular-season loss to Southern Miss.
Florida Atlantic sits top-10 in Defensive Finishing Drives and Sack Rate. A top-15 rank against pass explosiveness kept the Conference USA from high-scoring games, but Southern Miss exposed an Owls defense that is 83rd against rush explosiveness.
The offense has struggled the entire season, as the Owls have flipped between quarterback Javion Posey and Nick Tronti. Posey serves as more of a dual-threat quarterback who can gain chunk yardage on the ground, while Tronti has averaged just 5.6 yards per completion with five touchdowns and two interceptions. The Owls ended the regular season 115th on offensive standard downs Success Rate.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Memphis offense is a shade of what it was in previous seasons in the departments of Offensive Success Rate and explosiveness. The Tigers have populated the NFL with explosive running backs, but this Memphis team has just 10 runs over 20 yards in 10 games this season.
Florida Atlantic vs. Memphis Matchup Matrix
The Florida Atlantic defense has ranked top-40 in Success Rate and has excelled against the explosive pass, but a bettor must consider that these numbers came against one of the softer schedules in FBS. While the Memphis defense hasn’t been anything special in conference play, it holds an advantage in Finishing Drives and Rushing Success Rate.
Both teams struggle to put points on the board in scoring opportunities, and with both offenses struggling in Havoc allowed and Line Yards. So, the under is worth consideration down to the key number of 49.
Pick: Under 50 or better.