Temple vs. South Florida Betting Odds & Picks: Should the Owls Be Favored?

Temple vs. South Florida Betting Odds & Picks: Should the Owls Be Favored? article feature image
Credit:

Scott Taestch, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jordan McCloud

  • The latest betting odds have the Temple Owls as a small road favorite against the South Florida Bulls with the over/under set at 49.
  • Who you be betting USF? Our experts break down all of the angles below for this Thursday night college football matchup.

Temple at South Florida Odds & Picks

  • Spread: Temple -1.5
  • Over/Under: 49
  • Time: Thursday, 8 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

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Temple at South Florida Line Movement

While the line movement hasn’t been all that big in this matchup, it has been meaningful given its direction. Even though 76% of bettors and 71% of money are landing on South Florida, the Bulls have fallen from opening numbers of -2/2.5 down to -1.5/2.

The movement on the total has been more in line with the betting percentages, though it’s been interesting to see the public so heavy on an under. Seventy percent of bettors, in fact, have hit this under, dropping the line from 54 to 49 on 79% of money. — Danny Donahue

Collin Wilson: Will Defense Be the Story?

After starting the season 1-3, South Florida went into the bye week and came out a different team. New offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell re-booted the offense and benched quarterback Blake Barnett. The changes paid off.

Jordan McCloud gives the Bulls a dual-threat option under center, but the rushing attack is really what’s breathed new life into USF’s season. South Florida ranks fifth in power success rate, seventh in line yards and 13th in opportunity rate.

This game sets up as a strength vs. strength showdown, as Temple’s defense ranks 21st in line yards. That is good news for under bettors but there’s a lot more where that came from. Both of these defenses rank inside the top 10 in opponent red zone scoring percentage and neither offense is particularly strong at converting third downs.

Our projected total for this game is 46.5, so there’s still an edge on the Under at 49 even after moving down from 53.5.

The Pick: Under 49 or better

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Stuckey: Is the Wrong Team Favored?

We have an interesting AAC matchup on Thursday night between two teams coming off of a bye.

The Bulls have quietly been playing much better football after a horrid 0-2 start to the year. They’ve won 4 of 6 with the only two losses coming against ranked Navy and SMU.

One of the biggest reasons for the turnaround has been the change at QB with Jordan McCloud taking over for the injured Blake Barnett. The passing offense still struggles but McCloud fits much better in Kerwin Bell’s rush heavy attack.

Led by RB Jordan Cronkrite, USF can run the ball, especially with McCloud at the helm. On the season, they average 5.0 yards per carry, which ranks 37th in the nation. And over the past four games, USF has averaged over seven yards a pop in a span that does include Navy and BYU.

Also, it’s worth noting that McCloud dealt with numerous injuries in October but is now apparently 100% healthy according to multiple reports out of Tampa. The bye certainly helped in that regard.

The offensive line should also get a lot of credit for the USF ground game results as it’s a unit that ranks 7th in the country in Line Yards (a measurement of OL success in run game), per Football Outsiders.

On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, Temple has really struggled this year on offense despite having a solid quarterback in Anthony Russo and some quality skill position players. The reason? Its offensive line. Temple ranks 116th in that same statistic I mentioned above. And as a result, the Owls are only averaging 3.5 yards per rush, which ranks 110th in FBS.

That’s good news for an opportunistic USF defense that is better overall against the pass. Temple will still hit a few explosive plays through the air but I also expect Russo to turn it over against a USF squad that ranks in the top 10 nationally in turnover margin (Temple ranks outside the top 90). Only Illinois has forced more turnovers than USF which will face an Owls team that doesn’t care for the ball (15 turnovers, tied for 98th).

Yes, Temple has five wins on the season but let’s take a closer look at those five:

ECU
Georgia Tech
Bucknell
Maryland
Memphis

The first three wins are meaningless and the last two were coin flips that both went Temple’s way — each by a field goal margin. To be honest, this could really be a 3-5 team.

The Owls needed multiple goal line stands against a Maryland team that turned out to be much worse than we all initially thought. And they got extremely fortunate against Memphis thanks to turnover luck.

USF does struggle throwing the ball (and in pass protection) which isn’t ideal against a Temple defense that can really get after the quarterback. However, I do think Kronkrite and company can have enough success on the ground to pull out a huge win.

This game just means more for USF which really needs it for any shot at bowl eligibility at only four wins with Cincy, Memphis and UCF remaining on the schedule. Meanwhile, Temple is sitting at five wins and still has a gimme to close the year at home vs Uconn. I expect the home team to continue its domination of this series.

In regards to the total, it’s under or nothing at 49 but turnovers and special teams blunders are a bit of a concern. For what it’s worth, South Florida’s special teams have been an unmitigated disaster. Temple hasn’t been great either but certainly not as bad as the Bulls.

The Pick: South Florida +1.5

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