College Football Pick: Temple +21½ over Cincinnati Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, October 7, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

The Temple Owls are 0-5, but to be fair they covered vs. Notre Dame and Louisville and they are now better than three-touchdown underdogs to Cincinnati Friday night on ESPN.

While this primetime national telecast may seem like a blowout on paper Friday, the underdogs are still capable of sneaking in below the better than three-touchdown point spread when those winless Temple Owls (0-5, 0-2 away) pay a visit to the Cincinnati Bearcats (3-2, 2-0 home) at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, OH on ESPN Friday Night Football at 8:30 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Temple as a huge underdog for this contest with the current line at +21½ with odds of -110.

Now we are under no delusions as to who the better team is here, as this spread is where it is because Temple is 0-5 including losses to Fordham out of the FCS and the Idaho Vandals, who are winless besides their win over the Owls. That leaves Temple ranked a dismal 141st on the Sagarin Ratings currently, making the Owls the lowest ranked school in the American Athletic Conference.

Cincinnati meanwhile is 3-2 and ranked 69th by Sagarin and by rights the Bearcats should be 4-1, as the main reason they lost 26-20 as 10½-point favorites at South Florida last week is because of four turnovers and a blocked field goal that the Bulls returned for a touchdown. So what exactly do the Owls have going for them that we would recommend a play on them here?

Well, besides not wanting to get blown out in front of a national television audience and 21½ points being an enormous spread in a conference game, there is the matter of the schedules that these teams have faced. Yes, Temple had those two aforementioned bad losses, but they have balanced that out by covering the spread in losses vs. the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Louisville Cardinals, leaving the Owls ranked 60th in the country in SOS per Sagarin.

Quarterback P.J. Walker completed 10-of-19 passes but for 182 yards in the covering loss vs. Louisville last week for an excellent 9.6 yards per pass attempt. The Owls are not a terrific running team but are not horrid either, as they are averaging 137.6 rushing yards per game on 4.0 yards per carry, and if they can come close to that here, it would allow Walker to have some success through the air again.

On the other hand, the Bearcats have not really beaten much and their other loss came vs. a very mediocre Illinois team in blowout fashion 45-17, as they are left with an SOS ranked a mere 152nd according to Sagarin, which is the easiest schedule among all AAC teams.

As if that were not enough reason to make anyone leery of giving more than three touchdowns with the Bearcats, consider that the mistakes last week were nothing new for a team averaging more than two turnovers per game with 11 through five contests. It has not helped that Cincinnati lost starting quarterback Munchie Legaux for the season to an ACL injury early on, and his replacement Brendon Kay has four interceptions vs. three touchdowns in the last two games.

While this matchup is not pretty, the bottom line is that Cincinnati has not done enough vs. an easy schedule to merit being favored by this much vs. anyone, making Temple the play at a lofty spread on ESPN Friday.


College Football Pick: Temple +21½ (-110)

comment here