Skip to main content
SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 02: Desmond Ridder #9 of the Cincinnati Bearcats smiles following the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 2, 2021 in South Bend, Indiana. Michael Hickey/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Michael Hickey / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

We've got a battle in the American Athletic Conference as the Temple Owls travel to Ohio to take on the Cincinnati Bearcats. The AAC is not known as one of the power conferences but that won't matter much to Cincinnati as they continue their quest to make the college football playoffs. This should be an easy win for them here so the question is; can they cover this gigantic spread?

Temple Owls vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

Friday, October 08, 2021 - 07:00 PM EDT at Nippert Stadium

Cincinnati on a Different Level

While the AAC is not considered one of the big boys when it comes to college football, they may have a representative in the college football playoffs. Cincinnati has a very strong chance of representing the American Athletic Conference as they currently rank number five in the country. After winning what was essentially a playoff game against the fourteenth-ranked Notre Dame, the Bearcats should only have one real hurdle remaining for the rest of the regular season.

The Bearcats come into this game as -28.5 point favorites according to the SBR odds page. While that number seems ridiculously high, it's also an indication of the gulf in talent between Cincy and the rest of the conference. The only other ranked team they will face is conference rival SMU who is currently ranked 24th in the nation. As for this game, there are several reasons that I am ready to lay the points with Cincinnati in this spot.

Let's start with their advantage in the trenches, where Temple starts some freshmen on their defensive line. Cincinnati's O-line should dominate that matchup which gives them every chance of covering this spread. The Bearcats are a very physical team with a great passing offense and I just don't see how Temple has any chance of slowing that down.

Temple in Over Their Heads

If you think I'm underestimating Temple, you might be right but let's look at the evidence we have to go by this season. So far Temple is 3-2 on the season which is fine but when you look closer, there's a noticeable difference when they have to step up in competition. What I mean is, in their two losses, one to Boston College and the other to Rutgers, they didn't just lose, they got beat down.

Trad Beatty #11 of the Temple Owls. Mitchell Leff/Getty Images/AFP

Those two teams aren’t as good as Cincinnati so it's not hard to imagine that they will have another difficult night. Now that doesn't necessarily mean they won't be able to hand around and cover this spread. The reason I think they won't, however, is their coverage unit. While their pass rush is pretty good, the Bearcats have an advantage there which I mentioned earlier. That leaves an already vulnerable unit even more exposed.

A good pass rush can negate a below-par coverage unit just like an elite secondary can mask a below-average pass rush. Well if Temple can't get pressure against what is a very good passing offense, Cincinnati will probably get into the high forties at the very least.

The total for this game sits at 54 at most of the top online betting sites, which seems kind of low considering what I'm saying about the Bearcats offense. There is a possibility that Temple does have success rushing the passer which could keep Cincinnati in the high thirties as opposed to my prediction of them getting at least forty plus.

The thing is, I can't possibly take the over here because the Owls have no passing game to speak of. I don't believe that they can hold their end of the bargain offensively to score enough points to push the game over this total. I do however think their offensive futility will allow Cincy to cover this 28.5 point spread which is my NCAAF pick in this one.

NCAAF Pick: (visit our Sportsbook Review)

*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.