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Saturday’s bowl schedule gets underway with AAC’s Memphis Tigers tangling with the ACC’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons in this season’s Birmingham Bowl. Game time on ESPN from Legion Field is set for 12 p.m.
Memphis won the AAC’s West Division this season at 5-3 straight-up in conference play. It went on to lose the Central Florida in the title game 56-41 as a slight one-point underdog as part of a 8-5 record overall. The Tigers went 6-2 against the spread in their final eight games and the total went OVER BetAnySports’ closing line in five of their last six contests.
The Tigers boast one of the most potent offensive attacks in the nation with an excellent balance between the pass and run. With an average of 248.8 passing yards per game complementing a running game that churned out another 285.5 yards a game, this side of the ball was able to score 43.6 points per game. The biggest issue was a defense that gave up of an average of 31.5 points a game.
The Demon Deacons big 27-23 upset against North Carolina State as 19-point road underdogs along with a season-ending 59-7 rout over Duke as 9.5-point underdogs on the road led to this bowl appearance at an even 6-6 SU with a 4-8 record ATS. For every impressive win this season, Wake Forest had its issues against most of the other better teams it faced with a 3-6 record ATS as an underdog on BetAnySports’ closing spread.
In some ways, the Demon Deacons mirrored Memphis on offense with less success. They also have a well-balanced mix between the run and the pass with a total of 443 yards a game. However, they could still have problems keeping pace on the scoreboard despite a healthy scoring average of 32.5 PPG. Wake Forest’s defense was even further down the list with a points-allowed average of 33.3.
I would give the overall edge in this matchup to Memphis and the added motivation of knocking off a team from the Power 5 is a plus towards the Tigers covering the 3.5 points.