The AAC West is a complete toss up, maybe more so than any division in the country, though Houston isn’t part of that group. Memphis can’t lose the rest of the way, but nothing is certain on the road in conference play. The Tigers were -10.5 point road favorites with an over/under of 68.5 as of Wednesday.
Memphis has won its last two games by a combined seven points, which says everything about how difficult this game will be. In its two road games in AAC play, it lost by two points at Temple and beat Tulsa by one. Houston isn’t a good team with a 3-6 record, but it will fight and has covered its last two games despite being a big underdog.
The Tigers aren’t blowing out opponents because they’re allowing almost 400 yards and 25.8 points per game. The Cougars may not have an elite offense, but they’ll score, which is why they’ve covered the last couple games, losing 34-31 in their last home contest against SMU.
Clayton Tune isn’t D’Eriq King, but he’s been serviceable this season, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt, albeit for just six touchdowns and five picks. Maybe most impressive is that he struggled at UCF last week with just 179 passing yards, yet Houston still scored 29 points.
That’s because the Cougs ran for 240 yards on 4.9 yards per carry behind Mulbah Car’s 132 yards. As a team, they’re averaging 5.2 yards per carry and that includes 30 sacks for negative 167 yards. Given the Memphis rush defense, Houston should move the ball plenty in this matchup.
Of course, Houston has a losing record because its defense is bad, allowing 460.6 yards and 32.6 points per game. It wouldn’t be surprising if Memphis dropped 50 points in this game, which is how it will cover, similar to last year’s 52-31 result.
The Tigers have scored at least 42 points in each of their last three games through a variety of ways. Quarterback Brady White has been efficient, completing 67.5% of his passes on 10.3 yards per attempt for 23 touchdowns and four picks, while the ground game has been equally as good.
Kenneth Gainwell is averaging 6.8 yards per carry for 12 touchdowns, which will work well against Houston’s 5.2 ypc allowed. Gainwell also has 36 receptions for 454 yards so he’s expected to have another huge performance.
Memphis could put up a ton of points and cover, but its road struggles are worth considering in the spread. Tulsa may be worse than Houston, and Memphis needed a late touchdown to win that game by one point. Houston has the offense to stay competitive and that could be enough to cover.
Memphis is 7-0-1 ATS in its last eight games on turf, while the over is 7-1 in Houston’s last eight games following a bye week. The over is 4-1 in their last five overall meetings, but the under is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Houston. The Tigers have covered the last four meetings between these schools.
Our Pick – Memphis -10