Temple Owls vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
Date and Time: Friday, November 10, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Opening College Football Odds: Temple -2.5
Temple vs. Cincinnati TV Coverage: ESPN2
Both of these teams survived must-win games last week to save their seasons. The Owls ended any chance Navy had of winning the AAC in a 34-26 upset in the City of Brotherly Love while Cincinnati withstood a challenge from Tulane in the Bayou 17-16.
This Temple offense has been suspect all season long, but it might have found something here with Frank Nutile at quarterback. Nutile went 22-for-30 for 289 yards and four touchdowns against the Middies, his second consecutive game averaging at least nine yards per pass attempt and throwing for nearly 300 yards.
Nutile is a fourth-year junior who was never expected to have much of an impact on this roster in his career. In the end, though, he's probably the best option the team has, even when Logan Marchi is able to return from his lower body injury.
The Cincinnati defense picked a good time to come up with its best defensive performance since Week 1 of the season. Then again, a quick dive inside the stats of the upset in New Orleans will tell you that this wasn't as stellar of a defensive showing as 17-16 might suggest.
Tulane put up 358 yards, averaged nine yards per pass attempt and didn't turn the ball over once. Five drives reached the Cincinnati red zone, and all the Green Wave had to show for it was three field goals. With a little better play from the Tulane running backs, the Bearcats would have probably allowed 30+ points once again.
Betting Trends of Note
Take away the opening game of the season against Austin Peay, and what's left is a UC team that has been beaten at home five straight times. In fairness, the Bearcats have also been dogs in four of those five games, but you're still expected to win more of your home games than you lose if you're expecting to get to a bowl game.
The Owls have covered their last two on the road, pushing Army to overtime in West Point and beating up East Carolina 34-10.
Temple has covered seven of its last eight AAC road games dating back to last season when it went a perfect 5-0 ATS.
Temple vs. Cincinnati Free Picks
The Cincinnati defense still worries the heck out of us. This unit ranks No. 85 in the nation in total defense and No. 95 in scoring, and had the Green Wave been able to finish off drives (particularly the ones that were in goal-to-go situations), they would have beaten the Bearcats handily.
Temple knows just how important this game is, and we love the fact that it has found itself a quarterback. We're not all that sure if Nutile is really a diamond in the rough or a flash in the pan, but he isn't going to have to be brilliant to win this game. Should Nutile merely throw for 200 yards or so and not turn the ball over, the Cincinnati defense should be bad enough to surrender the rest.
It's been a frustrating season for running back Ryquell Armstead, but we think he's in for one of his best days of the year on the ground. We suspect he'll get over 100 rushing yards on the day against one of the poorest rush defenses in the nation.
If that all holds true, Temple will be an easy play to kick off your Friday night at your favorite online sportsbook.
College Football ATS Pick: Temple -2.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Temple 37, Cincinnati 20