The 2014 bowl season continues with a Monday afternoon (2:00 pm ET) game featuring the BYU Cougars (8-4) and the Memphis Tigers (9-3) of the American Athletic Conference in the Miami Beach Bowl at Marlins Park in Miami, FL. The Cougars have won 4 games in a row to close the regular season, including a 42-35 shootout over Cal in their final game on November 29th. Memphis won their final 6 games to close out the season concluding with a 41-10 win over UConn at home.
BYU is ranked 19th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 36.2 points per game and 25th among FBS teams in total offense with 463.4 yards per contest.. The Cougars rank 54th nationally in points allowed with 25.3 per game and 55th in total defense 383.2 YPG allowed.
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Memphis is ranked 28th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 34.7 PPG scored and 50th among FBS teams in total offense with 422.7 YPG. The Tigers are led quarterback Paxton Lynch set a school record with 28 combined TDs (18 passing, 10 rushing) and did not throw an interception during the six-game winning streak to end the regular season. The Tigers rank 5th nationally in points allowed with 17.1 per game and 22nd in total defense 343.3 YPG allowed.
BYU vs. Memphis Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
BYU Cougars +2
@ Memphis Tigers -2
Over 55 (-110)
Under 55 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
BYU vs Memphis Pick
The Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 bowl games, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The Tigers are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record, 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 non-conference games but 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games. The Over is 7-2 in the Cougars’ last 9 non-conference games, 5-2 in last 7 games following a ATS win and 5-1 in their last 6 games on grass. The Under is 6-2 in the Tiger’s last 8 non-conference games, 19-7 in their last 26 games against a team with a winning record and 15-6 in their last 21 games following an outright win.
This game features two teams with vastly different styles of play, they have one of the top defenses in the country and the Cougars have been one of most explosive offenses in the nation. Memphis did not surrender more than 20 points in any of their 9 victories and ripped through their end of the season 6 game winning streak, allowing 13.3 per game. The Cougars put up at least 42 points in each of their final 3 games. Two of the three losses for the Tigers came on the road against nationally ranked teams UCLA and Ole Miss, with the other a loss to Houston that saw them uncharacteristically turn the ball over five times.
Memphis has a strong defense, and a strong pass defense in particular allowing only 218 YPG and have picked off 24 passes (16th nationally) on the year. BYU QB Christian Stewart closed the season strong, but he lost his first 4 starts by a large margin after taking over for injured star Taysom Hill against the better teams on the Cougars’ schedule including Boise St. (55-30), Utah St. (35-20) and UCF (31-24). His uptick in production came against poor teams including UNLV and Savannah St. The Tigers defense may be the best that Cougars will see all season long, with a backup quarterback that has not fared well against tough teams, the smart play here is to take Memphis and lay the points.