Week five of the 2015 college football season Friday night (7:00 pm EST) action features the Memphis Tigers (4-0) of the American Athletic Conference taking on the University of South Florida Bulls (1-2) also of the AAC in a conference showdown at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL and in front of a national television audience. The Tigers won last season’s meeting at Memphis 31-20 and covered an 8.5 point line. The Tigers are 2-2 ATS this season while the Bulls are 2-1 ATS this season
Memphis opened their season with a 63-7 home win over Missouri St., then racked up wins over Kansas (55-23) and Bowling Green (44-41) on the road before returning home and winning a shootout with Cincinnati last Thursday night 53-46. The key for Memphis offensively is quarterback Paxton Lynch who has been very efficient in throwing for 1,230 yards with 8 TDs and no INTs so far this season. His top target through the air has been sophomore wide receiver Anthony Miller who has 12 receptions for 268 yards and 1 TD this season. The Tigers are averaging a whopping 570.2 yards per game on offense this season.
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South Florida opened their campaign with a 51-3 win at home over Florida A&M, then proceeded to drop their next two games to a pair of ACC teams on the road in Florida St. (34-14) in week 2 and Maryland (35-17) in week 3 before a bye week last week. Sophomore quarterback Quinton Flowers is a dual-threat and has thrown for 326 yards with 5 TDs and 3 INTs this season while running for 186 yards and two more scores. Running back Marlon Mack has been another key for the Bulls on offense, running for 285 yards and 1 TD. USF ranks 2nd in the AAC in total defense, allowing 344.7 yards per game.
Memphis vs. South Florida Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Memphis Tigers -8.5
@South Florida Bulls +8.5
Over 62 (-110)
Under 62 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Memphis vs. South Florida Pick:
Memphis has struggled on defense this season, with eight new starters that are learning their way in game conditions and have been confronted with two of the country’s best offensive teams there has been little margin for error in the early games and the Tigers have been forced to win shootouts. That being said South Florida is not as strong offensively as Bowling Green or Cincinnati. The Bulls lost by 20 points to a Maryland team that Bowling Green beat by 21 points.
The key for Memphis is the protection upfront for Lynch, which has been stellar so far this season, and avoiding turnovers which Lynch has done an excellent job of so far with no interceptions thrown. That being said, it is hard to justify them covering a spread greater than a touchdown on the road against a solid defensive team in South Florida. Memphis should win the game but the line is a tricky play here, the better play is the total. With a South Florida offense that is limited and a solid defense for the Bulls this should be a lower scoring game that what Memphis is used to playing. It is either going to be a one-sided affair in favor of Memphis, or more likely a lower scoring game like last season’s meeting. Take the under here.