AAC championship betting preview: Memphis totals still running hot
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The AAC championship game will pit the Cincinnati Bearcats against the Memphis Tigers. With these teams set to meet for the second time in seven days - this time for the conference title - here's everything you need to know about Saturday's mid-major clash from a betting perspective.
There hasn't been too much activity on this one compared to some of the weekend's other title games. Memphis opened on the key number of -10 and was bet down to -9.5, where the Tigers are currently in the majority of the market. The total's also seen a slight bump down from 58.5 to 57.5.
Memphis closed as a 14-point favorite with a total of 58.5 when these squads met in the regular-season finale on Nov. 30. The Tigers won 34-24.
This is the second straight year Cincinnati's gone better than .500 against the spread under head coach Luke Fickell. The Bearcats have struggled against teams with winning records, though, currently on a 7-17 run ATS versus such opponents even after this past Saturday's win against the closing line.
The market was asleep at the wheel on Memphis totals this season. A year after going over the total in eight of 13 games, the Tigers are 8-4 to the over in 2019. The kicker here is first-half totals: Memphis has gone over the number in all eight conference games this year.
Cincinnati should get quarterback Desmond Ridder back for this game after the redshirt sophomore missed the last contest with a sore shoulder. Ben Bryant posted 229 yards on 20-for-32 passing while filling in, but a pair of second-half interceptions proved too much to overcome. Ridder doesn't have the gaudiest of passing numbers this season - he hasn't thrown for more than 200 yards since Week 7 - but the Bearcats desperately need an experienced quarterback to trade blows with a high-octane Memphis offense. Cincinnati's run-first offense might have to get out of its comfort zone early and often, so Ridder's the one you want under center.
I'd simply go back to the well here with a first-half over involving Memphis. The question heading into this past weekend was how the Tigers would fare against one of the AAC's better defenses. All they did was post 6.6 yards per play, right on par with their season average. Having Ridder back in the fold - assuming he does return - gives Cincinnati's offense a boost, and the Bearcats should be able to improve on the 5.1 yards per play they registered in their last clash with Memphis.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKoIodziej.