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Memphis vs. South Florida St. Pete’s Bowl Preview

NCAAF Bowl Season Memphis vs South Florida

The college football bowl season kicks off on Saturday for sports betting gurus, and as a part of a slate of four bowl battles, Conference USA’s Memphis Tigers (6-6, 5-5-1 ATS) will do battle with the Big East’s South Florida Bulls (7-5, 4-7 ATS) in the inaugural St. Petersburg Bowl from Tropicana Field.  

This is the fifth meeting between these two teams since 2001. They have split the previous four games outright, but the Tigers hold a 3-1 ATS advantage. In their last meeting in 2004, the Tigers beat the Bulls 31-15 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay.

The Tigers are set to play their fourth bowl game since 2004. In those three games, they are 1-2 SU and ATS. All three games passed the ‘total’ by at least two touchdowns. The average total number of points in the three bowl games was 75.7 points per game. Memphis’ offense is all about the running game in ‘08. RB Curtis Steele leads the squad with 1,175 rushing yards and seven scores. The Tigers’ offense rushed for an average of 205.6 yards per game this season, which equates to the 19th best mark in the country. Steele has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of Memphis’ wins this season, and in those games, has averaged 141.5 yards per game.

Memphis bettors enter this game on a bit of a roll winning three of their L/4 games both SU and ATS. The squad has averaged 33.3 points per game during that stretch.

HC Jim Leavitt deserves all the credit in the world for taking the South Florida Bulls from a school without a football program to an annual bowl squad. This will be South Florida’s fourth bowl bid in school history. They are 1-2 ATS and SU in those games, but had their doors blown off in last year’s Sun Bowl by Oregon 56-21.

Seeing a C-USA team on the schedule should be a good indicator for South Florida bettors. USF is 11-9 ATS and 13-7 SU against the conference since 2005, but an even more impressive 4-1 ATS and 5-0 SU since ’05.

While Memphis excels on the ground, the Bulls will counter with the 9th ranked rush defense in the land. The unit only allowed 98 yards per game on the ground, and only Pittsburgh’s LeSean McCoy and Syracuse’s Curtis Brinkley reached the 100-yard plateau on their defense this season. QB Matt Grothe will pace the offense, as he leads the team in both passing yards (2,675) and rushing yards (522). A dismal season against the football betting line came to a close on a high note, as USF covered the spread in its L/2 Big East games of the season.

Oddsmakers installed the Bulls as two-touchdown favorites, with a ‘total’ of 51. The line has dropped to 12.5, while the ‘total’ currently sits at 52.5.

The bowl season is finally here, and that means there’s one final chance for sports bettors to boost their bankroll before heading into the spring.


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