Cincinnati Bearcats at Memphis Tigers (+3, 44.5)
Cincinnati has preyed on the bottom of the American Athletic Conference after enduring a great deal of adversity during its non-conference schedule. The Bearcats, who will travel to Memphis on Wednesday, lost quarterback Munchie Legaux to a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the season. Two weeks later, Cincinnati was dealt a more severe blow when freshman guard Ben Flick was killed and two other players were injured in a car accident following a victory at Miami (Ohio).
The Bearcats lost their first game following the accident, but have rebounded with home triumphs over Temple and Connecticut - teams that have yet to win a conference game. The Tigers are also searching for their first AAC victory, but held second-half leads on co-conference leaders Central Florida and Houston before falling in each contest. Memphis took its third straight loss in a 34-29 setback to Southern Methodist on Oct. 19, trailing by as many as 31 before scoring the final 26 points.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2.
LINE: Cincinnati opened -3 and outside of a few books briefly going to -3.5, the spread has been steady at a field goal.
WEATHER: Temperatures in the mid 60s with a 7 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms and winds blowing south from corner to corner at 9 mph.
ABOUT CINCINNATI (5-2, 2-1 American Athletic Conference, 3-4 ATS): Freshman receiver Mark Barr, one of the two players injured in the accident, was released from the hospital last week. Brendon Kay, who took over for Legaux following his injury, is completing 79.4 percent of his passes in conference play and tied a career high with four touchdown passes in the Bearcats’ 41-16 victory over Connecticut. The defense did its part as well against the Huskies, setting season highs for interceptions (three), sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (11).
ABOUT MEMPHIS (1-5, 0-3, 3-3 ATS): Despite allowing 460 yards to SMU, the Tigers rank 13th in FBS in total defense and are tied for 34th in scoring defense after finishing 51st and 80th, respectively, in 2012. Linebacker Ryan Coleman played a key role in the Tigers’ second-half surge, tying an NCAA record with two fumble returns for touchdowns. Memphis, which gives up an average of 80 penalty yards (the second-highest mark in FBS), drew nine flags for 110 yards against SMU – the second time it has surrendered at least 100 yards in penalties.
* Bearcats are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Bearcats are 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games overall.
* Tigers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight home games.
* Under is 5-1 in Tiger's last six games overall.
1. Cincinnati and Memphis rank second and third, respectively, in the conference in total defense.
2. The Tigers have committed nine or more penalties in three of their six games.
3. The Bearcats allowed a second-half touchdown for the first time in five contests in their victory over Connecticut.