Temple Owls at Cincinnati Bearcats (-20.5, 51.5)
Cincinnati on Saturday looks to bounce back from last week’s upset loss to previously winless South Florida when the Bearcats host Temple, which is seeking its first victory under first-year coach Matt Rhule. The Owls are coming off a 30-7 loss to No. 8 Louisville, while Cincinnati lost 26-20 at South Florida after falling behind 23-6 at the half. "We're going to have to get much better to have the opportunity to win games," Bearcats coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We have to get physical and we have to block somebody."
The Bearcats have been wildly inconsistent since routing Purdue 42-7 in its season opener, but they’ll be heavy favorites against a Temple squad allowing 518 yards per game - fourth-worst in the country. Freshman quarterback P.J. Walker is set to make his first start for the Owls in place of junior Connor Reilly, who was benched after another slow start against Louisville. Bearcats quarterback Brendon Kay, who is expected to start despite suffering a bruised sternum last week, threw two touchdown passes in last season's 34-10 victory at Temple.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE: Cincinnati opened at -21.5 and has been bet down to 20.5. The total has stayed steady at 51.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures in the low 60s with clear skies and winds blowing NE at 4 mph.
ABOUT TEMPLE (0-5, 0-2 American Athletic Conference, 2-3 ATS): Walker, last year’s top New Jersey high school player, took over on the Owls’ third series against Louisville and provided a spark with 182 passing yards and a touchdown. Junior running back Kenny Harper has a team-high six touchdowns on 56 carries for the Owls, who have trailed at halftime in four of their first five games. Temple’s young defense is led by sophomore linebacker Tyler Matakevich, who averages an NCAA-best 10.8 solo tackles per game.
ABOUT CINCINNATI (3-2, 0-1, 2-3 ATS): Tuberville called out his veteran offensive line after the Bearcats rushed for a season-low 110 yards against South Florida last week. While the offense has struggled to establish an identity, Cincinnati ranks third nationally in total defense with linebackers Nick Temple, Jeff Luc and Greg Blair (team-high 32 tackles) leading the way. The special teams unit has become a major concern for Cincinnati, which has missed its last three field goal attempts and ranks 118th nationally in net punting.
* Owls are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
* Bearcats are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games overall.
* Under is 12-5 in Owls' last 17 road games.
* Over is 5-1 in Bearcats' last six Friday games.
1. Cincinnati has won 10 of its last 11 home games.
2. The Owls have not intercepted a pass this season.
3. The Bearcats have not allowed an offensive touchdown since the second quarter of the Northwestern State game on Sept. 14, a span of 10 quarters.