The Memphis Tigers will put a pair of impressive runs on the line Friday as they host Georgia State. Memphis comes into this one on a nine-game home winning streak dating back to the end of the 2016 season and are an impressive 6-3 ATS over that span despite being saddled with some gigantic point spreads. The Tigers have also been one of the more consistent over plays at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, having gone above the number in 12 of their previous 13 home games. None of that bodes well for a Panthers team that is coming off a humbling 41-7 setback at N.C. State last weekend.
The Tigers know how to kick things off right – they ranked 12th in the nation in first-quarter points per game against FBS opponents, averaging 9.6 per contest. That average balloons to 11.4 points per game in the first quarter of home games, a trend that carried over into their 2018 home opener against Mercer. Memphis rolled up 28 points in the opening 15 minutes and duplicated that feat in the second. Georgia State doesn't have much hope of slowing down one of the best offenses in the nation, especially with the home crowd behind them. Take the over on the Tigers' first-quarter total.
Prediction: Memphis Over first-quarter points (OFF)
The Tigers were stymied last time out by Navy, allowing the final 13 points to see a 12-point advantage turn into a one-point defeat. But Memphis had inclement weather to blame for what became a plodding affair; the game didn't come close to reaching its total of 67 thanks to persistent showers that impacted both offenses. But Friday's forecast is much more promising – and given that the Tigers averaged the sixth-most first-half points at home in the nation last year (26.0) and are out for revenge for last week's dismal showing, there's a good chance they'll cover the first-half spread with ease.
Prediction: Memphis -18 first-half spread (-115)
Don't expect to see the Tigers' field-goal unit on the field all that much Friday. This team loves to score touchdowns – and has done so at will so far this season, racking up nine majors against just one field goal in the win over Mercer and adding three touchdowns without a field goal in the loss to Navy. In fact, over its previous four home games, the Tigers have scored an incredible 36 TDs while producing just two (!) field goals. Conclusion: We highly recommend taking the home team to open its scoring Friday with a good old-fashioned visit to the opposing end zone – and given the likelihood, the price is quite reasonable.
Prediction: Memphis first score: Touchdown (-140)
Oddsmakers have these two teams in completely different zip codes – and we concur. The Tigers are one of the most formidable opponents in the country in their own stadium, having averaged an absurd 51.7 points over the course of their nine-game home winning streak. And while they're just 2-2 ATS over that stretch in games where they're favored by four touchdowns or more, the past two covers have come in their previous two home games, during which they've outscored the opposition 136-27. Georgia State couldn't slow N.C. State last week and shouldn't come close to doing so against Memphis.
Prediction: Memphis -28 (-110)
Given how the Tigers have played at home, there's a decent chance they'll approach this total by themselves. But even if they settle for a score in the 40s, the visitors should be able to offer some offense of their own. Prior to last week's loss to the Wolfpack, the Panthers had scored 20 or more points in five consecutive true road games, including a 47-point outburst at UL-Monroe. Memphis is better, for sure, but had given up at least 26 points in 12 straight home games before trouncing East Carolina to end 2017 and Mercer to open 2018. This is among the lowest totals Memphis has seen at home in nearly two years. We like the over – a lot.
Prediction: Over 60.5 (-110)