Birmingham Bowl Prediction
The Memphis Tigers blew yet another opportunity to beat UCF in the AAC Conference Championship Game a few weeks ago. Will the Tigers recover to not only beat Wake Forest in the Birmingham Bowl today at 12:00 p.m. ET, but also cover as a small favorite?
222 Memphis Tigers vs. 221 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
12:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, December 22, 2018
Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama
Public Betting Trends
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetNow.eu, the Tigers are 3.5-point favorites to beat the Demon Deacons. The total, meanwhile, sits at 75 points. As of this writing, 56% of the public betting tickets wagered on this matchup are on the Tigers.
Memphis junior RB Darrell Henderson will not play in the team's Birmingham Bowl date with Wake Forest on Dec. 22. No real surprise with this one after Henderson declared for the draft on Wednesday. The electric junior sprints off into the sunset having rushed for 1,909 yards (8.9 YPC) and 22 touchdowns during the 2018 season. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller views him as a potential Day 2 selection for the spring. As for Memphis' plight sans Henderson, Patrick Taylor (1,012 yards, 15 touchdowns) is about as able a backup as you will find in the country. He'll look to put the hurt on the Demon Deacons -- now in a lead role -- upcoming.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest redshirt sophomore WR Greg Dortch (finger) has not been practicing in advance of the team's Birmingham Bowl date with Memphis. Dortch (5'9/217) injured his finger in a blowout win over Duke to close out the regular season. The Winston-Salem Journal's Conor O'Neill passes along that the injury was "more serious than initially thought." While the redshirt sophomore does have a few more days in which to get right -- the Birmingham Bowl will kick off on Saturday, Dec. 22 -- he should be considered questionable to play upcoming. It would be a major loss if he can't play in the contest, as Dortch is as reliable as they come. For the 2018 regular season he posted an 89-1078-8 receiving line.
The over is 10-1 in the Tigers’ last 11 non-conference games and is 5-1 in their last six games overall.
The over is 5-1 in the Demon Deacons’ last six non-conference games.
Not having Henderson will certainly hurt Memphis but I still like the Tigers to cover the small spread today. They’re 4-1 against the number in their last five games overall and even though they collapsed yet again despite having UCF on the ropes, they’ve played very well over the past month. As for the Demon Decans, they’re 1-4 against the spread in their last five non-conference games and 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games overall. Wake Forest also ranks 116th in total defense and 128th in red-zone defense. I see the Demon Deacons having a difficult time keeping pace with the Tigers, and keeping them out of the end zone for that matter.
Birmingham Bowl Prediction: Memphis Tigers -3.5