Wichita State vs. Memphis Predictions, Odds

  • January 21, 2021
  • By Thom Cunningham
  • VegasInsider.com

Thursday night college hoops sees a massive American Athletic Conference (AAC) game with possible March Madness implications on the line, as the Wichita State Shockers take on the Memphis Tigers.

Tip for this bubble game is set for 7 p.m. (ET) and will air on ESPN2 from the FedEx Forum.



Wichita State-Memphis Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: Memphis -2
  • Money-Line: Memphis -159 Wichita State +130
  • Total: 141.5

Odds Subject to Change

Memphis is the home favorite, entering with a -2-point spread. This favors Wichita State, as Memphis has failed to cover the spread in nine of 11 games this season. Wichita State has covered six of nine games this season.

The point total is set at 141.5, something Memphis tends to go UNDER on. Memphis has gone UNDER in nine of 11 games this season, as Penny Hardaway has instilled one of the better defenses nationally with the Tigers. Wichita State is 5-4 on the O/U this season.

Betting Analysis – Wichita State Shockers

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 8-3
  • ATS: 6-2-1
  • SU - Home: 5-2
  • SU - Away: 3-1
  • O/U: 5-4

Head coach Isaac Brown has done a stellar job since filling in as the new head coach, in impromptu fashion as well. Wichita State has covered six games this season, winning eight of 11 SU. They're winners of seven of their last eight games, with the only loss being a seven-point defeat in Houston.

Wichita State is still a candidate for being a sleeper team this season. The three losses are all quality, with somewhat impressive wins over schools like Tulsa (twice), Ole Miss and USF in overtime. The Shockers beat teams they're supposed to, and seem to cover (or come close) when facing schools more talented than them.

Tyson Etienne is the life force of this team, the only Shocker averaging a double-digit point total. He attempts 7.6 three-pointers per game, making about three per game. He is the only Shocker to average a double-digit total in field goal attempts as well, so this could be a disaster if Memphis shuts him down or a coming out party to showcase how underrated this kid might be.

Two things stand out from Wichita State's strength, one being rebounds. The Shockers average 13 offensive rebounds per game (ranks 25th nationally) and 40.9 total rebounds per game (ranks 27th nationally). They also get to the charity stripe a lot, despite shooting the nation's 230th-worst free throw percentage.

Wichita State can win this game if they win the glass game, which will be tough against a defensively talented Memphis team. It's possible though, as the Shockers have many players contribute to the country's 27th-best rebounding team. Seven players average 3.3 rebounds per game or more, with Trey Wade and Ricky Council IV leading the way.

Betting Analysis – Memphis Tigers

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 6-5
  • ATS: 2-9
  • SU - Home: 4-3
  • SU - Away: 2-2
  • O/U: 2-9

Memphis seems to be underachieving a lot lately, although the NCAA forced their best player out last year. It's hard to gauge the issue with Memphis, having the seventh-best defensive rating nationally to go along with the 43rd-fewest points allowed per game.

They rank 12th nationally in blocks per game (5.4), 13th nationally in steals per game (9.4) and feature four players who average 1.1 or more steals per game. So what's the issue? Offense.

Memphis averages 70.7 points per game, which ranks 211th nationally. They also hold an offensive efficiency rating of 96, which ranks 270th out of 347 schools.

Despite this, Landers Nolley still averages 13.3 points per game (leads the team) while D.J. Jeffries and Lester Quinones average a double-digit point total as well.

All four player are sophomores, as the Tigers are very young still. This might be another issue when looking at the losses from the Tigers this season, losing mostly close games to good schools. Memphis has lost by three points or less in two of its last three losses, one being Auburn and the other Tulsa - both away from home.

The schedule lightens up for Memphis after his home game, but the Tigers are running out of time to correct their issues. It begins with scoring more points, but ultimately being able to close out tight games against good teams. That usually doesn't favor youth, but playing at home against a good Wichita State team seems like as good of a test as any for Hardaway's young team.

Inside the Stats – Wichita State Shockers

  • PS/G: 74.2 (133rd)
  • PA/G: 67.2 (103rd)
  • Off Rtg: 104.1 (140th)
  • Def Rtg: 94.3 (85th)

Inside the Stats – Memphis Tigers

  • PS/G: 72.4 (180th)
  • PA/G: 68.2 (127th)
  • Off Rtg: 99.7 (207th)
  • Def Rtg: 94 (81st)

Key Players to Watch

  • WICH - Tyson Etienne (17.9 PPG)
  • WICH - Alterique Gilbert (9.3 PPG)
  • MEM - Landers Nolley (13.3 PPG)
  • MEM - D.J. Jeffries (11.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG)

Wichita State-Memphis Predictions

It's hard to go against the odds here, which favor Wichita State covering and the game total going UNDER. Memphis' defense is no joke, and the Shockers aren't exactly an offensive juggernaut. Expect the Memphis defense and lack of offense to dictate the point total for this game, especially at home.

Take the generous 141.5 point total and Memphis' 2-9 O/U this season, along with their bad offense and great defense, and take the UNDER. The low point spread makes Wichita State a more difficult bet than originally thought, but then looking at Memphis' 2-9 ATS it seems playing the odds is the best way to approach wagering this game.

The UNDER is the better bet of the two, however.

  • Score Prediction: Memphis 68 Wichita State 67
  • Best Bets: UNDER

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