First Responder Bowl 2023 Odds, Predictions, Preview

The Memphis Tigers defeated the Utah State Aggies 38-10 in the 2022 First Responder Bowl.

Check out last year's coverage here below and tune back in with us soon for the 2023 First Responder Bowl Odds, Picks and Predictions.

Blake Anderson continues to be one of the best Group of Five coaches in the country. Anderson led Arkansas State to a bowl game in six of his seven years in Jonesboro, and he has taken the Utah State Aggies to consecutive bowl games.

This was a down season for Utah State after Anderson led the Aggies to their first Mountain West Championship in 2021, but he can give the program another winning record with a victory over the Memphis Tigers in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl.

The First Responder Bowl will be played on Tuesday, December 27, 2022, at 3:15 p.m. ET on ESPN from Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas.

Utah State Aggies vs. Memphis Tigers Betting Prediction

While Anderson is one of the best coaches in the country, he will have his work cut out for him against the Memphis Tigers in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl.

Utah State will be missing close to a dozen players, including its top two quarterbacks. That will give Memphis a big edge on Tuesday afternoon in the Metroplex, even though the Tigers will be without a handful of players too.

Score Prediction: Memphis 31, Utah State 19
Best Bet: Memphis -7.5

Utah State Aggies vs. Memphis Tigers Betting Odds

First Responder Bowl Betting Resources

  • Date: Tuesday, December 27, 2022
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 3:15 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Gerald J. Ford Stadium
  • Location: Dallas, Texas
  • Expert Picks
Updated on 09/23/2023
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Utah State Aggies Betting Analysis

Logan Bonner and Levi Williams both suffered season-ending injuries for Utah State. That thrust Cooper Legas into the starting role, and he didn’t perform poorly for a third-string QB. Legas is completing 61.2% of his passes for 1,465 yards (7.0 YPA) with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has had some success making things happen with his legs, but he isn’t that elusive.

Utah State received some good news when top rusher Calvin Tyler Jr. announced that he would play in this bowl game despite leaving early for the NFL Draft. Tyler was a Second Team All-MWC selection and ran for 1,043 yards (4.4 YPC) with seven touchdowns. No. 2 rusher Robert Briggs is unavailable due to injury, so Tyler should see a heavy workload.

Brian Cobbs is a Second Team All-MWC receiver that led the team with 70 receptions for 844 yards and four touchdowns, and the only other receivers to watch are Terrell Vaughn and Justin McGriff.

The Aggies rank 116th in Defensive SP+. They had one of the worst run defenses of any team in bowl season, allowing 5.1 YPC and 198.4 YPG on the ground. Freshman Ike Larsen helped make this one of the better secondaries in the conference though as Utah State held opponents to a 53.9% completion percentage and less than 200 YPG through the air. Larsen and Hunter Reynolds were a very underrated safety tandem, combining to pick off seven passes this season.

After a 1-4 start, Utah State closed the season with a 5-2 record to become bowl eligible. (Getty)

Memphis Tigers Betting Analysis

Seth Henigan had a solid year under center for Memphis. Henigan completed 63.8% of his passes for 3,287 yards (7.9 YPA) with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. That helped this offense rank 20th in SP+, even though the Tigers didn’t have an elite receiver like they had in the recent past. Henigan is a decent runner too even though he was sacked 29 times during the regular season.

Short yardage back Brandon Thomas suffered a season-ending injury against Tulsa last month. That has led to Auburn transfer Asa Martin and Northern Illinois transfer Jevyon Ducker being the go-to options in the ground game. Martin is averaging 5.2 YPC with seven touchdowns, while Ducker is averaging 4.8 YPC with five TDs. Four different players have at least 35 receptions and 430 receiving yards in this offense. Tight end Caden Prieskorn leads the way with 46 receptions for 593 yards and six touchdowns, and Javon Ivory is only a few yards behind him.

Memphis doesn’t have a great defense, ranking 96th in SP+. The Tigers have done a pretty good job stopping the run, allowing 3.5 YPC and 123.7 YPG on the ground. However, the play of the secondary has left something to be desired despite the presence of three-time all-conference safety Quindell Johnson. He leads the team with four interceptions and is second on the team in tackles. Unfortunately, the pass rush hasn’t been great with just 17 sacks in 12 games.

The Tigers rank in the top ten in special teams by SP+. Chris Howard is a First Team All-AAC kicker, and Memphis has a lot of speedy return men even after Calvin Austin III left for the NFL.

First Responder Bowl History

First Responder Bowl Logo

The First Responder Bowl, formerly known as the Heart of Dallas Bowl, began in 2011, and the matchup has conference tie-ins with the AAC, ACC, Big 12, and C-USA. The game takes place at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in University Park, Texas.

In the first eight First Responder Bowls, the winning team scored 30-plus points in all of them and eclipsed 40 or more in three of them. In 2017, Utah cruised past West Virginia, 30-14. It was the fifth consecutive bowl win for the Utes and the 14th victory in the past 15 bowl appearances since 1999.

The 2018 installment between Boise State and Boston College was canceled because of the threat of severe weather.

Western Kentucky (-3) rallied past Western Michigan for a 23-20 win in the 2019 edition, and bettors wagering on either side likely earned a push while the 'under' (56) was never in doubt.

In 2020, a heavily-favored Louisiana posted a 31-24 victory, but UTSA grabbed the cover as a 14-point underdog as the total ended up a push at most books.

The game went off on Dec. 28, 2021 despite the COVID-19 global pandemic, and Air Force (-1) posted an impressive 31-28 win over Louisville, a Power 5 team, after using a surprising blend of passing and rushing. Normally the Falcons are a heavy ground-based attack. The favorite cashed for the first time since Utah's victory in 2017.

YearMatchupLineATS Result
2022Memphis 38 Utah State 10MEM -8, 57Favorite, Under
2021Air Force 31 Louisville 28Air Force -1, 55Favorite, Over
2020Louisiana 31 UTSA 24Louisiana -14, 55Underdog, Push
2019Western Kentucky 23 Western MichiganWKU -3, 56.5Push, Under 56
2018Boston College vs. Boise State1, 50.5Canceled
2017Utah 30 West Virginia 14 Utah -7, 56Favorite, Under
2016Army 38 North Texas 31Army -10.5, 48Underdog, Over
2015Washington 44 Southern Mississippi 31Washington -8, 51.5Favorite, Over
2014Louisiana Tech 35 Illinois 17La. Tech -7, 54.5Favorite, Under
2013North Texas 36 UNLV 14North Texas -6.5, 54Favorite, Under
2012Oklahoma State 58 Purdue 14Oklahoma State -17.5, 68.5Favorite, Over
2011Houston 30 Penn State 14Houston -6.5, 55.5Favorite, Under
2010Texas Tech 45 Northwestern 38Texas Tech -7.5, 63Underdog, Over

For more coverage of bowl season, check out our College Football Bowl Central!