Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:01 PM
Friday's Tip Sheet
- -As of early Thursday, most betting shops had Memphis (6-4 straight up, 6-4 against the spread) installed as an 8.5-point favorite with a total of 73. The Mustangs were +270 on the money line (risk $100 to win $270).
-- Mike Norvell’s team has dropped three of its four road assignments both SU and ATS. The Tigers are only 3-3 in AAC action, but they are still alive in a four-team race to win the West Division. Houston, SMU and Tulane are tied for the division lead with 4-2 records, but Memphis gets SMU on Friday night and Houston at home next Friday night at the Liberty Bowl. Tulane was a listed as a double-digit underdog at Houston (on Thursday, “tonight” when this column was filed) and hosts Navy this weekend. The Tigers have lost at Tulane, but they could own head-to-head tiebreakers over SMU and Houston if they win out their next/last two outings.
-- Memphis lost 22-21 at Navy during a driving rainstorm – which was clearly advantageous to the Midshipmen and their run-heavy offensive attack -- and dropped a 31-30 decision to UCF at home. The Tigers’ other defeats came in lopsided fashion at Tulane (40-24) and at Missouri (65-33). All six of Memphis’s wins have come by margins of 17 points or more.
-- Memphis is ranked sixth in the nation in both total offense and scoring with its 44.6 points-per-game average. The Tigers are fifth in rushing yards and 38th in passing offense. They are led by junior running back Darrell Henderson, who is second in the country in rushing yards (1,446) and tied for an FBS-best 20 touchdowns. Henderson, who averages 9.2 yards per carry, has 17 rushing scores and three TD receptions. He has 15 catches for 283 yards and three TDs.
-- Brady White, a grad transfer QB from Arizona St., has completed 64.3 percent of his throws for 2,512 yards with a 22/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Junior WR Damonte Coxie has emerged as his favorite target, hauling in 58 receptions for 949 yards and seven TDs. Tony Pollard has 28 catches for 318 yards and three TDs, while John Williams has 28 grabs for 275 yards and two TDs.
-- Pollard is one of the nation’s premier all-purpose playmakers. As a freshman, he garnered AAC Special Teams Player of the Year honors and was on the Freshman All-American team as a kickoff return specialist. Pollard had four KO returns for TDs in 2017, easily leading the FBS in KO return average (40.0) and earning first-team All-American honors. Opponents have done their best not to allow him touches on special teams this year, as he’s turned 12 KO returns into just 258 yards. However, Pollard has made plays running the ball, producing 289 rushing yards and four TDs with a 7.0 YPC average.
-- Memphis is 1-2 both SU and ATS as a road favorite this season, 5-4 ATS as a road ‘chalk’ during Norvell’s three-year tenure.
-- SMU (5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS) owns a 3-2 record both SU and ATS in five home games. The Mustangs have been home underdogs four times this season, compiling a 3-1 spread record with two outright victories vs. Navy (31-30 in OT) and Houston (45-31).
-- Sonny Dykes’s first SMU team started the season 0-3, losing 46-23 at North Texas, 42-12 vs. TCU and 45-20 at Michigan. Since then, however, the Mustangs have won five of seven games SU with their losses coming 48-20 at still-undefeated UCF and 26-20 at home vs. one-loss Cincinnati in overtime.
-- SMU saw its three-game streak of spread covers halted in last week’s 62-50 win at UConn as an 18-point road favorite. Sykes’s squad darted out to a 31-10 halftime lead and held three separate 21-point leads in the second half, including a 52-31 advantage early in the final stanza. But the Huskies scored 26 points in the four quarter, including a 14-yard TD pass from David Pindell to Hergy Mayala with 36 ticks remaining. SMU had extended its lead to 62-44 and had its backers at least poised to push when Kevin Robledo buried a 30-yard field goal with 3:35 left.
-- SMU junior QB Ben Hicks connected on 19-of-29 pass attempts for 276 yards and one TD without an interception. Xavier Jones rushed for 133 yards and two TDs on 11 attempts, while Ke’Mon Freeman turned 17 carries into 116 rushing yards and three TDs. Hicks ran four times for 50 yards, while junior WR James Proche had six receptions for 101 yards.
-- Hicks is already the school’s leader in career passing yards, surpassing Chick Hixson’s record-setting numbers that were compiled from 1968-70 earlier in the season. The junior has completed 56.5 percent of his passes for 1,919 yards with a 16/4 TD-INT ratio. Hicks has a 68/31 career TD-INT ratio. Proche has enjoyed a dynamite campaign, bringing down 70 receptions for 882 yards and nine TDs. Facing one of the nation’s premier defenses in Week 3 at Michigan, Proche had 11 catches for 166 yard and two TDs. Sophomore WR Reggie Roberson Jr., who started his career at West Virginia, has 42 receptions for 648 yards and six TDs.
-- Jones, the senior RB who was a second-team All-AAC selection in 2017 when he had 1,075 rushing yards for nine TDs, has taken a backseat to fellow senior RB Braeden West in the backfield this year. West has run for a team-high 536 yards and six TDs with a 4.5 YPC average, while Jones has 303 rushing yards, two TDs and a 4.5 YPC average. West also has 29 catches for 277 yards and one TD. Freeman, who rushed for 543 yards and 11 TDs in 2017, missed four games injured from mid-September to mid-October. He has been given the most touches in the past two games, however, rushing for 107 yards and two TDs on 20 carries in the 45-31 win over Houston.
-- SMU has two key members of its secondary listed as ‘questionable’ vs. Memphis, including Rodney Clemons and Jordan Wyatt. Clemons is the Mustangs’ third-leading tackler with 64 stops, 2.5 TFL’s, three PBU, one forced fumble and one interception. Wyatt has 16 tackles, four PBU, one interception and one TFL. Also, junior DT Demerick Gary is suspended for the first half due to a targeting penalty issued in the second half of last week’s non-covering victory over UConn. Gary has produced 23 tackles, 2.5 TFL’s, 0.5 sacks, one QB hurry and one PBU.
-- When these teams joined the AAC in 2011, SMU won three in a row over Memphis both SU and ATS. However, it has been all Tigers since 2014 with four wins both SU and ATS. In fact, they’ve throttled the Mustangs by scores of 48-10, 63-0, 51-7 and 66-45. In last year’s encounter at the Liberty Bowl, Memphis covered the number as a 10.5-point home favorite in the win by 21 points. The 111 combined points soared ‘over’ the 71.5-point tally to prevent a third straight ‘under’ from appearing in this rivalry. Henderson stole the show with a 64-yard kickoff return, 147 rushing yards and two TDs on only 10 totes and a 15-yard reception. Hicks held his own in the losing effort. His accuracy wasn’t great with merely 15 completing on 34 attempts, but he threw for 218 yards and four TDs without an interception. Jones rushed 20 times for 175 yards and two TDs, while Proche had four catches for 70 yards.
-- The ‘over’ has cashed in three consecutive Memphis games to improve to 6-4 overall, 2-2 in its road contests. The Tigers have seen their games average combined scores of 75.1 PPG.
-- Totals have been an overall wash (5-5) for the Mustangs, who have watched their games average combined scores of 69.1 PPG.
-- ESPN will provide television coverage at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
*Boise State at New Mexico
-- Most books had Boise State (8-2 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) listed as a 19.5-point road ‘chalk’ early Thursday. The number for ‘over/under’ wager was 62.5 points, while the Lobos had +700 odds to win outright (risk $100 to get $700).
-- Bryan Harsin’s team needs a win in this spot to remain just one game back of Utah State in the Mountain West Conference’s Mountain Division. If BSU were to lose at UNM, it would remain alive in the division race only if Colorado State can upset Utah State on Saturday in Ft. Collins. If BSU and Utah State both win or both lose, it’ll set up a showdown for the MWC’s Mountain Division title on the smurf turf in Boise on Nov. 24. The winner would most likely face Fresno State, which can clinch the MWC’s West Division with a home win over San Diego St. this weekend.
-- Speaking of Fresno State, it saw its eight-game winning streak both SU and ATS snapped in last Friday’s 24-17 loss at Boise State. BSU won outright as a 2.5-point home underdog in its first home ‘dog role since losing to Boston College in the 2005 Humanitarian Bowl. The Broncos had not been regular-season home underdogs since 2001. Trailing 17-3 midway through the third quarter, BSU got a seven-yard TD run from Alexander Mattison to cut the deficit in half. Then on the opening play of the fourth quarter, Mattison’s one-yard TD plunge tied the game at 17-17. With 9:22 remaining, senior QB Brett Rypien found Khalil Shakir for a 49-yard scoring strike to provide the game-winning points. Rypien completed 24-of-29 passes for 269 yards with one TD and one interception. Mattison ran for 144 yards and two TDs on 30 workmanlike attempts.
-- Boise State took its two defeats at Oklahoma State (44-21) and at home vs. San Diego State (19-13). Since the loss to the Aztecs, Harsin’s squad has won five consecutive games while going 2-2-1 ATS.
-- BSU is ranked 21st in the nation in total offense, 13th in passing yards and 23rd in scoring with its 36.6 PPG average. Rypien, a two-time All-MWC first-teamer and a second-team All-MWC choice in 2017, has connected on 68.9 percent of his passes for 3,048 yards with a 25/7 TD-INT ratio. He has 12,921 career passing yards with potentially four games left to play (or three if BSU doesn’t make the MWC Championship Game), but he’s unlikely to catch Kellen Moore’s school record (14,667). For his career, Rypien has an 85/29 TD-INT ratio.
-- Rypien is generous with his ball distribution. Sean Modster has 50 receptions for 723 yards and four TDs, while A.J. Richardson has 44 grabs for 719 yards and eight TDs. John Hightower has caught 30 balls for 496 yards and six TDs, and C.T. Thomas has 31 catches for 407 yards and three TDs.
-- Mattison has rushed for 870 yards and 12 TDs while averaging 4.2 YPC. Hightower has turned eight rushing attempts into 163 yards and two TDs, while Mattison has 21 receptions for 121 yards.
-- Boise State is 2-2-1 with one outright defeat in five games as a road ‘chalk’ this season. During Harsin’s five-year tenure, the Broncos have posted a 16-9-1 spread record in 26 games as road favorites.
-- BSU is down three defensive starters – DT David Moa, LB DeAndre Pierce and LB Riley Whimpey – to season-ending injuries. Moa, a first-team All-MWC selection in 2016 and a second-teamer last year, was lost in early October. Whimpey, the team’s leading tackler, went down in a 21-16 non-covering home win over BYU two weeks ago. Three other starters – Hightower, junior NT Sonatane Lui and junior OG Eric Quevedo – are listed as ‘questionable’ at UNM due to undisclosed injuries.
-- New Mexico (3-7 SU, 4-6 ATS) is an abysmal 1-3 both SU and ATS in four home games this year. Since winning its MWC opener by a 50-14 count at UNLV, UNM has lost five games in a row while limping to a 1-4 ATS ledger. The Lobos are off a 42-24 loss at Air Force as 14-point road underdogs. They only trailed 21-17 at intermission and were ahead of the number going into the fourth quarter. However, the Falcons extended a 35-24 lead to 42-24 on a Cole Fagan three-yard TD run with 10:01 remaining and kept the backdoor closed from there.
-- UNM lost starting sophomore QB Tekava Tuioti to season-ending injury in late September. He had completed 55.8 percent of his throws for 439 yards with a 5/2 TD-INT ratio. Tuioti had rushed for 100 yards and one TD on 15 attempts.
-- Sheriron Jones has taken most of the snaps under center since then, with Coltin Gerhart getting some playing time in the past three games. Gerhart is ‘questionable’ vs. BSU, though, due to a leg injury. Jones has completed 54.4 percent of his passes for 1,311 yards with a 13/11 TD-INT ratio. He has 213 rushing yards and a 3.5 YPC average. Gerhart has connected on 25-of-42 throws (59.5%) for 235 yards with a 3/2 TD-INT ratio. He has one rushing score.
-- In addition to the win at UNLV, UNM’s two other wins came vs. Incarnate Word (62-30) and at New Mexico St. The Lobos have lost by margins of 17 points or more four times.
-- UNM senior RB Tyrone Owens has rushed for a team-high 628 yards and six TDs, but he’s averaging merely 3.9 YPC. He has six catches for 42 yards and one TD. Owens has just one 100-yard effort, producing 110 yards and one TD on 30 carries in the win over NM St.
-- Senior WR Delane Hart-Johnson has team-highs in receptions (29), receiving yards (430) and TD catches (five). Elijah Lilly has 21 grabs for 365 yards and five TDs, while Anselem Umeh has caught 16 balls for 316 yards and two TDs.
-- New Mexico is 1-1 ATS in a pair of games as a home underdog this season. During Bob Davie’s seven-year tenure (one that this space wants to last forever out of fear for being forced to agonizingly listen to him broadcast second-tier SEC games that sometimes include my Gators and bring four hours of automatic chafeness to my life!), the Lobos are 10-11 ATS in 21 games as home ‘dogs.
-- Totals have been an overall wash for the Broncos (5-5), but the ‘over’ is 3-2 in their five road assignments. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 59.6 PPG.
-- The ‘over’ is 8-2 overall for the Lobos, 3-1 in their home games. They’ve seen the ‘over’ hit in three consecutive contests and their games have average combined scores of 66.0 PPG throughout the entire year.
-- Since joining the MWC, BSU is 6-1 SU but only 1-6 ATS in seven games against the Lobos. When these teams met on the blue carpet last year, the Broncos won a 28-14 decision but failed to cover as 14-point home ‘chalk.’ The ‘under’ is 4-3 in the past seven games of this rivalry.
-- Kickoff is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on the CBS Sports Network.
B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- The Westgate SuperBook has Alabama listed as a 7.5-point favorite vs. Clemson. The wager is ‘action’ only if these schools meet in the finals of the College Football Playoff. Also, the Crimson Tide is the -250 ‘chalk’ to win the CFP.
-- The Westgate has Michigan installed as a 3.5-point favorite for next Saturday’s game at Ohio St.
-- Ole Miss RB Scottie Phillips is ‘questionable’ at Vanderbilt with an ankle sprain. Phillips has run for 927 yards and 14 TDs in his first year with the Rebels after arriving as a juco transfer.
-- Ohio State sophomore LB Baron Browning is ‘out’ Saturday at Maryland with an unspecified injury. Browning has recorded 22 tackles, 3.5 TFL’s and one sack. The Buckeyes ended a five-game ATS losing slide by taking the cash in last week’s 26-6 win at Michigan St. Browning was a five-star signed in the 2017 recruiting class.
-- Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio is playing coy about this starting QB on Saturday at Nebraska. Brian Lewerke saw his streak of making 20 straight starts snapped on Oct. 27 due to a shoulder injury. In his absence vs. Purdue, Rocky Lombardi completed 26-of-46 passes for 318 yards and two TDs without an interception. Lewerke has returned to start the last two games, but he’s completed only 35 percent of his throws since returning from the injury.
-- USF quarterback Blake Barnett is ‘questionable’ at Temple due to a shoulder injury. Barnett has thrown for 2,395 yards with a 13/11 TD-INT ratio.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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