Birmingham Bowl: Memphis Tigers vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons Pick
The AAC’s Memphis Tigers clash with the ACC’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons in this year’s Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 22 from Legion Field. That Saturday’s kickoff is slated for 12 p.m. on ESPN.
Memphis vs. Wake Forest Overview
Memphis went all the way to the AAC title game this season after winning the West Division at 5-3 straight-up in a head-to-head tiebreaker against Houston. The Tigers came up short in that championship game against undefeated Central Florida in a 56-41 loss as slight one-point underdogs. This was the first time they failed to cover in their last five games as part of an overall record of 8-5 both SU and against the spread. The total went OVER in eight of those 13 games.
The Tigers came very close to beating UCF in the regular season in a 31-30 loss on Oct. 13 as five-point home underdogs. Going back to that loss, the only time they scored fewer than 30 points was a 28-18 road victory against SMU in mid-November as 7.5-point favorites. Memphis is averaging 43.6 points per game behind an offense that is racking up 534.3 yards per game with an excellent balance between the pass and the run.
The Demon Deacons closed out their regular season on a high note with a 59-7 romp over Duke as 9.5-point road underdogs. They ended up an even 6-6 overall with a 3-5 SU record in ACC play. Wake Forest was 4-8 ATS with the total staying UNDER in eight of its 12 games. Its record ATS as an underdog this season is 3-6. The biggest win of the season was a 27-23 road upset against North Carolina State on Nov. 8 as a 19-point underdog.
Wake Forest has been a tough team to figure out from week to week. Along with closing out the season in impressive fashion against Duke and the upset against NC State, the Demon Deacons failed to cover against Florida State, Syracuse and Pitt after getting crushed by Clemson 63-3 on Oct. 6 as 20.5-point home underdogs. Overall, they averaged 32.5 points per game on offense while trying to keep pace with a defense that allowed an average of 33.3 PPG.
Memphis vs. Wake Forest Betting Trends
- The Tigers have gone 6-2 ATS in their last eight games coming off a straight up loss, but they have failed to cover in five of their last six bowl games. The total has gone OVER in 10 of their last 11 nonconference games.
- The Demon Deacons are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games against a team with a straight up winning record, but they have covered in four of their previous five postseason bowls. The total has gone OVER in five of their last six games outside the conference.
Memphis vs. Wake Forest Prediction 12/22/2018
The total line in this game is set high for a reason, and there is an excellent chance that if both offenses show up, it will go OVER. I still like Memphis as the better all-around team. The Tigers' balanced attack is going to be tough to stop for a Wake Forest defense that struggled to slow down much less potent offenses it faced this season.
Lay the five points and take the Tigers to win and cover against the Demon Deacons.