Miami Beach Bowl Expert Betting PickNoah Williams
Welcome to Miami Beach in December. The 1 point favorite Memphis Tigers will take on the BYU Cougars at Marlins Ballpark, which was the original site of the Orange Bowl. Brigham Young University signed on to play in the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl way back in April, so they were a given to make the trip to the sunshine state. However, if anyone tells you that they had Memphis going to the Miami Beach Bowl or any bowl get their college football betting picks and bet the house.
The BYU Cougars were touted as this year’s Cinderella team when they started the season 4-0 including a blowout win over the bluechip Texas Longhorns. Then injuries caught up with the Cougars, losing four straight and ending the season just 8-4. The Memphis Tigers began the year just 3-3 and finish with six consecutive victories.
Analyzing My Miami Beach Bowl Expert Betting Pick
Miami Beach Bowl
Memphis Tigers vs BYU Cougars
Date: Dec. 22, 2014
Start Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: Miami, Florida
Stadium: Marlins Ballpark
TV Info: ESPN
Stream Info: WatchESPN.com
Radio: Memphins Vs BYU
Point Spread: Tigers -1
Game Total: 56.5
BYU Will Win the Miami Beach Bowl If
The Cougars can put a significant amount of points on the board!
BYU senior quarterback Christian Stewart (22TDs, 6 INTs) clearly is not as athletically-gifted as injured starter Taysom Hill, but the experienced signal-caller has thrown a whopping 14 touchdown passes and just one interception in BYU’s last four games.
If the Cougars want to have any chance at winning this contest against an extremely stingy Memphis defense, they’ll need another strong performance from Stewart first and foremost. The good news is that Stewart has performed very well against competitive teams like Central Florida and Boise State.
Stewart has 11 total touchdowns and one pick in his last two games. Rushers Mitch Mathews and Jordan Leslie have combined for nearly 1,600 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns while Mitchell Juergens has eight of his 24 receptions in his last two games.
BYU’s ground game is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, as Paul Lasike has 353 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Defensively, the BYU Cougars are allowing 25.3 points, 384.2 yards, and they’ve forced 25 sacks and 21 turnovers. Skye PoVey leads BYU with 69 tackles and Bronson Kaufusi has 10.5 tackles for loss.
BYU is 4-4 SU but just 3-5 ATS in eight outings by Stewart this season. Again however, BYU has been very good under their former backup quarterback as of late, posting a 3-1 ATS mark over their last four games.
Memphis Will Win the Miami Beach Bowl If
They play defense like they have all season long.
You may not know it because they’re not a ‘big-name’ program like some of their other more highly-publicized counterparts, but the Memphis Tigers were absolutely ‘beastly’ on defense this season.
The Tigers ranked 22nd in total defense (343.2 ypg), including 24th against the run (125.2 ypg) and a stellar fifth in points allowed (17.1 ppg). Memphis has won six straight games coming into this contest and has held three of those opponents to 10 points or less.
Memphis will also have to score their fair share of points against a BYU squad that has scored 42 points or more in each of their last three games. Memphis was held to 24 points or less in two of their three losses this season.
QB Paxton Lynch is completing 64 percent of his passes for 18 touchdowns and six interceptions. Lynch has eight total touchdowns and zero picks in his last two games. Keiwone Malone and Mose Frazier have combined for more than 900 receiving yards and five touchdowns while Alan Cross has three of his 25 receptions in his last two games.
Memphis’ ground game is averaging 4.2 yards per carry, as Brandon Hayes leads the way with 900 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Defensively, the Memphis Tigers are allowing 17.1 points, 343.3 yards, and they’ve forced 28 sacks and 27 turnovers. Tank Jakes leads Memphis with 85 tackles and Genard Avery has five sacks.
Who Will Win the Miami Beach Bowl?
I like the BYU Cougars to finish off their season with a big win over a very game Memphis team that I certainly don’t expect to simply roll over.
The Cougars are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games and 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 non-conference games.
While BYU averages just 1.5 points per game more than the Tigers (17.1 ppg), it is Memphis that allows nearly eight fewer points per game, leading many to think they’ll win outright to cover the spread as slight favorites.
However, I don’t think the Tigers face nearly the quality of competition that BYU does and to be honest about it – I’m not very impressed with their recent wins over a string of mediocre teams like Tulane, Tulsa and Temple.
I’m also very impressed with the play of Christian Stewart and I believe the senior will show the poise that is needed to not get rattled by the Tigers’ aggressive defense.
I like BYU to get ‘er done!