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Memphis Tigers vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers – Boca Raton Bowl Predictions, Odds, Picks and NCAA Football Betting Preview – December 20, 2016

Memphis Tigers vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers – Boca Raton Bowl Predictions, Odds, Picks and NCAA Football Betting Preview – December 20, 2016

Memphis Tigers vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Betting Preview

Where: FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL

When: Tuesday, December 20, 2016, 7:00 PM ET

Line: Memphis Tigers (+5.5) vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (-5.5); total: 79.0 – view all NCAA Football odds and lines

TV Broadcast: ESPN

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Betting on the Memphis Tigers (+5.5)

The Memphis Tigers ended their regular season on a strong note after sqeuaking out a tense 48-44 victory over over the No. 20 Houston Cougars late November. In his first year as head coach, Mike Norvell has Memphis on the verge of a second-consecutive 9-4 record with his team winning three of its last four games (SU/ATS) heading into Boca Raton.

The Tigers have boasted a prolific offense all season long, one that ranks 17th in the country with an average of 39.5 points scored per contest. Junior standouts Riley Ferguson and Anthony Miller made for a lethal combination through the air indeed. Ferguson finished the year with over 3,300 passing yards and 28 touchdowns, with wideout Miller accounting for 1,283 of those yards and 11 of those TDs.

However, Memphis could’ve finished better than third in the American Athletic’s West division if it had a somewhat passable defense. The team has allowed a whopping 442.7 yards per game to the opposition this season, and that porous D will be in for a long day against an explosive Western Kentucky offense.

The Tigers would have to fight fire with fire on offense at that, but that’s really easier said that done, mainly because…

Betting on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (-5.5)

With the 58-44 win over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on December 4, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers became back-to-back Conference USA champions in head coach Jeff Brohm’s final season in Bowling Green.

Brohm, who agreed to become Purdue’s next head coach the following day, avenged his team’s brutal 55-52 loss to the Bulldogs earlier this season in triumphant fashion to ultimately win the conference crown. Western Kentucky heads to sunny Florida with a seven-game win streak (SU/ATS) along with an offense that’s even more nuclear than what Memphis has up its sleeve.

If the score from the game mentioned above isn’t enough evidence, then consider the fact that the Hilltoppers are second in the nation with 45.1 points scored per game and fifth in average passing yardage at 336.8 per game behind a banner campaign from Mike White. Sporting a sweet 67.4 percent completion rate, the junior playcaller amassed over 4,000 passing yards to go with 34 touchdowns this season.

While White has been outstanding in the aerial attack, he also did have dynamic running back Anthony Wales helping out tremendously in the ground game. Wales racked up 1,376 rushing yards and added 24 TDs of his own this season, and can definitely relieve the pressure off his QB by gashing the Tigers’ paper-thin defense on Tuesday.

Not only that, but the Hilltoppers have a pretty decent defense to stifle Memphis’ offense. They are 37th in the FBS at just 367.8 yards allowed per contest, and that D of theirs could very well be the key factor in preventing the Boca Raton Bowl from being a wild, unpredictable shootout.

Writer’s Prediction

The Hilltoppers (-5.5) prevail from yet another high-scoring affair, 51-38, to win their third-straight bowl game in as many years.

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Written by Mark

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