Miami Beach Bowl Free Pick: BYU vs. Memphis

The BYU Cougars will head to Marlins Park on Monday, Dec. 22 to tangle with the AAC’s Memphis Tigers in this season’s inaugural Miami Beach Bowl. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

The Cougars closed out the regular season with a 42-35 victory against California as 3.5-point road underdogs to finish 8-4 straight up on the year. It was their fourth SU win in a row, and they are 3-1 ATS during this run. The total went “over” the 71.5-point closing line, and it has now gone over in two of their last three outings.

The Tigers come into this game riding six-game SU winning streak with a 3-3 record ATS. They went 7-1 in conference play to earn a share of the AAC title, and overall they were 9-3 SU (7-5ATS). Memphis outscored South Florida and Connecticut 72-30 in its last two games, with the total going over in both contests.

BYU vs. Memphis Betting Storylines

It has been a tale of two seasons for the Cougars; the one with Taysom Hill at quarterback and the one without. BYU jumped out to a strong 4-0 start with Hill under center but then endured a costly four-game losing streak when he was lost for the year due to injury. The offense was finally able to regroup with Christian Stewart at the helm to help the Cougars win their final four games of the year.

Stewart ended up throwing for 2,273 yards and 22 touchdowns, and the offense finished the season ranked 33rd in the nation in passing yards per game (272.9) while averaging 36.2 points. BYU put an exclamation point on the turnaround in that win over Cal. There is still some genuine concern on the other side of the ball with a defense that allowed 30 points or more in half of the games this year. During that four-game slide, this unit was torched for an average of 40.7 points a game.

Memphis came into this season flying well under the radar in the AAC after winning just three games in 2013. It was able to quickly make a statement in a tight seven-point loss to UCLA in Week 2 as a 22.5-point road underdog. The Tigers started conference play by knocking off Cincinnati as three-point underdogs on the road, and their only setback in the AAC this season came to Houston in a tight 28-24 loss as 7.5-point home favorites.

While the Tigers showed some solid balance on offense between the run and the pass to average 34.7 points a game, the main strength of this team remains a rock-solid defense that was ranked fifth in the nation this season in points allowed (17.1). Looking back at their current six-game winning streak, this unit has held teams to 20 points or less in all six contests to lower that scoring average to just 13.3 points.

BYU vs. Memphis Betting Odds and Trends
Pointspread: Memphis -1
Total Line: 56.5

The betting trends have BYU listed at 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 games, and the total has gone over in seven of their last nine games.

The Tigers are 5-4 ATS this season when listed as favorites, and the total has gone over in five of their last seven games.

This will be the first meeting between these two teams in recent memory.

Miami Beach Bowl Picks: BYU vs. Memphis Betting Predictions

BYU has been able to turn things around since the loss of Hill, but it is going to have its hands full against a highly-underrated Tigers’ defense. While you probably cannot go wrong with a play on the “under” in this game, but my official pick is Memphis minus the one point.

Take: # 212 Memphis (-1) over BYU – 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 22

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