Memphis vs Western Kentucky Free Boca Raton Bowl Pick, 12-20-2016
FREE Boca Raton Bowl Pick
Memphis Tigers vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Time: December 20th, 7:00pm EST
Current Odds: WKU -5, 79
The Conference USA Champion Western Kentucky Hilltoppers take on the Memphis Tigers in the Boca Raton Bowl. This is an intriguing matchup as the Hilltoppers won 7 straight games to finish out the season and the Tigers won 3 of 4 to close out the season including a win over Houston in the season finale.
Memphis had an impressive season considering they not only had to replace their start QB in Paxton Lynch but they ushered in a new coach (Mike Norvell) when Justin Fuente left for Virginia Tech. Memphis racked up 39.5 points per game and 294.9 passing yards per game (20th) this season behind QB Riley Ferguson. Ferguson threw for over 3,300 yards for 28 TD and 9 INTs. The defense was an issue at times and in all four losses on the season, the defense struggled. In fact, they allowed 27 points per game overall, but in losses to Navy (42-28), Tulsa (59-30), USF (49-42) and Ole Miss (48-28) they averaged giving up 49.5 points per game.
Keep an eye out for Memphis’ freshman special teamer, Tony Pollard. Pollard was named the AAC’s Special Teams Player of the Year after returning two kickoffs for TD’s and compiling 993 kickoff return yards. Pollard can be a game changer when he puts his team in solid field position.
Western Kentucky will need to replace another head coach as Jeff Brohm left to take over Purdue. Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt will lead the Hilltoppers in the Boca Raton Bowl. Holt’s defense played well this season ranking 4th in the nation allowing 99 rushing yards per game and 37th in the nation allowing 367 total yards per game.
On offense, quarterback Mike White anchors a unit that averages 517.4 yards per game (7th), 45.1 points per game (2nd) and 336.8 yards per game (5th) in the air. White has thrown for 4,027 yards with 34 touchdowns and just six picks while averaging 10.43 yards per attempt. In addition, the Hilltoppers have a tremendous running back to rely with a balanced offense. Running back Anthony Wales rushed for 1,376 yards and 24 scores on 6.8 yards per carry.
I’m leaning on the Hilltoppers to cover this small chalk. The Hilltoppers have scored at least 30 or more points in 18 of their last 19 games and their balanced offense makes it very difficult for defenses to defend. Memphis is a very good team but their offense will not be able to go toe to toe with the Hilltoppers. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are one of the hotter teams in the country with seven straight victories and that trend should continue with at least a touchdown win over Memphis.
Memphis vs Western Kentucky Boca Raton Bowl Pick: Western Kentucky -5