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Memphis Tigers vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons – Odds, Predictions, and Pick for Betting the 2018 Birmingham Bowl

| December 18, 2018 12:00 am PDT
Birmingham Bowl Preview

Get ready for a marathon of college football bowl games this Saturday on ESPN. We’ve got nonstop action all day long, and it all starts at Legion Field for the Birmingham Bowl, sponsored by Jared.

It kicks off at noon local (EST) time and features one of the most powerful offenses in America in Memphis, pitted up against a .500 ball club from the ACC in Wake Forest.

The Tigers are dying to get a taste of a Power 5 school on national television, while Dave Clawson and the Demon Deacons will be trying to win a bowl game for the third consecutive year.

It’s shaping up to be a dandy, folks. With a total set way up at 75, there should be no shortage of highlights!

Here’s my complete betting preview for the 2018 Birmingham Bowl.

The 2018 Jared Birmingham Bowl

  • Records: Memphis Tigers (8-5) vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-6)
  • Where: Legion Field – Birmingham, Alabama
  • When: Saturday, December 22nd – 12:00 pm EST – ESPN

Memphis will be without their offensive coordinator after Kenny Dillingham recently bolted from Memphis for the same position at Auburn. The good news is Tigers head coach Mike Norvell is a former OC and has a wealth of experience coaching up an offense.

If Memphis sustains a drop-off in their offensive output, it won’t be due to the absence of Coach Dillingham. It’ll likely be because the Tigers will be without junior running back Darrell Henderson, perhaps the nation’s top RB.

After leading the country with 22 rushing touchdowns and finishing second (behind Jonathan Taylor) with 1,909 rushing yards, the #3 running back on Mel Kiper Jr.’s Big Board will skip the Birmingham Bowl to focus on NFL Draft preparations.

This has become quite the common theme in the college football landscape nowadays as other stars like ASU WR N’Keal Harry and West Virginia QB Will Grier also opted to abruptly end their collegiate careers in advance of their upcoming bowl games.

How the Tigers offense will flow without their superstar RB and their OC calling plays remains to be seen, but let’s not pretend there aren’t other playmakers on this squad.

Patrick Taylor Jr. went over 1,000 yards rushing in 2018, including ending the year with a trio of 100+ yard games. Damonte Coxie is a big and athletic wideout who caught 66 balls for 1,104 yards and seven scores.

QB Brady White and this offense should be able to score points against a defense as porous as the Demon Deacons.

Wake Forest ranked outside the top 100 in FBS (I-A) in yards allowed and points given up. Aside from holding Duke to just seven points in the final game of the year, the WF defense was downright atrocious the entire season. They surrender 4.9 yards per carry (YPC), and here’s why I point that statistic out.

The Memphis Tigers are 6-0 against the spread (ATS) when playing teams who allow 4.75 YPC over the past two seasons. They’re 8-1 ATS versus teams who give up 31+ PPG over that same span. Wake Forest allows 33.3.

And while I’m ragging on the Demon Deacons D and talking about how Memphis will be running wild against them, I should also reveal that the Tigers have had their difficulties slowing down the opposition this year as well.

Central Florida throttled Memphis on the ground in the American Athletic Conference Championship game to the tune of 350 yards and six touchdowns. Missouri lit up the Tigers for 273 rushing yards and four rushing scores in a game back in October.

Wake Forest is going to have their chances to move the chains in this one. The question is, will they seize their opportunities?

Memphis Tigers vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons Lines and Pick

Memphis (-3)-115
Wake Forest (+3)-105
Over 75-110
Under 75-110

After winning games AT NC State and AT Duke during the final few weeks of the year just to punch their ticket into a bowl game, I sense that the Demon Deacons are a bit “satisfied,” if you will.

On the other hand, Memphis wants to prove to the world that the American Athletic Conference is not the “joke” that the College Football Playoff Committee has treated it as for the past few years.

Just like UCF will be ultra-motivated against LSU in the Fiesta Bowl, I expect Memphis to come out guns blazing in the Birmingham Bowl and give Wake Forest everything they can handle and more.

Shop your line sensibly across the leading college football betting sites, and you won’t have to lay 3.5, either. I found the Tigers at -3, and I pounced rather quickly.

PICKMemphis (-3)-115

Going Away

I think Memphis is the better football team with more firepower, plus I think the men in their locker room want this game more. I have nothing against Wake Forest, but I can’t ignore the fact that their deficiencies play right into the strengths of Memphis.

I’m not ready to gamble on the total, but I’m ready to ride with Memphis. How about you?

Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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