Bet on the Cotton Bowl Classic: Memphis Vs. Penn State

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

This years Cotton Bowl Classic is between two programs that have never faced each other, the Memphis Tigers and the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Memphis Tigers look to claim their first bowl victory since 2014, Penn State however is looking to claim that victory for themselves. Penn State finished the year with a 10-2 record, Memphis finished at 12-1 which is good news if you’re looking for an exciting game. Considering these two programs haven’t faced each other, you can’t rely on history to bet on this one. Penn State comes in as 7-point favorite with the over/under at 60.5, so let’s look at both teams before we decide.

Memphis Tigers: Looking to tame the Lions

The Memphis Tigers come into this game as 7-point underdogs, the Tigers are no stranger to be counted out of a game but still have high hopes of taking down the Nittany Lions. Memphis comes into this game after having their best record in program history at 12-1 and AAC champions. The Memphis rushing attack is its bread and butter, running back Kenneth Gainwell has over 1,425 yards rushing and 12 TDs on the season tied for 21st. The Tigers do well on offense, averaging 40.5 ppg, a combination of a balanced rushing and passing attack.

However, this bowl game the Memphis Tigers will be without their head coach so they could be off to a slow start which doesn’t bode well for the Tigers defense. Memphis has given up an average of 24.4 ppg, ranking 47th and putting them in a tough spot against Penn States offense. Although the Tigers have more than enough offense to win the game, the question is how well they can hold up on defense to keep Penn State within 7.

Penn State: Ready to get back to winning

Penn State is riding into the Cotton Bowl on a high after beating the Rutgers in spectacular fashion with their eyes on a bowl victory. Unfortunately, the Nittany Lions fell against the Gophers and shortly after to the Buckeyes. After those two losses Penn State lost its way out of the College Football Playoffs, which left a sour taste in the organizations mouth. Looking to finish the year on a high note, Penn State faces a high-powered Memphis offense, the good news is the Nittany Lions have quite the defense.

Penn State’s offense has left a lot to be desired though, only averaging 34.3 ppg and their sophomore running back Journey Brown finishing the season with just 688 yards on the ground. The Nittany Lions defense however has performed well this year, only allowing 14.1 ppg and ranking 7th in college football. Their defense is without question one of the best in the league but their offense needs to capitalize on the opportunities presented to them. Penn State sits at 6-6 ATS and 5-7 on the over/under which really makes this game difficult to bet, especially with the difference being just a touchdown.

Cotton Bowl Pick: Penn State -7, Under 60.5

This game is going to be a battle of hard-nosed defense versus a high-powered offense, which would usually make it a tough choice. With Memphis’ head coach out and Penn State’s defense being one of the best I have to take Penn State -7. The interesting part is the over/under, the total has gone over in seven of Memphis’ last ten games which would usually lead me towards the over. Instead I say bet the under considering that although the Memphis defense is lackluster, Penn State’s offense doesn’t seem to score easily. Penn State has gone 5-1 ATS in December, which is why I’ll be taking them -7 and the under 60.5.

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