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Temple vs Memphis preview: Can Owls cover, upset Tigers for second year in a row?

The Owls upset Memphis last season as double-digit underdogs for their lone AAC win. Can they do it again?

Temple QB E.J. Warner passes the ball against the Massachusetts Minutemen in the first half at Lincoln Financial Field on September 24, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Temple QB E.J. Warner passes the ball against the Massachusetts Minutemen in the first half at Lincoln Financial Field on September 24, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)Read moreMitchell Leff / Getty Images

For the second straight season, the Temple Owls and Memphis Tigers will face off in what will be Temple’s American Athletic Conference opener. Strangely enough, both teams enter this game with identical records as last season’s matchup, with Temple at 2-2, and Memphis at 3-1 (1-0 in AAC).

However, circumstances this time are a bit different. The Tigers opened as 11-point favorites over the Owls last season, and at one point held a 17-point lead in the game before Temple stormed back and took down Memphis, in what would be Temple’s lone conference win and last win on the season overall.

On Saturday, E.J. Warner and the Owls will make the trip to Memphis, entering the game as 18.5-point underdogs at FanDuel, the largest point-total of the season for Temple, second to the 17.5-point total against Rutgers a few weeks ago. It is also the largest line for either team in their series history, surpassing the 14-point line in favor of Memphis in 2020.

Temple has a 4-3 record against the Tigers in seven overall meetings, and have actually never been favored against Memphis, according to OddsShark. Strangely enough, the Owls have covered in every single meeting, dating back to 2013, which showcases just how close Temple has played Memphis historically.

Two of Temple’s three losses against Memphis have come on the road, with Temple’s lone win at the Tigers’ stadium coming in 2013. This season, the Owls have played one away game, a 30-0 loss against Duke, where they entered the game as 8.5-point underdogs against the Blue Devils.

However, the Owls have struggled straight up and against the spread against AAC opponents since the start of the 2020 season, losing 13 of their last 15 games against AAC opponents. They failed to cover in 12 of those 15 games.

» READ MORE: Temple’s Adonicas Sanders has quickly become E.J. Warner’s go-to receiver

In three of its last four conference openers, Temple was favored, as 10-point favorites in 2018 against Carolina, 12-point favorites against East Carolina again in 2019 and four-point favorites against Navy in 2020. The Owls covered twice, in back-to-back years against ECU.

If there’s a play in this game, the over point total of 50.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook looks enticing, considering the over has hit in this series three of the last four meetings, according to OddsShark. If the Owls are to pull off this upset again, Warner and the offense will need to come alive in a big way.

Temple vs Memphis odds (via FanDuel)

Betting Line: Temple +18.5; O/U: 50.5

MEM: -1250

TEM: +740

*Temple is 3-1 against the spread this season, while Memphis is 1-3 ATS.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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