BY COREY LONG
The Cincinnati Bearcats are back in the Top 25 and return to Nippert Stadium on Saturday to host the South Florida Bulls in an American Athletic Conference matchup.
Cincinnati (4-1, 1-0) has won four straight since its road loss to Arkansas in the season opener. Last week, the Bearcats had a tough road game at Tulsa but held the Golden Hurricane to just 36 yards rushing to squeeze out a 31-21 win. Quarterback Ben Bryant threw two touchdowns, and running back Corey Kiner had 106 yards and a touchdown.
South Florida (1-4, 0-1) hasn’t won a road game in nearly three years and is 1-22 against FBS opposition since Jeff Scott became head coach in 2020. The Bulls were forced to move their practices and game against East Carolina to Florida Atlantic University last Saturday after Hurricane Ian forced a move. South Florida struggled and lost 48-28.
Caesars Sportsbook lists Cincinnati as a 27.5-point favorite with an over/under of 59.5.
Let’s take a closer look at the odds and trends:
South Florida Bulls at Cincinnati Bearcats
Time/TV: 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN+
Point spread (from Caesars Sportsbook): Cincinnati -27.5
Money line: South Florida +2000, Cincinnati -10000
Analysis: Cincinnati has won four straight in the series, but South Florida has generally played the Bearcats hard, with the largest margin of defeat coming in a 28-7 Cincinnati win in 2020. The Bulls always seem to get up a little bit for the Bearcats.
This is a big line, and it’s going to be hard to cover even if Cincinnati cruises to victory. The first-half line (Cincinnati -16.5) might be the smartest play here because South Florida has gotten off to slow starts in four of its five games.
Expect Cincinnati to get out to a very comfortable lead through three quarters and play a lot of backups in the fourth quarter. That will allow South Florida to get some yards and points against the reserves to stay within the spread.
Prediction: Cincinnati 44, South Florida 20