2018 Jared Birmingham Bowl Betting Preview: Memphis Tigers vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons – Dec. 22, 2018

by | Dec 22, 2018 | NCAA Football

Matchup at a Glance

When: Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Where: Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama

Point Spread: Memphis Tigers -3.5

Betting Total: 74

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The 2018 Jared Birmingham Bowl will take place on Saturday, December 22, 2018, and will feature the Memphis Tigers taking on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

The Birmingham Bowl is being played at the Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama with the kickoff scheduled to take place at 12:00 PM ET on ESPN.

Intertops has set the point spread for this game at Memphis Tigers -3.5 and have set the total for the over/under plays at 74 points.

Birmingham Bowl History

The has been around for many years and will be playing in its 13th season.  The Birmingham Bowl is sponsored by Jared this year for the first time in the history of this bow.  Previous sponsors have Papa John’s and BBVA Compass.

The following are the previous Birmingham Bowl game history:

  • 2006 PapaJohns.com Bowl December 23, 2006 South Florida 24 East Carolina 7
  • 2007 PapaJohns.com Bowl December 22, 2007 #20 Cincinnati 31 Southern Miss 21
  • 2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl December 29, 2008 Rutgers 29 NC State 23
  • 2010 PapaJohns.com Bowl January 2, 2010 Connecticut 20 S. Carolina 7
  • 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl January 8, 2011 Pittsburgh 27 Kentucky 10
  • 2012 BBVA Compass Bowl January 7, 2012 SMU 28 Pittsburgh 6
  • 2013 BBVA Compass Bowl January 5, 2013 Ole Miss 38 Pittsburgh 17
  • 2014 BBVA Compass Bowl January 4, 2014 Vanderbilt 41 Houston 24
  • 2015 Birmingham Bowl January 3, 2015 Florida 28 East Carolina 20
  • 2015 Birmingham Bowl December 30, 2015 Auburn 31 Memphis 10
  • 2016 Birmingham Bowl December 29, 2016 #25 S. Florida 46 S. Carolina 39
  • 2017 Birmingham Bowl December 23, 2017 #23 South Florida 38 Texas Tech 34


Previous Matchups

The Memphis Tigers and Wake Forest Demon Deacons have played each other 4 times dating back to 1964.  Their matchups really haven’t been recent, with all four of the games taking place between 1964 and 1967.  The results of those games were as follows:

  • 10/31/1964 Memphis 23 – Wake Forest 14
  • 11/20/1965 Wake Forest 21 – Memphis 20
  • 11/12/1966 Wake Forest 21 – Memphis 7
  • 10/14/1967 Memphis 42 – Wake Forest 10


Memphis Tigers

The Memphis Tigers came up just short in the American Athletic Conference this year, playing in the AAC Conference Championship game but losing the title game to UCF by the score of 56-41 after holding a heavy lead in the first half.  The Tigers allowed the UCF Knights to come back late in the game and hand the Tigers their 5th loss of the year.

Memphis ended their regular season with an 8-5 SU and ATS record and played 8 of their 13 games over the posted total.   

The following is the Memphis Tigers complete schedule and results from the 2018 College Football Regular Season:

  • Saturday 12/01/18 @ Central Florida L 41-56
  • Friday 11/23/18 Houston W 52-31
  • Friday 11/16/18 @ Southern Methodist W 28-18
  • Saturday 11/10/18 Tulsa W 47-21
  • Saturday 11/03/18 @ East Carolina W 59-41
  • Saturday 10/20/18 @ Missouri L 33-65
  • Saturday 10/13/18 Central Florida L 30-31
  • Saturday 10/06/18 Connecticut W 55-14
  • Friday 09/28/18 @ Tulane L 24-40
  • Saturday 09/22/18 South Alabama W 52-35
  • Friday 09/14/18 Georgia State W 59-22
  • Saturday 09/08/18 @ Navy L 21-22
  • Saturday 09/01/18 Mercer W 66-14

The Memphis Tigers have appeared in 10 previous bowl games and are 4-6 in those 10 games. They have lost three consecutive bowl games, including losing the 2015 Birmingham Bowl against Auburn 31-10.  

That was the only time that the Tigers have played in the Birmingham Bowl. Ironically, they have played in a total of 2 bowls in Alabama, losing both the 2015 Birmingham Bowl and also the 2004 GMAC Bowl to Bowling Green by the score of 52-35.  

The Memphis Tigers have one of the best offenses in the FBS.  They are ranked 3rd in rushing and 51st in passing offense, with a 4th overall ranking in College Football. The problem with all that is Memphis is losing players and coaches at a rapid pace!  

Running Back Darrell Henderson has declared himself eligible for the NFL draft and will not play in the Birmingham Bowl. Henderson carried the ball 214 times for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns on the season but without him, the Tigers still have a deep backfield.  

Patrick Taylor Jr was right up there with Henderson, carrying the ball 178 times for 1,012 yards and 15 touchdowns.  Sure, missing Henderson is going to hurt but unlike most other teams, the Tigers won’t be as drastically affected.

So the other thing we have to address is the fact that Offensive Coordinator Kenny Dillingham has left Memphis and will now become the new Offensive Coordinator at Auburn with Gus Malzahn.  On the other side of the ball, Defensive Coordinator Chris Ball has left Memphis and he will now take over the Head Coaching position at Northern Arizona.

It is hard to replace a coach or an assistant right before the bowl game but it is really difficult to do it on both sides of the ball, in the same year, at the same time!   

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Wake Forest Demon Deacons

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are simply happy to be going to a bowl.  Their season didn’t go as they wanted and they finished up with a 6-6 SU and 4-8 ATS record.   

The following are the results from the Wake Forest Demon Deacons complete schedule and results from the 2018 College Football Regular Season:

  • Saturday 11/24/18 @ Duke W 59-7
  • Saturday 11/17/18 Pittsburgh L 13-34
  • Thursday 11/08/18 @ NC State W 27-23
  • Saturday 11/03/18 Syracuse L 24-41
  • Saturday 10/27/18 @ Louisville W 56-35
  • Saturday 10/20/18 @ Florida State L 17-38
  • Saturday 10/06/18 Clemson L 3-63
  • Saturday 09/29/18 Rice W 56-24
  • Saturday 09/22/18 Notre Dame L 27-56
  • Thursday 09/13/18 Boston College L 34-41
  • Saturday 09/08/18 Towson W 51-20
  • Thursday 08/30/18 @ Tulane W 23-17


The Demon Deacons have always been a strong team when it comes to the bowl season. They have played in 12 previous bowl games dating back to 1946 and have gone 8-4 in those bowls. They have gone bowling in the past 2 years (2016-2017) and won both of those games by a score of 55-52 over Texas AM and 34-26 over Temple.  

This is the first time that the Demon Deacons have played in the Birmingham Bowl however they did play in the 1949 Dixie Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama, where they were defeated by the Baylor Bears.

The Demon Deacons battled some injuries late in the season and it looks as if they are going to deal with them in the bowl season.  Freshman QB Sam Hartman has already been ruled out of this game and now the Demon Deacons will go with Sophomore QB Jamie Newman.

The Demon Deacons have the 33rd ranked offense in the FBS but keep in mind, the majority of those numbers came with Hartman in the game.  Hartman allows the Demon Deacons to throw downfield and brings a dual threat to the field, whereas Newman isn’t as effective with the ball, throwing for 755 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions.

In addition to not having their top QB, there is a strong possibility that the Demon Deacons will be without top receiver Greg Dortch. Dortch injured his finger during their game with Duke and has not practiced for the bowl game.  There is a high probability that if he doesn’t practice with the team before Wednesday, he will not play in the bowl game. You will need to monitor the situation and check back here on gameday.

Handicapping Breakdown

This is one of the tougher games to figure out mainly because of the coaching changes and player changes that are going on, basically on both sides of the field. With that being said, when you look at the depth and who has players that can slide into the roles of those that have left, we give the advantage to Memphis.

What Mike Norvell is building in Memphis is special and he has these kids believing that they can win.  They are without a doubt one of the best running teams in the country and their offensive line takes control of games.  

Our system tells us that Memphis should win the game by nearly 2 touchdowns. This is one of those games where the line is between Memphis -3 and Memphis -3.5.  The nice part is we can get the money line on this game at around Memphis -160 to -165. Don’t risk losing this game on a field goal. We don’t think it will be close but why take the chance.  Memphis is going to win the football game so play it smart and play the money line.

Spooky’s Bowl Pick – Memphis Tigers (ML) 


Update 12/22/2018 @ 10:19 AM – We are going to roll with Memphis here on the money line for a 3-Star play. Both teams will be missing some players in the game but in the end, we think Memphis's running game will simply be too much for Wake to handle. Memphis gets the win here!   Check back shortly before game time to see if we release a total play for this game. 

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