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Temple Owls vs. South Florida Bulls Point Spread - Pick

Temple Owls (2-1 SU, 0-3 ATS) vs. South Florida Bulls (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS)
College Football Week 4
Date/Time: Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 7:30PM EST
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: TEM +20.5/USF -20.5
Over/Under Total: 58.5

The Temple Owls come to Raymond James Stadium on Thursday to face the South Florida Bulls in American Athletic Conference action. Both teams last played on Friday. South Florida went to 3-0 as they continue to creep up the rankings. They beat Illinois, 47-23 and now open up conference play against a Temple team that went to 2-1 with a 29-21 win over Massachusetts. After losing badly to Notre Dame in week one, they have now won two straight. At the betting windows, neither of these teams has been too solid this season, with USF's cover over Illinois on Friday the only cover between the two teams. Who can notch the cover in this AAC battle this week?

Last season as 6-point undedogs at home, Temple was able to give South Florida a 46-30 beating. Temple running back Ryquell Armstead was tremendous with 210 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. The Temple rushing attack gave the Bulls a lot of problems. Owls' receiver Ventell Bryant also was big in the win and they hope for more of the same this week. The Temple defense was pretty solid on the day and kept South Florida and key playmaker Quinton Flowers from running amok.

Temple is 2-1, but having yet to cover a spread and not coming all that close in two of the three games does raise some red flags. And so much was expected, with Temple losing the coach who brought them up a few notches, in addition to a lot of key pieces on both sides of the ball including a 3+-year starter at quarterback and a first-round draft pick and other playmakers on defense. Their secondary is still in pretty good shape. And they returned some key playmakers on offense like Armstead and Bryant. Sophomore quarterback Logan Marchi has been solid and had 3 TD throws against UMass. Receivers Isaiah Wright, Nick Kirkwood, and Adonis Jennings have also been pitching in. Wright's one-handed TD grab in the 4th quarter was the play of the game. Still, to beat a winless UMass in a grind is not a great result, especially following a game where they needed a last-minute field goal to beat FCS opponent Villanova by three points.

The Temple defense should eventually be pretty solid with new head coach Geoff Collins, who is coming off a nice run as Florida D.C. where he commandeered some pretty good units. Giving up 49 to Notre Dame was a bad sign, but it's a defense trying to find its legs after losing a lot of juice in the front seven. There is some young talent stepping up, including Quincy Roche, who had three sacks on Friday, along with LB Sam Franklin, who had two. Veteran Sharif Finch also registered a few sacks. They will be facing a tougher offensive line this week. And in giving up 377 to a UMass quarterback, that might not bode well for the purposes of this matchup.

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The best playmaker on the field will be South Florida's Quinton Flowers, a dual-threat QB who now has seasoning to accompany his talent. After the whole offense got off to a slow start in their win over Illinois, Flowers made some big plays with his legs and arm, as the Bulls pulled away. He threw for four touchdowns and ran in another one.

The South Florida running game was in full-bloom on Friday. In addition to Flowers running for over 100 yards, South Florida backs Darius Tice and D'Ernest Johnson also surpassed the century mark on the ground. Johnson also caught a TD pass. In that category, Marquez Valdez-Scantling led the way with 96 yards and a touchdown, followed closely by Deangelo Antoine with 93 yards. Both young men had touchdowns. You see a lot of the offense going through Flowers, but making it all come together is a nice cast of playmakers that support him and his abundant talent.

The South Florida defense was pretty solid on Friday. Two fourth-quarter touchdowns by Illinois with the matter already decided made it look closer than it really was. S Ronnie Hoggins, CB Tajee Fullwood, and LB Keirston Johnson all had interceptions, while DE Greg Reaves and DT Bruce Hector both had sacks. Corner Deatrick Nichols is a big play corner and so far, the "D" has picked off 8 passes from opposing quarterbacks this season.

Charlie Strong, after a bad run at Texas, has a chance of redemption at South Florida and the team seems to be getting a little better. Flowers is a talent that might surpass that of every player in the conference. Temple, meanwhile, is coming off a successful run of a couple seasons, but is now dealing with the flip side of that equation. That includes coaches becoming attractive candidates at bigger programs and players leaving. Some young talent has come in and should take hold eventually, but South Florida is the superior football machine right now and should avenge their defeat of last season with a conclusive pounding on Thursday. I'm taking the Bulls.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the South Florida Bulls minus 20.5 points. Bet the Owls vs. Bulls game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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