Miami (Fla.) will find out a lot about itself over the next five games, beginning Thursday night when the Hurricanes visit offensively-gifted Cincinnati. Sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya, who has led Miami to its second 3-0 start since 2005, is sure to be tested on trips to Florida State and Duke along with home games against Clemson and Virginia Tech after facing the Bearcats.
The Hurricanes cannot look past Cincinnati, which has won 27 straight games against non-conference opponents at Nippert Stadium and is averaging 40.3 points overall in 2015. Miami has the advantage of coming in off a bye week and boasts seven interceptions in three games while the Bearcats have suffered nine picks and lost five fumbles. Cincinnati is expected to go with Hayden Moore at quarterback after he threw for a school-record 557 yards in the 53-46 loss at Memphis last week in relief of injured Gunner Kiel (neck, shoulder). “He’s going to be a special player for us,” Bearcats coach Tommy Tuberville told reporters of Moore. “I like his temperament. His attitude is great.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: Miami opened as 4.5-point road favorites and have been gradually bet to -6.5. The total has been bet up from its opening number of 66 to 68.
Miami – LB J. Grace (probable Thursday, undisclosed), WR B. Berrios (questionable Thursday, knee), DB R. Mayes (questionable Thursday, hamstring), LB M. Gayot (out Thursday, neck), WR S. Coley (out Thursday, hamstring).
Cincinnati – WR C. Moore (questionable Thursday, leg), WR J. Holton (questionable Thursday, leg), RB M. Boone (questionable Thursday, ankle), QB G. Kiel (doubtful Thursday, head).
WEATHER REPORT: It will be slightly cloudy at gametime, with a very slight 14 percent chance of rain. There will be a strong 13 mile per hour wind gusting towards the southwest endzone.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “We’ve got some liability with Miami as about two-thirds of our spread handle has come in on the Hurricanes. I would say there’s been an overreaction to the Cincinnati quarterback situation but our clients are educated and they know the backup Moore is just as serviceable. The total has ballooned up to 69 and almost 75 percent of the action has been on that side of the total. We would welcome a low-scoring Bearcats victory.” – John Lester of BookMaker.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Miami comes into this game with extra rest as the Hurricanes last played back on September 19th. Miami is the fresher team, and that could be a problem for Cincinnati since the Hurricanes have speed that the Bearcats can’t match. Cincinnati’s defense is terrible; they’ve allowed 33 points or more in three consecutive games to teams that have offenses less skillful than Miami’s.” – Covers Expert Steve Merril.
ABOUT MIAMI (3-0, 2-1 ATS, 2-1 O/U): Kaaya has been efficient while throwing only four interceptions (one in 2015) in his last 303 attempts, dating back to last season. Joseph Yearby, averaging 7.6 yards per carry, and Mark Walton (four TDs) provide Kaaya (839 passing yards) good support on the ground, and Rashawn Scott leads the receiving corps (18 catches, 273 yards). The Hurricanes’ defense, led by linebacker Raphael Kirby (23 tackles), must rebound after giving up 23 points in the fourth quarter of the 36-33 overtime win over Nebraska on Sept. 19.
ABOUT CINCINNATI (2-2, 1-3 ATS, 4-0 O/U): Kiel, who has completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 868 yards might not be available at all for the Bearcats after taking a big hit against Memphis. Moore came on to connect on 31-of-53 attempts (four TDs, two interceptions) and has six receivers who have gained at least 165 yards, keyed by Shaq Washington (26 catches, 286 yards). Running back Mike Boone (220 yards rushing, 9.6 per carry, three TDs) continues to be limited with an ankle injury for an offense that ranks third in the nation at 622.5 yards per game.
* Miami is 5-2 ATS in their last seven Thursday night games.
* Cincinnati is 0-6 ATS in their last six non-conference games.
* Under is 4-1 in Miami’s last five road games.
* Over is 6-0 in Cincinnati’s last six games overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public likes Miami in this matchup, with 59.27 percent of wagers backing the Hurricanes.