Arizona State vs. SMU College Basketball Odds, Picks: Bad Matchup for Mustangs?

Arizona State vs. SMU College Basketball Odds, Picks: Bad Matchup for Mustangs? article feature image

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Alonzo Gaffney (Arizona State)

  • Arizona State faces SMU in a non-conference duel on Wednesday evening.
  • The Sun Devils have been a surprise this season, mainly due to their tough defense.
  • Keg breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Arizona State vs. SMU Odds

Wednesday, Dec. 7
9 p.m. ET
Arizona State Odds
-110o / -110u
SMU Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

SMU can finally see light at the end of the tunnel for what has been a grueling non-conference schedule. However, their last non-conference home game of the season may be the toughest so far for the Mustangs.

Arizona State heads to Dallas after close calls against both Colorado and Stanford to begin Pac-12 play. Thankfully, the Sun Devils avoided overtime against both — their one and only loss on the season came against Texas Southern in overtime.

The Sun Devils are currently ranked 50th by KenPom and received top-25 votes in the AP Poll. They will be the highest-ranked team (per KenPom) that the Mustangs have faced so far this season and the fourth ranked inside the top 100.

SMU lost to its first three top-100 opponents by an average of 10.6 points. Now as an underdog of just 5.5, can the Mustangs end their non-conference home schedule on a high note? More importantly, can they cover?

Arizona State Sun Devils

There's some significant hype around this Sun Devils team, and for good reason. Arizona State is above .500 through its first eight games for the first time since the 2020-21 season.

The Sun Devils' 2-0 start to conference play is something they haven't achieved since the 2012-13 season.

And in completely opposite fashion of their in-state rival Arizona, the Sun Devils are winning as a result of one of the best defensive units in the nation.

Arizona State is holding teams to an effective field goal percentage of just 38.9% and giving up just 60.1 points per game. The Sun Devils rank inside the top 10 when it comes to both 2- and 3-point shooting percentages on defense.

They've also been a force in the paint and on the glass. Arizona State ranks 14th in the nation in blocks per game (5.8) while it's also 40th in rebounds per contest.

At the offensive end, Arizona State isn't great, but it's been better than the Mustangs.

One of the most crucial areas for the Sun Devils' offense has been at the free-throw line.

Arizona State ranks in the 93rd percentile among Division I teams when it comes to free-throw attempts per game, averaging 23.2 attempts and 16.2 made free throws per contest. Drawing fouls and getting to the line at a consistent rate will be pivotal against SMU.

Southern Methodist Mustangs

SMU's defense has been solid so far this season, holding opposing teams to just 67.9 points per game and allowing them to shoot 40.8% from the floor.

A good defense doesn't mean much though if you can't put points on the board. The Mustangs come into this game with a negative scoring margin (-0.9) and are putting up an average of just 67 points per contest.

And while they do have two top-25 scorers in the AAC in Zhuric Phelps and Zach Nutall, no other player on the team is averaging more than nine points per game.

When you look at how the Mustangs have shot the ball this season, I struggle to find anywhere on the floor they can find an edge against this lockdown defense of ASU.

SMU ranks outside the top 200 when it comes to 2- and 3-point shooting percentage, as well as free-throw percentage. In terms of effective field goal percentage, it's one of the bottom 50 teams in the country at 45.3%.

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Arizona State vs. SMU Betting Pick

As I mentioned earlier, Arizona State is one of the best teams in the country when it comes to drawing fouls, getting to the free-throw line and making it count when it does.

The Sun Devils get nearly as many points from the free-throw line as they do from beyond the arc — 26.9% of their scoring coming from 3s while 22.6% comes at the line.

There might not be a worse matchup for this SMU team, which currently has three of its five starters averaging 2.4 or more fouls per game.

I don't see SMU finding any success against Arizona State offensively, and even without Marcus Bagley, I think the Sun Devils can get enough done offensively against the Mustangs to cover this spread with ease.

Back the Sun Devils as high as an eight-point favorite in Dallas.

Pick: Arizona State -8 or Better

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