College Basketball Odds, Pick & Preview for SMU vs. Cincinnati (Thursday, Jan. 6)

College Basketball Odds, Pick & Preview for SMU vs. Cincinnati (Thursday, Jan. 6) article feature image

George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kendric Davis.

  • After winning eight straight, SMU is a slight underdog on Wednesday at Cincinnati.
  • The Mustangs have lost nine straight games to the Bearcats, although there's reason to believe that could change tonight.
  • Keg taps into the matchup, delivering his breakdown and betting pick below.

SMU vs. Cincinnati Odds

Thursday, Jan. 6
9:30 p.m. ET
SMU Odds
-110o / -110u
Cincinnati Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The SMU Mustangs will look to turn an eight-game winning streak into nine when they roll into Cincinnati on Thursday night.

The Mustangs have quietly been one of the hottest teams in college basketball, posting impressive wins over Vanderbilt, Dayton and UCF during their streak while beginning ACC play 2-0. It has been an impressive run for SMU, which started the season 3-3, dropping back-to-back games to Missouri and Loyola Marymount.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati is looking to bounce back after dropping a game at home to KenPom's 150th-ranked team in Tulane to kick off conference play. The Bearcats are 10-4 on the season but don't have a win over a team ranked inside KenPom's top 125 since beating a shorthanded Illinois team back in November. Cincinnati has a very strong track record against SMU, though, winning the last nine matchups.

Will SMU keep its streak alive, or will Cincinnati bounce back against a strong opponent and get its first conference win of the season?

Southern Methodist Mustangs

SMU has covered the spread six times during its eight-game winning streak, largely due to its strong offensive output.

The Mustangs offense has been one of the best in every key category — it has a 35th-ranked offensive adjusted efficiency and effective field goal percentage that ranks inside the top 40 at 54.3%.

SMU is hitting 2-point shots at a 53.3% clip, which is 71st in the country, but it has been even better from deep, ranking 37th in the country with a 3-point percentage of 37.1%.

The Mustangs' outstanding offensive performance that averages 78.3 points per game (32nd in the country) has been led by Kendric Davis, The senior guard and team is averaging 21.5 points, 5.4 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game while hitting 48.6% from the field. He isn't the only noteworthy offensive factor for SMU, though, with Marcus Weathers and Emmanuel Bandoumel also averaging double-digit points per game.

Defensively, SMU hasn't displayed the same kind of dominance that Cincinnati has so far this season. The Mustangs are allowing opposing teams to score an average of 68 points per game, but it isn't allowing opponents to shoot at high clips.

The Mustangs' opponents have an effective field goal percentage of just 44.8% while hitting just 44.6% of 2-point shots. Fortunately, Cincinnati has struggled on offense, so it shouldn't take much for the Mustangs to get stops.

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Cincinnati Bearcats

The Bearcats have cooled off considerably since opening their season with a five-game win streak, which included a 20-point blowout win over Illinois as a 9.5-point underdog.

Then, after a two-week layoff, signs of rust were evident as they dropped their first conference game of the season to Tulane. The loss marked the seventh time in Cincinnati's last eight games that they failed to cover the spread.

Offensively, the Bearcats can't seem to get anything going, recording an effective field goal percentage of just 47%. They're one of the worst teams in the country from deep, ranking 330th in all of college basketball in 3-point shooting at a 28.1% clip. From the field, they're shooting 51.5%.

Along with its difficulties in scoring, Cincinnati has also found itself in foul trouble often. The Bearcats rank 222nd in the nation with 17.5 fouls per game, something that should be a major factor against the Mustangs, who are drawing an average 17.9 per contest.

It hasn't been all bad for the Bearcats, who have the 44th-ranked defense, according to KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency.  Just two opposing teams have scored more than 70 points against the Bearcats this season, but both of those opponents handed Cincinnati a loss.

Cincinnati's defense ranks sixth in the country by allowing opponents to shoot just 40.9% from 2-point range this season.

SMU vs. Cincinnati Betting Pick

It's been a long time since SMU beat Cincinnati, nearly a decade, but I think that changes this year. Davis is one of the best players in the country, and the Mustangs are one of the hottest teams in college basketball with no signs of slowing down.

It's also worth noting that Cincinnati is still likely going to take some time to get back to full strength after its COVID-19 pause. Even before that, the Bearcats had some serious issues, covering just once in their last eight games.

SMU opened as a 1.5-point underdog, but I took them to win outright at +105 and would feel confident backing the Mustangs as high as -125

Pick: SMU ML (-125 or better)

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