College Football Odds, Picks & Predictions: Texas State vs. SMU Betting Preview (Saturday, Sept. 5)
Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony D. Taylor (25) and Aaron Brewer (55).
- SMU is a huge favorite over Texas State on Saturday, with the total approaching 70.
- Brad Cunningham's model thinks the point spread is far too high, and is taking the Bobcats as a result.
- Get his full breakdown and model picks for Texas State vs. SMU below.
Texas State vs. SMU Odds
|Texas State Odds||+23 [BET NOW]|
|SMU Odds||-23 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+875/-1667 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||69.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET|
The Mustangs head down the road to San Marcos to open up their season against Texas State. These two teams met last season in Dallas with SMU pasting the Bobcats 47-17 and out-gaining them 639 to 294 in total yards. SMU is poised to contend for the AAC title this season, while Texas State will likely finished towards the bottom of the Sun Belt.
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The Mustangs’ 2019 season was arguably their best since the Pony Express days. They bring back 75% of their offensive production from last season, including quarterback Shane Buechele, who threw for close to 4,000 yards and 34 touchdowns.
SMU also returns most of its receiving corps, so Buechele will have plenty of offensive weapons to bolster the offense’s passing attack. The Mustangs’ efficient pass offense ranked 52nd in Passing Success and 53rd in Passing Explosiveness last season.
However, Buechele will still have to deal with an inexperienced backfield. The Mustangs lost their top two backs to graduation: Xavier Jones and Ke’Mon Freeman. SMU should have no trouble moving the ball against Texas State’s defense, but the Mustangs can’t become one dimensional on offense if they want to contend for the AAC title.
SMU’s defense is projected to be really good again this year. The Mustangs led the nation in sacks in 2019, and their defensive line projects to be even better this season. They ranked 31st in Rushing Success allowed last year and return their top two defensive ends.
The Mustangs’ depth will be tested as they had to replace a number of positions on their front-seven, so SMU cannot afford to have any injuries against Texas State. The secondary is their most experienced unit on defense, but it got ripped to shreds over the final five games of the 2019, allowing 9.58 yards per attempt.
The Mustangs defense was exposed over that five-game stretch, allowing 6.55 yards per play against the hardest part of their schedule. Although Texas State’s offense is really raw, the Bobcats should be able to have some success moving the ball.
2019 was a transition year for Texas State under first-year head coach Jake Spavital. Spavital implemented a fast-paced offense that was effective at times but lacked any sort of a running game.
The Bobcats will have a new quarterback in Memphis transfer Brady McBride, who according to reports fits Spivatal’s system really well. Texas State went through some growing pains with a young wide receiver corps. However, all of them are back in 2020, so the Bobcats should improve its passing success, which ranked 106th in the nation last year.
With a new quarterback and young receivers, the Bobcats are pretty raw right now on offense. But, I think they should still be able to throw the ball with some success against SMU’s secondary.
The Bobcats return only 34% of their defense last season, so there will be some growing pains, especially up front. Texas State was terrible against the run last season, ranking 128th in rushing success against. They lost a number of key guys up front as well, so their rushing defense isn’t likely to get better.
However, Texas State was pretty good against the pass, ranking second in the Sun Belt and 58th in country in passing success allowed. The Bobcats retain one of their two starting corners and will have to rely on a couple of transfers at the safety positions, but it shouldn’t be a steep drop-off.
Projections and Pick
SMU will be able to throw the ball all over the yard on Saturday, but the Mustangs’ issues in the secondary give me some pause. Texas State should be able to find some success through the air against the Mustangs’ coverage unit, enabling them to stay within striking distance of the +22 spread all game long.
Since I have the projected spread at Texas State +14.65, I think there is solid value in taking the Bobcats at +23 on Saturday afternoon.
Pick: Texas State +23