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TCU vs. SMU Odds & Picks: Who Will Win Iron Skillet? (Sept. 24)

TCU vs. SMU Odds & Picks: Who Will Win Iron Skillet? (Sept. 24) article feature image
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Tom Pennington/Getty Images. Pictured: TCU quarterback Max Duggan.

  • The TCU Horned Frogs take on the SMU Mustangs in a rivalry game with the Iron Skillet on the line.
  • Former SMU head coach Sonny Dykes now serves in the same role at TCU, adding an extra motivation factor for this matchup.
  • Check out Mike McNamara's full betting guide and top pick for TCU vs. SMU below.

TCU vs. SMU Odds

Saturday, Sept 24
12 p.m. ET
ESPNU
TCU Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-2.5
-110
71.5
-110o / -110u
-135
SMU Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+2.5
-110
71.5
-110o / -110u
+110
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

There has always been some bad blood in the Iron Skillet game given the close proximity between TCU and SMU. This year, it goes up another level given Sonny Dykes’ move to Fort Worth in the offseason.

Dykes will head back to Dallas to take on his former team in what is one of the more intriguing storylines of the Week 4 slate.

TCU holds the all-time series lead at 51-42-7, but the Mustangs have gotten the best of the Horned Frogs in recent meetings.

SMU will certainly be fired up to go out and beat its former coach. The Horned Frogs should have plenty of motivation as well, having lost to their crosstown rival two years in a row.

Who has the edge in this early kick at Gerald J. Ford Stadium? Let’s find out.


TCU Horned Frogs

It’s hard to fully know exactly where TCU is at this point in the season.

The Frogs have only played twice, one of which was a road blowout of arguably the worst Power Five team in America in Colorado. Then it was FCS foe Tarleton State, as the Frogs got whatever they wanted on both sides of the ball.

Dykes appears to have injected a buzz into a program that had gone a bit stale in the final years of Gary Patterson’s legendary run. Saturday will be a step up in weight class and should let us know where exactly this team is at.

Max Duggan and Chandler Morris battled it out all offseason for the starting quarterback job. When Morris went down with a sprained knee, Duggan took over, and the veteran has looked the part thus far.

It will be Duggan again under center against SMU, and he will have plenty of motivation to avenge two straight losses to the Ponies.

TCU’s defense has looked much improved with former Tulsa defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie taking over in 2022. However, the competition hasn’t been very steep. SMU boasts more of an Air Raid attack, so the secondary will be tested for real for the first time on Saturday.

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Southern Methodist Mustangs

SMU was a couple of plays away from being 3-0 entering this matchup, but the Mustangs couldn’t pull out a back-and-forth game at Maryland last week.

Rhett Lashlee has taken over as the new head coach after serving as Dykes’ offensive coordinator in Dallas from 2018-19. There’s plenty of continuity within the offense with Oklahoma transfer Tanner Mordecai returning for his second season under center.

Mordecai was a fabulous fit for SMU out of the transfer portal, and the senior threw for 39 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions a season ago. This year, he has picked up where he left off, already throwing for over 1,000 yards and 10 scores.

SMU has had a nice balance offensively to begin the year, and running back Tre Siggers found some success on the ground against Maryland.

The Pony defense will be tested against what should be an explosive TCU offense all season. SMU is outside the top 65 in both Defensive Rush Success and Line Yards, and this should be cause for concern against a physical TCU offensive line.

Maryland running back Roman Hemby averaged over nine yards a carry last week against the Mustangs, and then Taulia Tagovailoa hit some big plays through the air using play action.

If SMU is going to beat TCU for a third consecutive season, this group will need to play much better against the run.


TCU vs. SMU Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how TCU and SMU match up statistically:

TCU Offense vs. SMU Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 48 69
Line Yards 78 79
Pass Success 35 34
Pass Blocking** 39 99
Havoc 2 79
Finishing Drives 34 52
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

SMU Offense vs. TCU Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 53 89
Line Yards 15 66
Pass Success 50 46
Pass Blocking** 15 68
Havoc 45 36
Finishing Drives 61 72
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 42 57
PFF Coverage 46 34
SP+ Special Teams 45 20
Seconds per Play 29.7 (117) 19.7 (3)
Rush Rate 54.0% (64) 45.6% (105)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

TCU vs. SMU Pick

Duggan has stuck with the TCU program through all kinds of hardship throughout his time in Fort Worth. I think that experience proves to be the difference in what should be a back-and-forth contest between two similarly matched teams.

Duggan and the Frogs offense should be able to move it down the field regularly, and I’ve got a bit more faith in the TCU defense being able to come up with some timely stops.

SMU has been poor against the run, and both TCU RBs in Kendre Miller and Emari Demercado can make opponents pay in open space.

This series has been known to produce some wild finishes over the years, so I’m not messing around with the point spread. Instead, I’ll back the Frogs on the moneyline. TCU is the better unit on both sides of the ball and will find a way to get it done.

Dykes will remain unpopular to the SMU faithful come Saturday afternoon.

Pick: TCU ML -125 (Play to -140)

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