SMU at Memphis Odds & Pick: Will Mustangs Finally Be Exposed?
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Sam Westfall
- Memphis and SMU meet on Saturday night in a pivotal AAC game, with the lower-ranked Tigers favored by six points in the latest betting odds.
- See our pick and full analysis for SMU vs. Memphis as an Action Network EDGE member.
SMU at Memphis Odds & Pick
- Spread: Memphis -6
- Over/Under: 71.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
Model Prediction for SMU-Memphis
- Spread: Memphis -1
- Total: 63.2
SMU has been living on borrowed time with its undefeated run, and the line moving from -3 to -6 in Memphis’ favor indicates that.
The Mustangs had a net turnover differential of +5 in single score victories against Houston, Tulsa and TCU. Each one of those opponents outgained SMU in total yards despite not exposing a weakness in explosiveness.
The Mustangs have been known for their explosive passing attack led by Texas transfer Shane Buechele. What has not been exposed is SMU’s penchant for giving up the big play on defense.
The Mustangs have an opponent rush explosiveness rank of 87th and opponent pass explosiveness rank of 66th. Memphis may be the first team on the SMU schedule equipped to expose those statistics. — Collin Wilson
The Reasons to Back SMU
There are a few statistical categories that suggest SMU is a buy at +7. The Mustangs will dominate in the havoc department, with defensive rank of 11th and an offensive allowed rank of 20th.
Memphis has been very poor in ball protection this season, with a rank of 107th in offensive havoc allowed while the defense ranks just 84th in havoc. SMU is going to have room to work on both sides of the ball, and has been the beneficiary of teams not safeguarding the rock.— Collin Wilson
What Our Projections Say
As the point spread goes, I am resigned to watch SMU rise and take a small investment on +7 if I can get it with the missed opportunity to get Memphis -3 on open. Anything over a touchdown will catch my attention.
As for the total, these teams have a combined record of 13-2-1 to the over during the 2019 season.
When will the total be high enough? Our Action Network projection says 63 points, but both teams are outside the top 90 in opponent red zone scoring percentage.
Both offenses have explosive advantages over the opposing defense. The total may be decided by a Memphis rank of 27th in opponent passing success rate, stopping Buechele and the Mustangs air attack. — Collin Wilson
Pick: SMU +7 or better Live, Under 70.5
Stuckey: The Jig Is Up for SMU
Look, as many of you know who listen to our podcast, I’ve touted this SMU squad all season but I think the jig is up this weekend at the Liberty Bowl.
I bet Memphis -3 on the open and would take them anywhere up to -6.
Yes, SMU is the higher ranked team in the traditional polls and undefeated. But take a closer look at its resume. The Mustangs needed an absolute miracle comeback to pull out a 3 OT win against 2-6 Tulsa. They also could’ve easily lost to Houston last week in a game the Cougars finished with 500+ yards and outgained the Mustangs by over 120 yards and a surplus of 1.5 yards per play.
SMU also benefited from three lost fumbles in 3-point win over TCU earlier this season in a game where they were outgained overall and from a net yards per play perspective.
And other than those games that have all went their way, they haven’t really beat anybody of note.
Meanwhile, Memphis has one loss which came in a flukey game against Temple, primarily as a result of a turnover filled first quarter in Philadelphia. Memphis came up two points short in a game it averaged 1 yard per play more than the Owls.
This could easily be an undefeated top 15 Memphis team hosting a 2 or 3 loss unranked SMU team if a few balls bounced differently over the first two months of the season.
Just take a look at the yards per play summary so far this season for these two teams:
- SMU: 6.0 yards per play (52nd) and 5.2 yards per play allowed (47th)
- Memphis 7.2 yards per play (5th) and 5.1 yards per play allowed (33rd)
From a net yards perspective, Memphis sits at +2.1 compared to 0.8 for SMU. And they’ve had fairly similar strengths of schedule overall.
This Memphis team is a legit top 20 team nationally with an absolutely explosive offense. I have their offense and defense rated superior to SMU’s. And on top of that, Memphis has one of the best special teams units in all of college football while SMU is just horrid in that area. For reference, per SP+, Memphis has the sixth-best special teams unit in the land while SMU comes in at No. 111.
The Mustangs have missed three field goals and five extra points this season. They’ve also been much worse when it comes to punting; SMU ranks 88th in net punting to Memphis’ 15th.
Lastly, I didn’t even mention that SMU could (nothing is confirmed) be without star wide receiver Reggie Roberson, who left last game with an injury and was seen on crutches afterward. Roberson is one of the most explosive receivers in the country (top 10 in receiving yards) and an important piece of the return game for Sonny Dykes.
He and James Proche make up one of the most dynamic receiving duos in FBS and his absence will make it much easier for Memphis to focus on Proche. — Stuckey
Stuckey: Memphis -6 or better [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]