College Football Odds, Pick for SMU vs Memphis: Value on Tigers
Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Memphis’ Seth Henigan.
SMU vs Memphis Odds
Spots in the American Athletic Conference Championship game hang in the balance over the next two weeks, as Memphis and SMU look to deliver a knockout punch.
Both teams have been on a heater, weathering the storm in conference play.
SMU rides into the Liberty Bowl on a six-game winning streak, undefeated in the conference after winning nearly every conference game by in a blowout.
Head coach Rhett Lashlee will be one of the hottest names on the coaching market, as a win on the road would all but cement the Mustangs' place in the conference title game.
Memphis has a single loss in conference play, a Week 7 defeat to a Tulane team that remains undefeated in the AAC standings. Because the Tigers will not play UTSA, this game is a must-win for head coach Ryan Silverfield if he wants to play in his first conference title game since his inaugural year in 2020.
Silverfield and Lashlee last met as head coaches in a regular-season finale in 2022 with SMU emerging as the victors.
Let's dive into the college football odds for SMU vs. Memphis and find a betting pick for Saturday, Nov. 18.
With quarterback Preston Stone originally being questionable for the North Texas game last week, SMU blasted the Mean Green on a Friday night to stay undefeated in the conference.
Stone threw for two touchdowns and 234 yards, but the game belonged to the backfield duo of Jaylan Knighton and LJ Johnson Jr. The pair combined for 235 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
— The American (@American_Conf) November 11, 2023
The offense begins with a ground game that's top-20 in Success Rate and Stuff Rate. The offensive line has been one of the best in college football, ranking sixth in FBS in percentage of runs that get hit at the line of scrimmage.
Nearly every carry comes with inside and outside zone blocking, and both rank above the national average in Success Rate.
Stone has contributed on the ground, but his best asset is in the passing game, where he has 23 big-time throws to 10 turnover-worthy plays.
Stone has displayed a higher tendency for success and explosives against 1uarters coverage.
The nickel defense of coordinator Scott Symons is top-10 in terms of Success Rate, pass rush, Quality Drives and limiting expected points.
A low rate of blitz comes with a shallow two- and three-man front, protecting against explosives while obtaining the top overall rank in Passing Downs Success Rate.
SMU often lines up in Cover 3 and has had plenty of success defending inside and outside zone.
The health of Memphis quarterback Seth Henigan was a significant factor leading up to the Week 11 contest against Charlotte. The junior did play, throwing for 329 yards and recording three big-time throws.
Henigan has heated up down the stretch with a 9:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio behind an offensive line that's top-10 in pass blocking.
Memphis has one of the highest ranks in standard downs explosives with the ability to put plenty of quick-strike scores on opponents thanks to Henigan's passing and Blake Watson's rushing.
— Memphis Football (@MemphisFB) November 12, 2023
However, the consistent slide of the defense put Memphis in an overtime battle with Charlotte. The 49ers rushed with a 65% Success Rate and averaged nearly a full yard more per play than the Tigers in Week 11.
Memphis' 3-3-5 personnel has fallen to a rank of 114th in explosives allowed in standard downs and sits 130th in tackle grading, per PFF.
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how SMU and Memphis match up statistically:
SMU Offense vs. Memphis Defense
Memphis Offense vs. SMU Defense
Pace of Play / Other
|Special Teams SP+||103||78|
|Seconds per Play||24.6 (24)||26.2 (52)|
|Rush Rate||54.9% (48)||48.2% (102)|
SMU vs Memphis
Betting Pick & Prediction
There are plenty of advantages for SMU's offense against a lackluster Memphis defense.
The Mustangs live in inside and outside zone to start their drives and will now face a Tigers team that ranks 84th in Defensive Rushing Success Rate with a massive drop in efficiency against zone runs.
SMU is not only top-10 in Quality Drives, but a severe mismatch exists when the Mustangs enter scoring position. Memphis allows 4.1 points to opponent drives that cross the 40-yard line, indicating that the Tigers need to make this a high-scoring affair if they want to cover.
Stone sits above the national average in Success Rate and explosives when facing quarters coverage, a package Memphis runs in the secondary in an equal split with Cover 1.
Will Memphis' offense continue to implement a quick-strike mentality against SMU's defense?
The Mustangs have just as many problems stopping explosives in standard downs on the defense, similar to Memphis. The Tigers are a top-25 explosive unit in early downs and own a rank of seventh in Success Rate when they pass on first down.
Both Henigan and Watson are expected to move the chains and pin SMU's defense in scoring position. The Mustangs' stop unit has had its own struggles in keeping opponents out of the end zone, ranking 62nd in Defensive Finishing Drives because it allows 3.7 points per opponent drive past the 40-yard line.
Action Network projects the total at 64, close to the current market offering. We also project the spread at SMU -6.5, giving value to a Memphis team that will have many advantages on early downs.
Take the Tigers over a touchdown, as Memphis will piece together enough explosives to cover a game that will ultimately send a team to the conference championship
Pick: Memphis +8 or Better
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