TCU-SMU Betting Guide: Can the Mustangs Look Any Worse?

TCU-SMU Betting Guide: Can the Mustangs Look Any Worse? article feature image

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Derius Davis

TCU-SMU Betting Odds

  • Odds: TCU -22.5
  • Over/Under: 58.5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ESPN2

>> All odds as of 3 p.m. ET on Thursday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.

The Sonny Dykes era in Dallas has picked up right where it left off.

Dykes coached SMU’s bowl game last season, a 51-10 loss to Louisiana Tech, just weeks after taking the job. The Mustangs then turned in one of the worst performances in college football in Week 1 on Saturday, getting outgained by nearly 300 yards in a 46-23 blowout loss to North Texas.

SMU was even worse than the final score indicates, since it scored 23 points in garbage time in the fourth.

TCU cruised to a 55-7 win over Southern in Week 1.

Last year, TCU beat SMU 56-36 in a game with more than 1,000 total yards.

Market Moves

By Danny Donohue

TCU has jumped from -17.5 all the way up to -22.5, passing over the key number of 21. With 76% of bets on the Horned Frogs, though, much of the cause for this move is simply public betting. Smart money is coming in on both sides, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see some SMU buyback if the line were to hit 23.

What sharps are in agreement on, however, is the total. It’s dropped from 64 to 58.5 behind only 28% of bets as smart money is pounding the under. Those 28% of bets account for 44% of dollars wagered on the total, confirming that sharps are behind the line move.

Trends to Know

By Evan Abrams

The over/under for the TCU-SMU game is down to 58.5. In the last decade, when the over/under drops more than a full point for TCU under Gary Patterson, the under is 24-17 (+5.8 units), going under the total by a full field goal per game.

TCU has tilted to the under on the road with Patterson over the last decade, too, going 31-23 (+6.3 units), including 10-3 in the Horned Frogs’ last 13 road games. They’ve gone under the total by 12.1 points per game.

By John Ewing

As favorites of three touchdowns or more, TCU under Patterson is 26-21 (55%) ATS in the regular season since 2005. The Horned Frogs have excelled in this situation on the road, going 10-0 straight-up and 7-3 ATS.

Key Metrics

By Steve Petrella

1. TCU has routinely built excellent defenses under Patterson, with one major flaw — big plays.

Last season, the Horned Frogs were third-worst in the country at preventing explosive plays, per Football Study Hall. They’ve ranked outside the top 100 in each of the last three seasons.

2. SMU ran just 43 plays against North Texas last week, by far the lowest of any FBS team. But its 2.72 plays per minute ranked 21st.

The Mustangs had only two drives of more than three plays before the fourth quarter, and they went for a combined 29 yards.

Situational Angle

By Stuckey

With Ohio State on deck, TCU’s first half line (-13.5) or SMU’s second half line might be worth a look.

It’s possible Patterson pulls his starters and goes vanilla with his schemes sooner than normal if the Horned Frogs have a bigger lead. That way, he won’t give too much away to Urban Meyer and Co.

Bet to Watch

By Ken Barkley

Much will be made of TCU’s game with Ohio State next week in Arlington, and whether that will create a lookahead spot here. But I think there are several factors pointing to TCU as the valuable side (after all, SMU plays Michigan next week in Ann Arbor, not exactly a cupcake).

Although this is not a particularly passionate rivalry game (The Battle for the Iron Skillet), SMU has had a lot of trouble getting fans to its stadium, and with TCU just a 45-minute drive away, I think you could see a lot purple fans in the stands Friday night.

Whatever home-field advantage you give SMU in this spot in your power rating probably needs to be modified or at least reconsidered. There might not be much of one.

The other factor worth considering is the extent to which SMU was even worse than its final score against North Texas indicated last week. I wrote about this in the misleading final scores column as well, but SMU was down 36-0 to North Texas, a team that ranked 100th in S&P+ on defense last year and just 83rd in returning production on that side.

If you include the bowl game shellacking that Dykes’ crew took last season, that’s not a pretty picture being painted thus far in the quest to replace Chad Morris.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t better days ahead, just that there’s very little reason to expect a bounceback effort here with so many adjustments ongoing, especially on offense. I like TCU at the current numbers of 22/22.5.