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Cincinnati Bearcats vs. SMU Mustangs Betting Picks and Predictions

24 October 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Saturday October 24th
Time:9:00 PM ET
Network:ESPN2
Venue:Gerald J. Ford Stadium
Spread:SMU -2.5
O/U:55.5

The 3-0 Cincinnati Bearcats will go on the road Saturday afternoon to face off with the 5-0 SMU Mustangs at 1:00 PM ET in Gerald J. Ford Stadium. The Mustangs come in as three-point home favorites and we’re expecting plenty of points with a 57.5 over/under. Neither of these teams have lost a game to this point and the winner of this one will have their best win to date. Let’s dive into who will win this one and cover the spread. The 3-0 Cincinnati Bearcats will go on the road Saturday afternoon to face off with the 5-0 SMU Mustangs at 1:00 PM ET in Gerald J. Ford Stadium. The Mustangs come in as three-point home favorites and we’re expecting plenty of points with a 57.5 over/under. Neither of these teams have lost a game to this point and the winner of this one will have their best win to date. Let’s dive into who will win this one and cover the spread. 

When The Cincinnati Bearcats Have The Ball

The Bearcats came into the season ranked 13th and have gotten up to as high as 8th with three straight victories to start the year. Their only quality victory has been over Army, and there are still a lot of uncertainties surrounding this Cincy squad. They also haven’t played since October 3rd as their bout against Tulsa was cancelled. The pro to the long layoff is health and the con is rust.

The leader of this team is senior QB Desmond Ridder, who’s been decent this year. He’s thrown for 597 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. The offensive line has struggled to give him much protection and they must step up against an SMU team that can rush the passer. The SMU Mustangs are going to throw the ball for a lot of success, so Ridder will have to step up and deliver the ball downfield with consistency.  

With that being said, this is a team that wants to run the ball as much as possible. Gerrid Doaks has led the way with 42 carries for 145 yards and four touchdowns. He’s spelled by Charles McClelland and Jerome Ford, who’ve combined for 197 yards and two scores. Ridder can run the ball as well and he’s up to 71 yards on the season.

Ridder hasn’t been phenomenal and a lot of it has to do with his inability to find a WR1. There isn’t a single pass-catcher over 10 receptions, but six different guys have been between six and 10 catches. Jayshon Jackson leads the way with 132 yards while RB Doaks has added 130 yards and two catches through the air. Tight end Josh Whyle has caught two touchdowns on just five catches, and he’s a threat to score on any given Red Zone play. 

When The SMU Mustangs Have The Ball

The Mustangs haven’t faced a very tough schedule, but they did face Memphis when they were ranked and can only beat the teams in front of them. QB Shane Buechele has thrown for 1,710 yards and 12 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He’s completing close to 70% of his passes and is a top-10 College Football quarterback. The Mustangs will lean heavily on his right arm in this game and the Cincy defensive line will pin their ears back as they know the plan. 

While the Mustangs can pass the ball with the best of them, the run game has looked great this season and Ulysses Bentley IV is a big reason why. He’s averaging nearly seven yards per carry en route to 506 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s spelled by T.J McDaniel, who’s rushed it for 297 yards and a score of his own. The Mustangs will look to establish the run game and keep it out of the Bearcats hands. 

The Mustangs have lost Reggie Roberson for the rest of the season and he’s a huge loss as a guy that was expected to be a first-day NFL talent. Fortunately, SMU has a ton of weapons and they are all tough to cover one-on-one. Danny Gray is one of the shiftiest players in the country and he’s caught 19 balls for 331 yards and four touchdowns. Rashee Rice is the more conventional option on the outside and he’s caught 24 balls for 411 yards and a score. Tight end Kylen Granson is a beast in the Red Zone and he’s scored twice on 229 and 17 carries. There is no shortage of talent here for Buechele to play with. 

The Bearcats haven’t been necessarily explosive early in the season, but they take good care of the ball and are consistent. The Mustangs must step up and force a couple of turnovers here. Desmond Ridder has been more turnover prone than in years past and if the Mustangs want to win, that must continue. The weapons are there defensively, but SMU has also struggled at times against the run. 

Spread Prediction

It’s very bizarre to see the ninth-ranked team as the underdog, but this SMU team is legitimate and they’re going to give Cincy a run for their money. I expect SMU to win this game as I’ve been far from impressed by the Bearcats to this point. Desmond Ridder is one of the more overrated prospects in College Football and he simply isn’t that good. The Mustangs don’t have to deal with that as Shane Buechele is elite and he’s phenomenal at getting his weapons the ball in space. Give me the Mustangs to win this game comfortably and jump into the top-10. 

The Pick: SMU -2.5

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

I’m not a big fan of the Cincinnati Bearcats offense and the SMU Mustangs have been willing to run the ball more than ever. When they do pass, screens and slants have been the norm with Roberson out of the mix. While both offenses can put up points, neither defense will fall over and let it happen. The intention for both of these teams will be to establish the run game early, and I don’t expect a shootout at any point. The under is a bet I’m comfortable making in this game all the way down to 56. 

The Pick: Under 55.5

Final Score Prediction: SMU 28, Cincy 24

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers
  • Southern Methodist is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games played on a Saturday when playing at home.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Cincinnati’s last 9 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Southern Methodist’s last 6 games played in week 8.

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