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Memphis Tigers (25) vs. SMU Mustangs Betting Picks and Predictions

03 October 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Saturday, October 3rd
Time:3:30 PM ET
Venue:Gerald J. Ford Stadium
Network:ESPN2
Spread:Memphis -2.5
O/U:74.5

The 1-0 Memphis Tigers will go on the road Saturday afternoon to face off with the 3-0 SMU Mustangs at 3:30 PM ET in Gerald J. Ford Stadium. You can watch the game on ESPN2, and you’ll certainly want to tune in. This is going to be one of the more entertaining games of the week and if you’re a fan of offense, tune in. The 25th-ranked Tigers are slight favorites and we’re looking at an incredibly high 74.5 over/under. Let’s dive into how this one will go down and who will cover the spread. 

When the Memphis Tigers Have The Ball

We’re four weeks into the College Football season and the Memphis Tigers have played just one game. They’re 1-0 after beating the Arkansas State Red Wolves 37-24. The Red Wolves aren’t a very notable team, but they have a lethal offense and I like how Memphis looked against them. The defense struggled, however, and they’ll have a much tougher time against an SMU offense that can put up 50+ points. 

QB Brady White threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns while throwing just one pick. He spread the ball out to seven different receivers, but it was TE Sean Dykes (10 Rec, 137 Yds, 2 TD) and WR Damonte Coxie (8 Rec, 90 Yds, TD) that did the majority of the damage. You’ll find both of them playing in the NFL after next season. They’re complimented on the outside by Danny Gray, who’s already reeled in two touchdowns on top of 156 yards in just two games.

After Patrick Taylor Jr. graduated, Rodrigues Clark and Kylan Watkins have stepped in beautifully as one of the more lethal running back duos in the country. Clark led the way in game one with 105 yards and a TD on 20 carries while Watkins added just over 50 yards of his own. White contributed on the ground as well with 6 carries for 39 yards. The majority of his damage on the ground came in crucial spots where he was looking for the sticks. 

The Memphis Tigers have a ton of potential if their defense can step up. The offense is lethal and they’re going to put up points on any defense. Let alone a cupcake SMU one. The question is whether or not they can slow down an SMU offense that might be more dangerous than they are. It will be a fun one to watch. 

When The SMU Mustangs Have The Ball

The Mustangs have started the season on fire, albeit against lower-level teams. QB Shane Buechele has started right where he left off and has thrown for 852 yards and seven touchdowns with just two interceptions. He’s one of the best pure passers in the country and consistently looks to get the ball down the field. He can also dink and dunk, which makes it tough for secondaries to pin down where the ball is headed.

Leading receiver and all-conference standout James Proche has graduated, but this WR corps has filled his vacancy gracefully. Reggie Roberson Jr. is just as good and he’s caught 17 balls for 231 yards and three touchdowns already. Rasheed Rice has stepped into the WR2 role and has dominated early with 13 catches for 280 yards. Kyren Granson is also one of the best tight ends in the country and a constant threat to score when in the Red Zone. He has two touchdowns to start the season. 

At running back, it’s a shared backfield between Ulysses Bentley IV and TJ McDaniel. Bentley has been the more productive back early with a ridiculous 10.6 YPC. The monster has seven touchdowns and 380 yards on just 36 rushes. Yikes. McDaniel has been impressive in his own right with 293 yards and a touchdown while averaging 5.0 YPC. This is a dangerous backfield on top of a passing game that can go for 400+ routinely. 

This game is going to be back and forth and it will likely come down to which QB can take better care of the ball. Neither defense is elite, but they are both extremely aggressive and look to force turnovers. The winner of this game will come down to which defense can put their offense in better situations. Neither offense will disappoint. 

Spread Prediction

If you want to watch an entertaining game, turn on  ESPN2 at 3:30 PM ET on Saturday. These two offensive powerhouses are filled with elite CFB talent and it’ll be on full display here. The spread is basically a pick ‘em, so we’re just trying to figure out who will win this one. 

I love the SMU Mustangs in this game as the more polished and experienced offense and defense. The Memphis Tigers struggled with Arkansas State in week one and the defense was extremely worrisome. The Mustangs can not only throw the ball but run it with the best of them as well. I expect the Mustangs to jump into the top-25 after they upset the Tigers at home. If you wait, you should be able to get a full field goal on your side here.

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

This number is incredibly high for a reason. Both of these potent offenses play incredibly fast and there isn’t much parody to either system. Both QB’s have experience in the system and they won’t have any problem putting numbers on the board. There are four receivers in this game that will be drafted for future Sundays and I wouldn’t be surprised to see close to 1000 total passing yards. 

I’m a big fan of the over here as I fully expect both teams to get into the 40’s. That might seem crazy with two defenses that tried to get better in the offseason, but it doesn’t matter with these two signal-callers. Both have thrown six touchdowns multiple times in their career and there was a game between these two teams just two seasons ago that approached 100 total points. Give me the over all day here in one of the better games of the weekend. 

The Pick: Over 74.5

Final Score Prediction: SMU 45, Memphis 42

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

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