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SMU Mustangs (19) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Betting Picks and Predictions

14 November 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Saturday, November 14th
Time:7:00 PM ET
Network:ESPN2
Venue:H.A. Chapman Stadium
Spread:Tulsa -1
O/U:64.5

The 7-1 SMU Mustangs will go on the road Saturday night to face off with the 3-1 Tulsa Golden Hurricane at 7:00 PM ET in H.A. Chapman Stadium. You can watch the game on ESPN2. The Golden Hurricane opened as three-point home favorites and have been bet down to single-point favorites, making this spread basically a pick-em. The Golden Hurricane are actually ahead of the Mustangs in the conference standings, despite playing significantly fewer games. This game will decide a ton, so let’s dive in and breakdown how it will go down and who will cover the spread. Make sure to check out my other CFB Picks and Predictions for this packed weekend slate of games.

Trends

  • SMU is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against Tulsa.
  • Tulsa is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 8 of Southern Methodist’s last 12 games played in November.
  • The total has gone OVER in 6 of Tulsa’s last 9 games played in November.

When The SMU Mustangs Have The Ball

The 19th-ranked SMU Mustangs have taken care of business in all but one of their games, though it’s hard to forget the thrashing they took from Cincy. It was an off-game in just about every aspect and the Mustangs are still looking to heal their reputation. A win here would certainly help as the hype on Tulsa is high and for good reason. They’re an all-around talented team and are well-coached on both sides of the football. SMU must show up early offensively as they aren’t comfortable coming from behind.

This is an offense that aired it out in 2019, and while they are still capable of throwing it, they’ve rushed it nearly 60% of the time this season. It’s a three-headed backfield that starts with Ulysses Bentley IV. He’s carried it 132 times for 774 yards and 10 touchdowns. Tj McDaniel and Tyler Lavine have each complimented with five yards per carry on 49 and 60 rushes. Bentley is a factor in the passing game as well with 16 catches for 128 yards.

While the Mustangs like to run the ball, they are still lethal through the air. Senior QB Shane Buechele leads the way and he’s thrown for 2,581 yards with 20 touchdowns and three interceptions. With Reggie Roberson Jr. out for the season, WR Rashee Rice and TE Kylen Granson have risen to the top. Rice has caught 39 balls for 580 yards and five scores with Granson hauling in 30 balls for 485 yards and three scores. Danny Gray has caught 25 balls and is one of the fastest players in the entire country. He’s a threat to take it to the house on any given touch. The Mustangs offensive line must protect Buechele and give him enough time to get the ball out.

When The Tulsa Golden Hurricane Have The Ball

The Golden Hurricane have only played four games to this point with three others postponed. They opened the season with a loss to Oklahoma State before upsetting UCF and taking care of business against USF and East Carolina. The Golden Hurricane offense is averaging 401 yards and 30 points per game. The defense has been up and down, but they’ve held two of their four opponents under 17 points. They’re slight favorites to win this game, but they’ll have to play close to perfectly to do so. 

QB Zach Smith has gotten away with lackluster play to this point, completing just 59% of his passes for 924 yards, seven touchdowns, and five interceptions. Smith has to be far better in this game as the Mustangs are going to have success through the air. We’ve seen it in the past out of Smith and I believe he will go for 300+ in this contest. The Mustangs have struggled defensively and especially against the pass. 

The offense is led by the running game as Tulsa rushes it close to 63% of the time. It’s a split backfield with Demeric Prince (279 yards, 2 TD) and T.K. Wilkerson (197 yards, 3 TD) both getting substantial carries. Corey Taylor II has picked up 25 carries and he’s always a threat when healthy. This offensive line is built to block for the rush and you can always count on this team to run it at least 20 times. 

While well balanced, the offense hasn’t been explosive yet, which seems like a good thing as they will be especially hard to beat once that rhythm is found. Keylon Stokes is a monster from the slot and he leads the team with 20 catches for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Josh Johnson isn’t far behind with 212 yards and two scores of his own. Sam Crawford Jr. and JuanCarlos Santana start opposite the pair and are big pieces of the offense in their own right. This Tulsa team is dangerous and they’re not favored by accident. 

Spread Prediction

The Golden Hurricane are the better overall team in this matchup and they get the crucial home-field advantage. The Mustangs haven’t really been tested outside of the game against Cincy which was a huge disappointment. Tulsa played both of their ranked opponents tough and beat the Central Florida Knights. They’ve since gotten better in every single game and it’s only a matter of time until Zach Smith puts it together at QB. When that happens, this Tulsa team is an extremely dangerous one and they’re going to give Cincy a tough test later this year.

I expect Tulsa to come out running it a ton. SMU has struggled defensively and they’ve gotten away with playing bad offenses. The Golden Hurricane aren’t that and they will make SMU pay off if they overcommit to either the run or pass. The Mustangs are also a different team with Reggie Roberson on the field and they’ve tried to stretch the field far less times with him out for the season. Tulsa is strong defensively and they won’t give an inch easily. I’ll take the Golden Hurricane to win a close game, though I don’t mind the alternate spread up to six and a half points. I project Tulsa to take care of business for their fourth consecutive week. 

The Pick: Tulsa -1

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

The high total is for good reason as both of these offenses can put up points in a hurry. With that being said, both of these offenses also like to run the ball. Ulysses Bentley, Demeric Prince, and T.K. Wilkerson are going to be the three busiest players in this game and both teams have a similar goal. To establish the run early and slowly open the playbook up as the game progresses. This is a tough number, but I like the under to hit as both teams look to control the pace with their running games.

The Pick: Under 64.5

Final Score Prediction: Tulsa 31, SMU 28

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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