College Football Predictions and Picks: TCU vs. SMU Betting Odds
by Aaron Smith - 9/24/2010
ESPN will be in Dallas on Friday night for the Battle of the Iron Skillet between the TCU Horned Frogs and the SMU Mustangs. A few years ago this rivalry didn’t mean much to anyone outside of the Lone Star State, but it definitely does now. TCU is ranked No. 5 in the nation, and SMU is improving in a big way under former Hawaii Coach June Jones. SMU actually led the Horned Frogs, 14-12, shortly after halftime in their meeting last year before TCU pulled away and won, 39-14. Expect the Mustangs to be fired up for this one. They know this is their best chance of the season to have a huge statement win.
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College Football Predictions: The Offenses
The TCU Horned Frogs are led by their sensational senior quarterback Andy Dalton. Dalton has completed 74.6 percent of his passes for 634 passing yards this year, and he also has 113 rushing yards. Dalton is a great decision maker and is the epitome of a team leader. Ed Wesley is a weapon at the running back spot for TCU. He is averaging 8.2 yards per carry so far this season. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley is the most explosive player on the team. Kerley is one of the best kick returners in the country, and TCU is trying to incorporate him more into the offense.
The SMU Mustangs offense is bolstered by a terrific offensive line. The line is great in pass blocking, and quarterback Kyle Padron is able to succeed because of their hard work. Padron is just a sophomore, but he has done a terrific job getting acclimated to the system Jones likes to run. After a poor game to start the season at Texas Tech, Padron has bounced back with two solid efforts against UAB and Washington State. The Mustangs lack a real running game, but Padron can scramble well and this offense thrives on quick passes.
College Football Predictions: The Defenses
The TCU defense has been outstanding every single year of late. They did lose some key contributors from last year, but they still have some amazing talent on this unit. The defensive line is anchored by two great defensive tackles in Kelly Griffin and Cory Grant. Tank Carder gets around the field and disrupts everything from his linebacker spot. Patterson and the coaching staff realize the one weakness they may have is at the cornerback spot, but their 4-2-5 defense allows them to play three safeties. The safeties are all solid veterans who help cover the mistakes the inexperienced corners make from time to time.
The SMU defense is bolstered by a line that can pressure the quarterback. Taylor Thompson and Marcus Frazier are the stars here, but the defensive line is very deep. SMU has been terrific at stopping the run this year, allowing just 82 yards per game on the ground. The secondary is the weakness for this unit, and they have had some serious trouble stopping teams with an impressive aerial attack. They’ll definitely need the defensive line to get to Dalton in this matchup to take some pressure off the secondary.
TCU vs. SMU Betting Odds and Line Movement
TCU opened as 17.5-point favorites in this rivalry game, according to college football odds, and there has been very little movement. The line is starting to creep up, as several books now have the game at TCU -18. The public is pounding TCU in this one, so this number may move some more. The posted total opened at 52, but it has jumped up to 55.5 at most sportsbooks as the money continues to come in on the ‘over’.
TCU vs. SMU Betting Trends
TCU is 5-1 ATS in their last six road games. The Horned Frogs are also 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall. SMU is 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games against a team with a winning record. The ‘under’ is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings between these two schools.
College Football Predictions: TCU vs. SMU Betting Picks
This game will be a real measuring stick for SMU. June Jones has orchestrated a terrific turnaround, but I still don’t believe this team has nearly enough talent to hang with TCU. I like the Horned Frogs to cover the spread in this one.
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