SMU vs. Memphis College Football Picks for Week 10
SMU Mustangs vs. Memphis Tigers, Saturday November 2, 7:30 p.m. ET
This is the second time this year that we have previewed a game of the SMU Mustangs. The second time in three weeks, even. And also the second time ever. There must really be something going on in Dallas. And there is. The Mustangs are 8-0 and ranked in the Top 15 in both polls. There is a big-time bowl berth on the line for the top mid-major team, and SMU controls their own destiny in the pursuit of it. But nothing will come easily. This week they host one of the other two ranked teams in what has been an incredibly tough AAC conference this year. Memphis is just one narrow loss to Temple away from being unbeaten as well, and they are favored in this one . This game is absolutely huge, and it is all but certain to be highly entertaining as well.
Before we get to the game, just a brief word or three about the AAC. SMU is unbeaten and impressive. Memphis is hot on their heels and would control the division with a win here. Navy's lone loss has come to Memphis, so they need SMU to win here - and if they do then they would control their own destiny if they beat the Mustangs. In the other division, Cincinnati has just one loss and looks great when they aren't playing Ohio State. And though UCF has disappointed relative to expectations, they still have only one conference loss and are right in the middle of things, too. It has shaped up as the tightest and most interesting conference race out there.
SMU at Memphis Betting Storylines
The Mustangs have had a fairly specific approach to their success. They have an offense that is 10th nationally in total yards and sixth in points scored. Their defense is pretty average in general, and really rough against the pass, so it comes down to the offense to lead the way. And it has been a balanced offensive attack, with a very solid passing game backed up by a very useful rushing attack. That offense comes into this game dealing with a setback. Top receiver Reggie Roberson Jr. was wearing a walking boot after the last game against Houston, and his status is unclear. The team is being very evasive when talking about his status, and that is almost never a good thing. Roberson accounts for more than a third of QB Shane Buechele's total passing yardage so far this year, so if he is unable to go then that could be a real setback. Memphis has a Top 25 passing defense, so SMU is facing a challenge here. James Proche, a senior, is the leading receiver for SMU in terms of number of catches. Without Roberson, Proche will carry more of the burden, and that will make the SMU attack more predictable.
Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell has been a one-man wrecking crew lately. He has run for at least 100 yards six games in a row, including 209 against Louisiana-Monroe. But he isn't just a runner. Two games back against Tulane, he became the first player since 1997 to run for 100 and have more than 200 receiving yards in a game. He has scored in seven straight games and leads the FBS in yards from scrimmage. SMU will absolutely have to find a way to contain him. SMU has been solid enough against the run - top 25 nationally - but their passing defense is a mess. They rank just 112th nationally. SMU needs to contain him on the ground or they will potentially be in trouble in a shootout in which they don't have their biggest offensive weapon.
SMU at Memphis Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Memphis favored by a field goal, and that margin has now doubled - the Tigers are now widely available as six-point favorites. Action has been fairly balanced between the two teams, with only a very small edge going to Memphis. The line movement, then, suggests that sharp money has been tilted heavily to the home team. The total opened sky high at 70 and has climbed even further to 71.5.
The Mustangs are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games overall and 5-1 ATS in their last six against teams with winning records, but just 2-5 ATS in their last seven conference games and 1-6 ATS in their last seven in November. The Tigers are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 home games and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 conference games.
SMU at Memphis Predictions and Picks
It's a tough game to call. I like a lot of what SMU has done, and Buechele is playing great. But the line movement is really striking, and Memphis has been really potent at home. It's going to be a battle, but the Roberson injury is a concern, and Memphis has the edge at home in front of what should be a strong crowd. Memphis is the pick.
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