College Football Betting – It’s a Showdown in the AAC

SMU Mustangs vs. Memphis Tigers College Football Betting Odds and Picks

The way college football is structured at the Division I (FBS) level, there are the “Power 5” conferences (SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big 12, Big 10) and then there is the “Group of 5.” This group includes the American Athletic Conference. And when two teams from one of these conferences is nationally-ranked, it is rare. So the showdown on Saturday night between the undefeated SMU Mustangs and the once-defeated Memphis Tigers is unusual and special.

It will take place at 7:30 PM ET at the Liberty Bowl Stadium in Memphis, televised by ABC. BetAnySports customers can watch the game and place wagers in real time. They do this by accessing what is available through Live Betting Ultra.

Where they stand

SMU is ranked 15th in the nation by the Associated Press and 14th in the Coaches’ poll. Memphis is 24th with the AP and 23rd with the coaches.

The highest-ranking team from the Group of 5 conferences will be invited to a “New Year’s Six” bowl game. In this particular instance, that is the Cotton Bowl. And it’s going to be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, which is home to the Dallas Cowboys. So if SMU gets into that bowl, they’ll be able to play it in front of a home audience.

About the Mustangs

SMU is coming off a close call – a 34-31 victory over Houston. But the same can be said about Memphis, which needed for Tulsa to miss a 29-yard field goal at the end to escape with a 42-41 win.

Sonny Dykes is in his second season at the school, and in his coaching career he has become known as a disciple of the “Air Raid” attack, which is a wide-open aerial circus. But Dykes has done something different here. Instead of almost exclusively running the football, he has introduced more of a ground game into the attack.

This was so the Mustangs might work more play-action into the offensive mix. And the unit’s coordinator, Rhett Lashlee, has been largely responsible for it.

Not only has running back Xavier Jones (884 yards, 14 TD’s) been a major force, but the play-action has worked for the quarterback. And that QB is Shane Buechele, a Texas transfer and son of a former MLB player. He has thrown for 20 touchdowns and revived his pro prospects a great deal. And what’s unusual is that even as a graduate transfer, he has another year of eligibility left after this one.

Here are the numbers……

In the college football betting odds, Memphis is favored at home:

SMU Mustangs vs. Memphis Tigers Betting Odds

Team SP/RL TOTAL ML
SMU +5½ (-110) 71½ (-110)  +173
Memphis -5½ (-110) 71½ (-110) -205
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About the Tigers

They should be able to move the ball. Memphis has Brady White, who is currently fifth in the nation’s passing efficiency rankings. And like Buechele, he gets a lot of support from his top running back. In his case, it’s Kenny Gainwell, who has 979 yards on the ground.

The problem with Memphis is that they have a hard time stopping anybody. They allowed 584 yards to Tulsa, and obviously that missed field goal was the difference between them being in the national rankings and not being there.

At the same time, they are just a couple of points away from being undefeated. Their only loss came by a 30-28 score to a capable but inconsistent Temple squad.

The injury angle

The likelihood is that SMU will be without the services of Reggie Roberson, an electric wide receiver who has averaged 18.7 yards per catch. He left the Houston game with a foot injury. And without him, the Mustangs’ offense obviously loses a major component.

The revenge angle

Memphis has won the last five meetings between these teams. In last year’s game, the Tigers held SMU to just 25 rushing yards in a 28-18 win. SMU’s season-ending losses to Memphis and Tulsa cost them a trip to a bowl game.

In conclusion……

With the emerging ground game at SMU, the absence of Roberson means less than it might have meant last year. And since Dykes’ offense is built around concepts, there is a certain “plug and play” aspect to what they are doing. In a game between teams that have permissive defense, a real “X” factor here is SMU’s ability to rush the passer. They have 36 sacks, second most in the nation, and that is one of the reasons we are willing to take the points.

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