A top-tier AAC showdown is on the cards when No.19 Southern Methodist Mustangs descend on the Houston Cougars. Fittingly, sportsbook odds tip this game as a pick’em between these in-form conference rivals, but the public is siding with the Cougars for the upset. Does the public have the right side for college football picks?
|SMU Mustangs||pk -110||62 -110o|
|Houston Cougars||pk -110||62 -110u|
Houston has the 21-13-1 record over SMU lifetime, but the Mustangs are riding a two-game winning streak.
And yet, despite the current betting trend and SMU’s Top 25 AP standings, according to the betting online, the Cougars have the public’s backing.
Next game: at Memphis Tigers
SMU is one win away from it’s second 8-0 straight up (SU) in the last three seasons under head coach Sonny Dykes.
The Mustangs extended their hot start with a dominating performance against Tulane in Thursday primetime college football action, beating the Green Wave 55-26.
Tanner Mordecai vs Tulane Highlights pic.twitter.com/QT7YxpLUYY
— bigWRguy (@bigWRguy) October 24, 2021
Quarterback Tanner Mordecai, who is having a banner season, improved his touchdown tally to 29 with three passing touchdowns in SMU’s victory over Tulane. He also enjoyed a career-high 427 yards in passing.
SMU started fast, and before halftime, Dykes’ team had built a 31-7 lead. Running back Tre Siggins, filling in for an injured Ulysses Bentley IV, scrambled for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
Running back Ulysses Bentley IV (undisclosed) is probable. Wide receiver Jordan Kerley (undisclosed) is questionable while running back TJ McDaniel (ankle) is out for the season.
Next game: at South Florida Bulls
The Cougars have reeled off six straight victories since opening the season with a loss to Texas Tech.
Most recently, the Cougars beat East Carolina 31-24, but they failed to come through as the -13½ favorites on closing college football spreads.
The weather was a major player, causing an extended delay that led to the game starting five hours after its original start time and finishing at midnight. The Cougars rallied to knot the game up at 24 apiece before clinching the win in overtime as Alton McCaskill ran 25 yards for a touchdown to lift his side to its sixth-straight win. Quarterback Clayton Tune threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensive lineman Sedrick Williams (ankle) is questionable for Saturday.
Betting on the Game
The stakes are high for both SMU and Houston in this game, hence the tight college football odds currently on offer for this intriguing showdown. Cincinnati currently sits at the top of the ACC standings, and SMU and Houston, respectively, will be keen to keep the pressure up on their rival.
Houston’s six-game winning streak is certainly impressive, especially considering the challenging circumstances they faced in their last outing. However, the quality of Houston’s wins is open to debate. The reality is that the Cougars haven’t beaten a side that’s enjoying a winning season. Instead, they’ve banked on the struggles of their opponents (the six wins have come against teams that combine for a 13-28 record).
Beating SMU would be big Houston, giving the Cougars the kind of credibility they seem to be lacking. However, it’s a big ask. The Mustangs are playing lights out with Mordecai at the helm of the offense, and with big ambitions for the playoffs, Dykes’ side will be focused on winning this game.
Houston’s defense(14th-ranked) strikes an admirable pose, but it’s yet to face quite such a potent offense or a talented gunslinger like Mordecai. Not to mention, one that is playing with the kind of confidence that has him leading the nation with 29 touchdowns. There’s a reason why SMU’s offense ranks No.6 in the country.
The Cougars have home-field advantage, which will be a huge factor. As well, they’re likely keen to prove that they’re legitimate contenders, even though their record doesn’t pass the eye test. As such, it wouldn’t be surprising if they do rise to the occasion as the odds would suggest, and give their ranked rival a run for its money. But SMU to come through in what is likely to be a high-scoring game has a more convincing ring to it