The Cincinnati Bearcats have been winning against the teams in the bottom half of the American Athletic Conference standings but this will be a much tougher task when they face the Southern Methodist Mustangs.
The Mustangs lost two conference games by a total of 10 points.
These are the highest-scoring teams in the conference. SMU averages 41.6 points per game while Cincinnati comes in at 39.2. However, there are questions surrounding the availability of Southern Methodist’s leading receiver Danny Gray who is third in the conference with 803 receiving yards, and Cincinnati’s top rusher Jerome Ford, who is second in the AAC in rushing yards. Even if the teams are shorthanded, those who bet online will be looking at the total of 65 when these explosive offenses get together.
The Heisman Trophy odds for Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder have been trending in the wrong direction in recent weeks as the Bearcats have been winning but hardly putting forth overwhelming offensive performances. Ridder will be facing an SMU defense that is last in the conference in passing yards allowed so this is a chance for him to shine in a game that will have plenty of eyes on it.
Three of the previous four meetings between SMU and Cincinnati were one-score games. That was certainly not the case in the 2020 meeting.
The host Mustangs were one-point favorites according to the college football spread but Cincinnati jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never trailed.
The Mustangs did make it a four-point game at halftime with a field goal on the final play of the second quarter but Cincinnati opened the third quarter the same way as it did the first quarter as a pair of touchdowns pushed the lead to 18. Cincinnati won 42-13 to emerge victorious for the fourth time in five meetings.
It was the fifth straight game between SMU and Cincinnati that went under the total but in each of the last three games, the final score was seven points or less from going over the total.
Next game: vs. Tulsa
SMU was listed as a seven-point favorite according to the college football odds.
Central Florida twice led by seven points before the explosive SMU offense took over scoring 31 straight points to lead 38-14 at halftime. UCF would get no closer than 17 points as SMU emerged with the 55-28 victory.
It was just the second time in the last five games that SMU covered. SMU nearly topped the 61½-point total by itself.
Wide receivers Gray and Jordan Kerley are questionable. Gray leads SMU with 49 catches, 803 receiving yards and nine touchdown catches.
Sonny Dykes said SMU WR Danny Gray didn’t practice today with an ankle injury, but Dykes called him a quick healer who’s progressing. Sounds like there’s a chance he could play against Cincinnati, but I wouldn’t say it’s likely.
— Joseph Hoyt (@JoeJHoyt) November 16, 2021
Next game: at East Carolina
The Cincinnati Bearcats were listed as a 23½-point favorite according to the sportsbook.
When Desmond Ridder threw his second touchdown pass of the game to give the Bearcats a 31-7 lead early in the third quarter, it appeared as if Cincinnati was in decent shape to cover. A pair of South Florida touchdowns made it a 10-point game heading in the fourth quarter.
Cincinnati won 45-28 to remain one of three undefeated teams left at the Football Bowl Subdivision level but it was the fourth game in a row that the Bearcats failed to cover. They were favored by more than 20 points in each of those games.
The game easily went over the 59-point total. Cincinnati’s last three games all finished under the total.
Ford and kicker Cole Smith are questionable. Center Jake Renfro is questionable. Ford leads Cincinnati with 888 rushing yards despite not playing against South Florida.
Betting on the Game
It will be strength against strength as the Southern Methodist Mustangs lead the American Athletic Conference in passing offense while the Cincinnati Bearcats have allowed the fewest passing yards per game in the conference.
Cincinnati is tied with Middle Tennessee for the national team with 29 turnovers caused with 13 fumble recoveries and 16 interceptions. SMU has thrown at least one interception in six of their last seven games.
The total has gone over in four of Southern Methodist’s last five games playing as an underdog according to the scores and odds. The Mustangs have covered in only one of their last seven home games.
The total has gone under in the last five games between Cincinnati and SMU.