SMU College Football Betting Preview

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College Football

Betting Preview

SMU made it to a bowl last year so there’s little to complain about. Sonny Dykes was hired before the bowl Game and quickly figured out he had a lot of work to do after losing to LA. Tech 51-10. Dykes comes over from TCU, but previously served as a head coach at Cal and LA. Tech. The defense is expected to be bad again, but per usual under Dykes, the offense could fly and that’s why the Mustangs’s over/under is set at 5.5 wins with +4000 odds to win the AAC (as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook).

Quarterback Ben Hicks (+30000 for Heisman) is the reason for hope after he carved defenses for 33 touchdowns and only 12 picks last year en route to the offense scoring 37.8 points per Game. SMU scored on just about every defense including 36 points early at TCU. Now under Dykes, there’s no reason the offense will regress, especially with the returning talent. Xavier Jones (1,019 yards, 9 TDs) and Braeden West (512 yards) should form a solid one-two punch out of the backfield after West dealt with a nagging injury in 2017. Receiver is a bigger unknown, but in this Air Raid spread offense, it may not be a huge issue with James Proche (816 yards, 6 TDs) set to be the top wide out. That said, losing guys like COurtland Sutton and Trey Quinn won’t be easy. And outside of left tackle Chad Pursley, only one other starter returns on the line, which could make things harder than expected for the offense.

However, nothing will be as hard as turning around this defense that allowed 36.7 points per Game last year, giving up yards easily on the ground and through the air. Dykes made sure to talk about how improved the defense was in the spring, but that was likely coach speak. There are only Four starters back, although a lot of guys got experience last year due to the overall struggles. The early hype was on Texas A&M transfer Richard Moore, who could turn into an immediate playmaker at linebacker. There is some experience around him with Pono Davis at nose tackle and Jordan Wyatt at cornerback, but it’s going to take a lot for this group to simply become mediocre under new coordinator Kevin Kane.

SMU will again try and use offense to win every Game, but that probably won’t work for early non-Conference Games against TCU and Michigan. The Mustangs even opened as small underdogs against North Texas for the opener. If they lose their first three, reaching a bowl could become difficult, as the AAC Schedule is far from easy. The Game at UCF may end up being the only good team the Mustangs play on the road, but they’ll still have to beat Navy, Houston and Memphis at home. As a positive, the only home Game this team lost last year was 31-24 against undefeated UCF. If the offense stays elite and the defense can knock a couple points off their average allowed, there’s reason to believe this team can reach six wins. Hicks should be in for a huge season and that could be enough against some of the weaker AAC teams, especially on the road.  


2018 SMU Mustangs Football Schedule

Sept. 1 at North Texas

Sept. 7 vs. TCU

Sept. 15 at Michigan

Sept. 22 vs. Navy

Sept. 29 vs. Houston Baptist

Oct. 6 at UCF

Oct. 20 at Tulane

Oct. 27 vs. Cincinnati

Nov. 3 vs. Houston

Nov. 10 at Connecticut

Nov. 16 vs. Memphis

Nov. 24 at Tulsa

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