Cincinnati Bearcats vs. SMU Mustangs – College Football, October 24, 2020

| October 23, 2020 1:14 am PDT

A massive showdown in the American Athletic Conference takes place Saturday evening in Dallas. Both currently undefeated, the Bearcats and Mustangs have their eyes set on posting an unblemished record.

Cincy’s defense has been merciless, while Sonny Dykes’ offense ranks among the most potent in the country.

Something’s got to give this weekend at Gerald J. Ford Stadium, so let’s start diving in. Here’s a complete betting preview highlighted by a Cincinnati vs. SMU prediction.

Cincinnati vs. SMU Odds

Cincinnati (+2.5) -105
SMU (-2.5) -115
Cincinnati to Win +115
SMU to Win -135
Over 55.5 -110
Under 55.5 -110

Talk about a game that’s seen some serious line movement, the top online sportsbooks opened this game at Bearcats -1. Fast forward to 48 hours before the kickoff and Cincinnati is getting 2.5 points nearly everywhere you shop.

Recency bias is a real thing for college football bettors, and perhaps Cincy’s prior game against Tulsa getting postponed has caused the public to lose interest. The casual fan probably sees that SMU is 5-0 and playing at home, and that’s enough right there to pull the trigger on the Mustangs.

However, I plan on digging a bit deeper before committing to a Cincinnati vs. SMU pick.

Assessing the Bearcats

It’s been a while since Luke Fickell’s group took the field – October 3rd to be exact – but let’s not forget how dominant they were. The Bearcats D turned South Florida over five times and allowed just seven points.

On the year, Cincy is yielding an impressive 12.3 ppg and allowing just 171.7 yards game through the air. CB Ahmad Gardner’s incredible prowess is a big reason why, but it all starts with getting pressure on the quarterback.

And nobody is doing it better right now than Bearcats senior Elijah Ponder.

On the other side of the ball, Desmond Ridder hasn’t been as efficient as Coach Fickell would have hoped for, and the running game is yet to fully hit their stride. Then again, it feels a bit nit-picky given that Cincinnati is pouring in nearly 36 points per game and converting over 53% of their third downs.

Assessing the Mustangs

5-0 is 5-0, although SMU’s latest appearance (37-34 OT victory over Tulane) was far from a convincing performance. With that being said, the Mustangs nudged by a good Memphis team and hung 65 on North Texas.

Running back Ulysses Bentley IV has done a superb job filling in for an injured TJ McDaniel, but this team goes as far as their senior quarterback will take them.

QB Shane Buechele has inserted his name into the Heisman conversation on the heels of 1,710 passing yards. He’s tossed 11 touchdowns and 0 picks over his last four starts. SMU has racked up more than 563 yards per game and is dropping 42.6 points per contest.

Losing star wideout Reggie Roberson Jr. to a season-ending left-knee injury is far from ideal for Coach Dykes, but guys like Rashee Rice and Danny Gray are ensuring that this offense does not skip a beat.

Cincinnati vs. SMU Pick

This sets up to be one of the best college football games this weekend.

The Mustangs are playing at home and are way more explosive on offense. Cincy is rested and has a vicious defensive unit. I was initially leaning toward backing the Bearcats in a Cincinnati vs. SMU prediction, and I feel even better about the pick after seeing what ESPN’s Football Power Index had to say about the game.

Their Matchup Predictor has Cincinnati winning this game outright in 54.1% of simulations. I say hop on the 2.5-point cushion and consider it as your insurance.

Michael Wynn
Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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