Two top 20 teams from the American Athletic Conference face off Saturday as Southern Methodist hosts Cincinnati. These two teams have not lost a game all year as No. 18 ranked SMU is 5-0 and No. 8 ranked Cincinnati is 3-0. Both teams lead their respective divisions in the conference. The last time two times these two teams played, both games went to overtime. The Bearcats won 26-20 in 2018, but SMU covered as as 9.5 point dog, and SMU won 31-28 in 2017, but Cincy covered as a 5.5 point dog. This time around, SMU is a 2.5 point favorite. Can the favorite buck the trend?
Cincinnati dealing with COVID-19The Cincinnati Bearcats game last week was postponed as there were several COVID-19 cases on the team. Their game at Tulsa was rescheduled to Dec. 5. "The health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff is always our primary focus and we appreciated the outstanding work and continued dedicated of our medical staff throughout the pandemic," Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham said, reported ESPN. "We knew this season was going to require a lot of patience and flexibility and disruptions were likely to happen." It was the second game Tulsa had postponed this season.
There are a lot of question marks for Cincinnati coming into this week's game. There are 5 players that are listed as questionable, four of them for undisclosed ailments. Is this COVID-19? This will be Cincinnati's first road game this season. All three of their wins have been at home. Given their COVID-19 issues, there could be several players that don't make the trip. Keep an eye on this one.
If they do play, there's a few things to know about the Bearcats. They are 3-0 and have one of the best defenses in the country, allowing just 12 points per game, which is 8th lowest in the country. They allow 306 total yards per game, which ranks 14th. They average 35 points per game and 396 total yards per game. Their quarterback Desmond Ridder is a wildcard. Last game he went 16 of 26 for just 143 yards with 2 interceptions and 3 interceptions. Running back Gerrid Doaks is their best offensive player. Last game he ran for 102 yards.
SMU survives scare at TulaneThe Southern Methodist University Mustangs have squeaked by the past couple of weeks, but they ended up with the Ws to stay unbeaten at 5-0. Last week they survived against one of the worst teams in the conference, Tulane. SMU snuck away with a 37-34 win in overtime. This is against a Tulane team that is 2-3 overall and winless in the conference. Tulane tied it on a 62 yard Marek Glover field goal late in the fourth period, but SMU prevailed on a 34 Chris Naggar field goal in overtime. They were 6.5 point favorites.
It shouldn't haven't been as close as it was. SMU racked up a ridiculous 633 total yards to 457 for Tulane. Quarterback Shane Buechele had a huge game, going 23 for 37 for 384 yards with 2 touchdowns. Three Mustang receivers had over 100 yards led by Rashee Rice with 7 catches for 139 yards and 1 touchdown. Danny Gray hauled in 5 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown while Tyler Page had 4 catches for 101 yards. SMU is 7th in the nation in points per game averaging 44 and 4th in total yards with a ridiculous 559 per game. Defensively they have struggled, giving up 23 points per game and 412 total yards.
Stats & Trends
- Bearcats are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game
- Bearcats are 1-2 ATS
- Mustangs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as a home favorite of 0.5-3.0.
- Mustangs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite of 0.5-3.0.
- Mustangs are 3-2 ATS
- Mustangs are 2-0 at home
Take SMU here giving up the points. The Mustangs are going to buck some trends here next week. In the last two meetings between these two, the home team has lost. Also, the underdog has covered in the last two meetings. Saturday, the Mustangs will end both of these trends. They will win at home and they will cover as the favorite. It's just too much for Cincinnati to overcome, given they have been dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. Several key offensive linemen and defensive players are questionable, and they will need all hands on deck to slow down the high-scoring Mustangs. Under different circumstances, this would be a great matchup -- offense versus defense, but this week, Cincinnati just doesn't have the horses to slow down the horses.