By Jordan Horrobin | | 5 mins
SMU at Cincinnati Football Picks, Predictions & Betting Preview
The No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats are unbeaten, and therefore still alive in the College Football Playoff conversation, but they’ve been stuck in too many too-close-for-comfort games over the past month.
This Saturday, as double-digit favorites for a seventh-consecutive week, Cincinnati hosts the SMU Mustangs at 3:30 p.m. ET. SMU topped the 50-point mark for a third time this season in last weekend’s win over UCF.
Points should come easily in this one, and maybe Cincinnati can give CFP voters a bit more clarity about where they should stand in the national picture. Find the college football odds for this game in the table below, followed by our college football picks for the matchup.
Odds subject to change.
5 Keys to SMU vs. Cincinnati
Ridder looking to repeat: Cincinnati’s best win last season came against then-No. 16 SMU in 42-13 blowout fashion. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati’s quarterback, led the way with 126 passing yards and a touchdown, as well as 179 rushing yards and three more touchdowns. Another performance like that would almost certainly grant a victory.
Too much respect for Cincy?: Based on the college football betting trends of the season, it’s fair to wonder if the Bearcats have received too much respect from oddsmakers. Cincinnati has failed to cover any of its past four games - but they’ve been favored by 20-plus points in each of their past six.
Video game numbers: SMU is coming off its best offensive output, with 634 total yards gained last week against UCF. That’s the second time the Mustangs have surpassed the 600-yard mark. Cincinnati hasn’t reached even the 550-yard threshold this season, although its defense has only allowed 400-plus yards once (28-20 win over Tulsa).
Jerome Ford status: Cincinnati’s leading rusher, Jerome Ford, missed last week’s game with a leg injury and his status for Saturday is questionable. He was a game-time decision last week, though, which bodes well for his chances. And without him, the Bearcats still managed to run for 202 yards.
Homebodies: Both of SMU’s losses have come on the road this year, and each of their three road wins have come by eight points or fewer. The Mustangs are 1-4 against the spread on the road.
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SMU vs. Cincinnati Weather Forecast
Cincinnati, Ohio, will have a high of about 50 degrees on Saturday afternoon, with a 30% chance of precipitation and mostly-cloudy skies.
SMU vs. Cincinnati Moneyline
Due to the aforementioned road woes this season, we don’t like SMU in this matchup. Oh, and there’s also the fact that Cincinnati is an unbeaten team with very real playoff hopes. Roll with the Bearcats at -475 with DraftKings, which is not bad considering they’re facing an unranked team at home.
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SMU vs. Cincinnati Point Spread
As gloomy as Cincinnati’s prospects have been against the spread recently, we think this is a spot where they can bounce back. The Bearcats only have to cover 10.5 points at sportsbooks (it was 12.5 points to begin the week), and they hung 45 points on USF a week ago.
Keep an eye on the health status of Ford, because his presence is important for the spread (and the point total). But also understand that Ridder has shredded this SMU defense before, and he can do it again.
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SMU vs. Cincinnati Totals
The 65.5-point total on betting apps is tricky to make a call on, simply because both teams have seen a 50% split on the over/under this season.
We know both offenses are capable of putting up huge scores, but the Bearcats’ defense (16.2 points allowed per game, sixth in NCAA) is a bit concerning. We’re going to cautiously take the under. You can get Under 65.5 (-114) at FanDuel.
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