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SMU vs. Houston - 10/22/16 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Houston Cougars (6-1) at SMU Mustangs (2-4)

College Football: Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 7:00 pm (Gerald J. Ford Stadium)

The Line: SMU Mustangs +20.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN 2

The 11th ranked Houston Cougars will travel to Gerald J. Ford Stadium to take on the SMU Mustangs this Saturday night in College Football action.

The 11th ranked Houston Cougars rebounded for their first loss of the season to improve to 6-1 (3-1 AAC) after defeating the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, 38-31, this past Saturday.  Houston allowed Tulsa to fight back from a 14-point deficit in the 4th quarter but got a huge defensive play by Emeke Egbule to take a late lead and held on after stopping Tulsa at the 1-yard line on the last play of the game. Houston outgained Tulsa by a 522-459 margin however, did lose the turnover battle by a 3-2 margin. Leading the way for the Cougars was RB Dillon Birden who had 3 TD’s on 82 rushing yards. On the season, Houston is averaging 42.7 ppg on 505.1 total yards per game (305.1 passing, 200.0 rushing). Offensviely, the Cougars are led by duel-threat QB Greg Ward Jr. who has completed 70.1% of his passes for 11 TD and 5 INT while averaging 323.0 passing yds/game. Greg Ward Jr. is also the 2nd leading rusher for the Cougars as he has 6 rushing TD’s and averages 69.0 yds/game on 17.5 att/g. Also in the Cougars backfield has been Duke Catalon (16.0 att/g, 75.0 yds/ g, TD), Mulbah Car (8.17 att/g, 34.3 yds/g, 2 TD), and Dillon Birden (7.33 att/g, 30.83 yds/g, 6 TD). Duke Cartalon has missed the last 3 games due to a concussion and is listed as day-to-day for this upcoming game. Linell Bonner (7.9 rec/g, 93.3 yds/g, 2 TD), Steven Dunbar (4.7 rec/g, 68.6 yds/g, 3 TD), and Chance Allen (4.7 rec/g, 63.1 yds/g, 2 TD) are the leading receivers for the Cougars. Defensively, Houston is holding their opponents to an average of 19.0 ppg on 298.7 total yards per game (211.6 passing, 87.1 rushing). Houston has committed 11 turnovers on the season and has an over turnover margin of -2.

SMU vs. Houston - 10/22/16 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The SMU Mustangs lost their 3rd consecutive game and dropped to 2-4 (0-2 AAC) on the season after being defeated by the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, 43-40 OT, on October 7th. SMU hit a game-tying FG in the closing seconds of regular to force OT however, couldn’t stop the Golden Hurricane from scoring the game winning TD after opening up the OT with just a FG. SMU was outgained by Tulsa by a 562-412 margin however, did win the turnover battle by a 1-0 margin. Leading the way for SMU was RB Braeden West who had a TD and 124 rushing yards on 22 carries. On the season, SMU is averaging 23.2 ppg on 415.3 total yards per game (239.8 passing, 175.5 rushing). Offensviely, SMU is led by WR Courtland Sutton who had 4 TD on the season while averaging 98.3 receiving yds/game on 5.0 rec/game. Outside of Courtland Sutton, James Proche (5.5 rec/g, 56.7 yds/g, TD), Xavier Castille (3.2 rec/g, 28.7 yds/g), and Jeremiah Gaines (1.2 rec/g, 12.8 yds/g, 2 TD) have been the leading receivers for the Mustangs. QB Ben Hicks has completed 51.9% of his passes for 6 TD and 9 INT while averaging 214.0 passing yds/game. Braeden West (16.2 att/g, 86.8 yds/g, 3 TD) and Ke’Mon Freeman (11.3 att/g, 47.7 yds/g, TD) lead the SMU backfield. Defensively, SMU is allowing their opponents to average 32.7 ppg on 454.8 total yards per game (263.0 passing, 191.8 rushing). SMU has forced opponents into committing 15 turnovers on the season and has an overall turnover margin of +2.

The Cougars are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a losing home record however, just 2-3-1 ATS in their last 6 games. The Mustangs are 4-2 ATS on the season however, just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games against Houston.

Houston comes into this matchup with 20th ranked scoring defense and 10th ranked total defense in the country, however, has to be a bit concerned as in their last two games, the Cougars have given up an average of 35.5 ppg. SMU has an above average offense that ranks 62nd in the country in total offense, however, the Mustangs once again have had difficulty on the defensive end as they rank 109th in total defense. Houston has struggled a bit over the past two weeks, however, I think the Cougars defense gets back on track against SMU and Greg Ward Jr. has another huge game that helps Houston cover this spread. Take Houston to cover. 

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Houston Cougars -20.5

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