Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#417 Temple 59 vs.
#418 SMU -9
Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 3:30pm EDT
Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#417 Temple University
#418 Southern Methodist University
5-1
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4-2
5-1
3-3
6-0
29
44
18
28

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The Temple Owls will travel to Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Saturday afternoon for an American Athletic Conference clash versus the No.19-ranked SMU Mustangs.

After a historic 5-0 start, the Mustangs earned a much-needed bye week to prepare for a tough matchup versus the Owls (5-1, 2-0 AAC). Meanwhile, Temple pulled off another upset last week, earning them some national attention. While the Owls are still unranked in the AP polls, they earned No. 25 ranking in the current USA Today polls, marking the first time Temple has been ranked since the 2016 season. Can the Owls continue their success against ranked opponents with another upset on the road against SMU on Saturday?

Russo has best game of the year in upset vs. No.23-Memphis

Temple pushed their current win streak to three games last week with an impressive 30-28 win over No. 23-ranked Memphis. Anthony Russo threw two touchdown passes and Temple took advantage of four Tigers’ turnovers to pull off the unlikely upset, but they were also aided by a timely review by the officials. Memphis had a late drive stall late in the fourth quarter after a controversial replay review overturned a called catch on the field on a 4th-and-9 play. While there was no clear view that the ball hit the ground, the ruling on the field was overturned and the AAC defended the call afterwards, which could impact Memphis’ New Year’s Six bowl game hopes. Senior running back Jager Gardner finished with 77 yards and a touchdown, while junior receiver Branden Mack added nine catches for 125 yards and a score to help pace the Owls on offense. As a result, the Owls remained tied with Cincinnati atop the AAC East division with a 2-0 record, setting up this week’s matchup against the fellow first-place Mustangs, who are also tied atop the West Division with a 2-0 record.

Russo is fresh off one of his best games of the season and he is now 2-0 versus top-25 opponents. He did not throw an interception for the first time all season in last week’s win over Memphis and he completed a healthy 60.6 percent of his passes -- the highest mark he’s posted since the season opener against Bucknell. With Russo under center this season, the Owls are scoring a healthy 29.8 points per game. Temple is averaging 446.5 yards of total offense, including 280.8 passing yards per contest.

On defense, the Owls have limited opponents to just 19 points per game and 325.7 yards of total offense. Despite their 5-1 overall record, the Owls are actually -2 in turnover margin so far this season. Ball security and generating takeaways will be a point of emphasis once again this week, especially after the defense forced four turnovers last week.

Buechele leads SMU to first 6-0 start since 1982

SMU won its last game against Tulsa in miraculous fashion, staving off an upset with a 21-point fourth quarter to force overtime in an eventual 43-37 triple-overtime victory. Down 30-9 at the start of the fourth quarter, Buechele led the Mustangs on five touchdown drives from that point on, capped off by a 25-yard touchdown strike to James Proche to send SMU to 6-0 for the first time since 1982. Buechele finished with 280 yards passing and two touchdowns, while Proche added 11 receptions for 153 yards and two scores in the win.

Led by Buechele, the Mustangs come in scoring 44.1 points per game, sixth among FBS schools. The 6-foot-1, Texas-transfer has been a major reason for the Mustangs’ resurgence this season. Buechele has thrown for 1,665 yards, 12 touchdowns and only five interceptions so far this season, while completing 67 percent of his passes. He improved to 3-0 at SMU in one-possession games with last week’s win over Tulsa, but will be up against a tough Temple defense that is allowing less than 200 yards per game through the air.

On defense, SMU comes in allowing 28.3 points and 386.3 total yards per game. They will need to find a way to stop Owls’ freshman running back Re’Mahn Davis, who already has 575 yards and four scores this season. After a slow start, Davis has racked up 52 carries over the last two weeks, while totaling over 200 yards on the ground during that span.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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SMU comes into this game favored by 7.5, and while I expect them to improve to 7-0, it is hard not to find value in taking Temple with the points here. The Mustangs have been fortunate to escape with an undefeated record, but Temple has two top-25 wins, including wins against a Big Ten opponent (Maryland) and an ACC foe (Georgia Tech). They played another high-profile signal-caller in Brady White last week and forced four turnovers in the win, while their own quarterback, Anthony Russo, is coming off arguably his best game of the year. Temple undoubtedly has the edge on defense in this game, so I expect it to be close. Give me the points in this spot on the road on Saturday evening. 

Prediction: Temple +7.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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SMU’s games have been very high scoring of late. The Mustangs last three games have totaled 80, 69, and 79 points, respectively, so 60 feels like a bit of a bargain in this spot. SMU has one of the best receiving combos in the country in Proche and Reggie Roberson Jr., so I don’t think the Owls are going to shut them down here. Temple is good on defense, but the Owls can score points too and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this game end up in the high 30s or low 40s. Look for this game to go over the projected total on Saturday night. 

Prediction: Over 60
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.