Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#103 SMU -13.5 vs.
#104 Houston 65.5
Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 7:30pm EDT
TDECU Stadium, Houston
Written by Scott Reichel

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#103 Southern Methodist University
#104 University of Houston
7-0
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Week nine of college football continues as #16 SMU travels to TDECU Stadium to play against Houston on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 P.M. This will be the 35th meeting between these two teams. These two teams have not met since last season when the Mustangs beat the Cougars at home by a score of 45-31.

SMU Looks To Remain Undefeated

SMU enters this game with an amazing 7-0 record as it remains one of the last unbeaten teams left in all of college football. Last week, it was able to destroy Temple as it won by 24 points at home. As a result, SMU is still ranked and is currently the favorite to win its conference division. If SMU continues to play well in conference games, SMU will make its first conference title game since 2010. In addition, it still has a serious shot at going undefeated and potentially making a New Year's Six bowl game. However, SMU has not beaten Houston on the road since 2005 so the Mustangs cannot avoid to underestimate their opponent on Thursday.

SMU's offense is led by junior quarterback Shane Buechele who has looked good so far this season. Specifically, Buechele has already thrown for 2,122 passing yards and 18 touchdowns. In addition, he has also rushed for two touchdowns. However, he already has six interceptions on the year which raises some ball security concerns. If SMU plans on staying undefeated, he will need to avoid turning the ball over at all costs.

SMU’s biggest threat on defense is senior safety Patrick Nelson who has looked amazing so far this season. Specifically, he already has a team-high 7.5 sacks along with 45 tackles. In addition, he also has one interception and one forced fumble so he has the ability to cause a ton of turnovers when granted the opportunity. Last week, he recorded two sacks against Temple so he enters this game in great form.

Houston Looks To Get Back To .500

Dana Holgorsen has the Cougars in okay form headed into this game. Specifically, Houston is still a below .500 team as it has only won three of its first seven games. However, it did manage to win last week against Connecticut on the road by the score of 24-17. Now, Houston will look for a signature win on Thursday that can potentially save its season by drastically increasing its chances to qualify for a bowl game. Plus, a victory will help Houston return to a .500 record in conference play so there should be a lot of motivation for the Cougars to play well in this game.

Houston's offense is led by junior running back Kyle Porter who has looked good so far this season. Specifically, Porter has 448 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns along with an impressive 5.5 yards per carry. In addition, he also has 72 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown so he has the ability to make plays in a variety of ways. With Houston's lackluster performance at quarterback this season, Porter might need to carry the Cougars on Thursday night.

Houston’s biggest threat on defense is junior defensive lineman David Anenih who has looked solid so far this season. Specifically, he already has a team-high 5.5 sacks along with 12 solo tackles. In addition, he also has three passes defended so he has the ability to cover running back screens quickly whenever that opportunity presents itself. With an elite offense up next, Houston will need a great pass rush and that will start with Anenih.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Simply put, SMU has been one of the most underrated teams in the country up to this point while Houston has been very underwhelming. SMU is still undefeated due to its elite uptempo offense and its elite playmakers at several key skill positions while Houston's offense has looked extremely flat over the last two weeks. Even though this number is pretty high, I think that SMU should win by at least two touchdowns. Give me the road team as a result.

Prediction: SMU -13.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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With SMU's offense, I have to take the over. This unit is rolling at this point in the season as SMU has scored at least 37 points in every game this season. Meanwhile, its defense is decent at best as it has given up at least 21 points in each of its last four games. Plus, both teams love to play uptempo styles of offense which should lead to a lot of clock stoppages and big plays which should yield more points. Give me the over as a result.

Prediction: Over 67.5

Half-Time Side Pick

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Since I think these two teams are very uneven, I expect SMU to start extremely quickly with its elite offense as it will get out to an early lead. Houston's defense leaves a lot to be desires and its offense also looked extremely flat in the first half last week which does not bode well for the Cougars in the first 30 minutes of play. Give me the road team as a result.

Prediction: SMU 1H -7
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Written By Scott Reichel

Scott Reichel is a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with an insane passion for sports. His commitment to endlessly researching statistics helps separate him from other handicappers with regard to MLB, NBA, NCAAB, NCAAF, NHL and NFL coverage. Scott also shares his passion for sports on StatSalt's YouTube page where he does a daily show called Scott's Selections.