Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#211 SMU -8 vs.
#212 FAU 72
Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 3:30pm EST
Written by Scott Reichel

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#211 Southern Methodist University
#212 Florida Atlantic University
10-2
10-3
7-5
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9-2-1
7-6
42
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College Football Bowl Game Season continues with the Boca Raton Bowl as SMU travels to FAU Football Stadium to take on FAU on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 3:30 P.M. This will be the first-ever meeting between these two teams as they will both be looking to take home that trophy.

SMU Looks For Rare Bowl Game Victory

SMU enters this game with a very solid 10-2 record as it just missed out on making the conference championship game. However, the Mustangs actually started their season with an undefeated record through eight games and a spot in the AP Top-25 before losing two of their last four games in conference play. Now, SMU will be looking to end the season on a high note after faltering a bit down the stretch of the regular season. The Mustangs will definitely be motivated for this bowl game as they will be looking to make history. SMU has not won a bowl game since 2012 and these players have the chance to end that drought on Saturday despite playing on the road in this game. If SMU starts resembling the team that it was during the early part of the regular season, then it should be able to win this game.

SMU's offense is led by junior quarterbackShane Buechele who has looked good so far this season. Buechele has already thrown for 3,626 passing yards and 33 passing touchdowns. In addition, he also only threw two interceptions so he has done a very solid job at limiting turnovers throughout the season. Now, he will look to continue playing well in his second career bowl game appearance.

SMU's defense has been its biggest weakness all season long. The Mustangs are allowing 31.8 points per game which ranks 99th in the nation. In addition, the Mustangs are allowing 438.7 yards per game which ranks 102nd in the nation. SMU has particularly struggled with its pass defense that has allowed 284.9 passing yards per game which ranks 121st in the nation. This is a relatively large concern considering the fact that Florida Atlantic is averaging 278.7 passing yards per game.

FAU Looks To Win With An Interim Head Coach

The Florida Atlantic Owls have experienced a tremendous amount of success so far this season. After starting with consecutive losses against ranked teams, Florida Atlantic proceeded to win nine of its last ten games which culminated in a 43 point victory against UAB in the Conference USA Championship Game. However, a lot has changed since that game as FAU ended up switching head coaches. Lane Kiffin, the former head coach of the team, decided to accept the head coaching job at Ole Miss following the conference title game so he is no longer with the program. Replacing him as the interim head coach is Glenn Spencer who served as the defensive coordinator during the regular season. Although Spencer has a lot of coaching experience, he has never been a head coach before so one has to wonder just how well Florida Atlantic's players will respond to his leadership for this game.

Leading the Owls offensively is sophomore quarterbackChris Robison who has looked amazing so far this season. He has thrown for 3,396 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns. In addition, Robison has only thrown six interceptions so he has done a solid job at limiting turnovers. With another game at FAU Football Stadium up next, Robison will look to continue playing well.

Florida Atlantic's defense has been pretty solid all season long. The Owls are allowing 22.3 points per game which ranks 33rd in the nation. In addition, the Owls are allowing 370.3 yards per game which ranks 48th in the nation. However, Florida Atlantic has struggled with its pass defense that has allowed 233.6 passing yards per game which ranks 81st in the nation. To make matters worse, this is a serious issue since SMU is averaging the 12th-most passing yards per game in the nation.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Even though Florida Atlantic is playing this game in its home stadium, the Owls are dealing with a ton of distractions off the field which I think will impact their performance on the field. Florida Atlantic will be playing with a brand new head coach after Lane Kiffin left and I expect SMU to take advantage of a disorganized team. This game will be close but I think that SMU will make just enough plays to win this game and to cover this spread. Give me the road team.

Prediction: SMU -3

Full-Game Total Pick

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Both of these teams have amazing offenses so I think that this total is a bit too low. Both teams averaged over 35.0 points per game during the regular season and I expect both units to continue putting up points in bunches in the warm state of Florida. Both teams should be able to score extremely quickly due to their uptempo styles of offense which will lead to more clock stoppages and faster touchdown drives as I expect both teams to score at least 35 points in this game. Give me the over.

Prediction: Over 72

Half-Time Side Pick

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Florida Atlantic will be using an inexperienced interim head coach for this game and I expect it to come out sloppy in the first half while SMU will be motivated to finish the season on a high note. SMU has an elite offense and I think that it should be able to score at least 24 points in the first half as Florida Atlantic will be unable to score enough points to stay within the number in the first 30 minutes of this game. Give me the road team as a result.

Prediction: SMU 1H
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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.