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Last Updated Nov 18, 2021, 12:00 PM

SMU Mustangs vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Predictions, Odds, Picks

Nov. 20, 2021
Dan Dobish
VI Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

The SMU Mustangs (8-2, 4-2) travel to meet the Cincinnati Bearcats (10-0, 6-0) in a key battle in the American Athletic Conference on Saturday at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET, and the game can be viewed on ESPN.

Score Prediction

Cincinnati 34, SMU 27

Best Bet

SMU +11.5 (-110)

Under 64.5 (-110)

SMU Mustangs vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Predictions

The big knock against Cincinnati is the one thing it really cannot control. The undefeated Bearcats play in the American Athletic Conference (ACC), and there aren't a lot of teams with impressive records. SMU is the exception, and the Mustangs provide the Bearcats with one final chance to wow the voters by taking care of a ranked team in decisive fashion. A narrow win, or obviously a loss, will be devastating for the Bearcats at this late juncture of the season.

Cincinnati picked up a 45-28 win over South Florida, shaking free of the pesky Bulls in the second half. The Bearcats failed to cover the 24.5-point number, and UC is now 0-4 ATS in the past four outings. Cincinnati's margin of victory across the four-game stretch is just 17, 8, 19 and 7. That's not winning them points with the computers and/or the eye test by the human committee. A lot of fans also feel that perhaps an unbeaten Cincinnati isn't quite as impressive as a one-loss Power 5 team.

Can Cincinnati save its best for last? Well, second-to-last, before the AAC Championship Game? After opening the season 5-1 ATS, the Bearcats are just 0-4 ATS in the past four. They're winning, but they're not going the extra mile and racking up style points. We've been here before with UCF. Is Cincinnati the next UCF, or will they be a trailblazer for the little guys?

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SMU Mustangs vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Odds

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SMU Mustangs vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Resources

  • Matchup: AAC
  • Date: Saturday, November 20, 2021
  • Venue: Nippert Stadium
  • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • TV-Time: ESPN - 3:30 p.m. ET



SMU Mustangs Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 8-2
  • ATS: 6-4
  • O/U: 5-5
  • ATS - Home: 5-0
  • ATS - Away: 1-4

The Mustangs have an explosion offense, posting 499.9 total yards per game to rank sixth in the country, while posting 329.0 passing yards per game to rank eighth in the nation. In addition, SMU has rolled up 42.6 PPG, ranking sixth overall. That's championship caliber. Unfortunately, the defense is not championship caliber. In fact, the D is barely bowl eligible quality. The Mustangs have allowed 405.7 total yards per game to rank 85th. If SMU is good in any one area on D, it's shutting down the run, allowing just 125.9 yards per game to rank 30th. That's bad for Ford, although it's great news for Ridder and the pass game. It will flourish here.

QB Tanner Mordecai is a quality arm who could be quite dangerous for the championship aspirations of the Bearcats. He might be the most talented quarterback the Bearcats have faced all season.

SMU hasn't cashed in consecutive games since Sept. 25-Oct. 2 against TCU and South Florida. The Mustangs are also 2-3 ATS in the past five games overall. SMU is 8-20 ATS in the past 28 games on the road, and just 1-4 ATS in the past five as an underdog. The OVER is 7-3 in the past 10 games on the road for SMU, while going 5-2 in the past seven as an underdog.

Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 10-0
  • ATS: 5-5
  • O/U: 5-5
  • ATS - Home: 3-2
  • ATS - Away: 2-3

Cincinnati has to be concerned about the likes of Mordecai and the SMU pass game, although it has done a great job shutting down opposing aerial attacks this season. UC ranks fifth in the country with just 163.3 yards per game allowed through the air. In fact, while most people talk about Ridder and the Cincinnati offense, it's the defense which has been nasty. While Cincinnati won't likely give Georgia a run for its money as the best defensive unit in the country, it's in that second tier of great defenses, and criminally underrated. The Bearcats have allowed just 16.2 PPG.

Cincinnati has failed to cash in each of the past four games, while going 0-4 ATS in the past four as a favorite. They should enjoy a little bit of home cooking, however, perhaps snapping them back on track. UC is 7-3 ATS in the past 10 games at home, and it is 4-1 ATS in the past five against winning teams, too.

The Bearcats have hit the OVER in five of the past seven as a home favorite, although the UNDER is 5-0 in the past five meetings in this series. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the past five in this series, too.

Inside the Stats - SMU Mustangs

  • Record: 8-2
  • VI Ranking: 32
  • Points Scored: 416
  • Points Allowed: 259
  • PS/G: 41.6
  • PA/G: 25.9

Inside the Stats - Cincinnati Bearcats

  • Record: 10-0
  • VI Ranking: 2
  • Points Scored: 392
  • Points Allowed: 162
  • PS/G: 39.2
  • PA/G: 16.2

Key Players to Watch

  • SMU: Tanner Mordecai - QB (267/382, 3,264 yards, 37 TD, 10 INT)
  • SMU: Danny Gray - WR (49 catches, 803 yards, 9 TD)
  • CIN: Desmond Ridder - QB (189/287, 2,425 yards, 27 total TDs, 6 INT)
  • CIN: Jerome Ford - RB (142 rushes, 884 yards, 15 TD)

SMU Mustangs vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Conclusion

This is going to be an interesting game. Cincinnati has had four straight chances to wow the voters and fans of Power 5 teams, and it has looked rather mediocre. Yeah, they haven't lost. But, they haven't really won big, either. They're winning, but not winning by enough, and sadly, style points mean just as much as the result of the game itself.

Mordecai is a matchup problem, and could very well be the type of quarterback to turn this Cincinnati dream into a nightmare. I think the Cincinnati defense will be able to hold the SMU pass offense at bay, and I don't think the Mustangs have much of a run game to test the Bearcats. Cincinnati is the most balanced team, and I don't see this undefeated season ending on Saturday. But I also don't see Cincinnati blowing out SMU, either. It's going to be another win, but not one which moves the needle for those outside of the Southwest Ohio area.

SMU Mustangs vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Trends

  • SMU is 8-20 ATS in the past 28 road games.
  • SMU is 1-4 ATS in the past five games as an underdog.
  • Cincinnati is 0-4 ATS in the past four games overall.
  • Cincinnati is 7-3 ATS in the past 10 games at home.
  • The OVER is 7-3 in the past 10 road games for SMU.
  • The OVER is 5-2 in the past seven at home for Cincinnati.
  • The UNDER is 5-0 in the past five meetings.


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