SMU Mustangs at East Carolina Pirates, Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC
Friday, November 26, 2010, 2:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS College Sports
Opening Line: SMU -1 1/2
Current line: pick
Opening Total: 69
Current Total: 69 1/2
Money Line: No line
Both of these teams are still alive for the Conference USA championship game next week but only SMU controls their own destiny. SMU clinches the West Division with a win versus East Carolina or a Tulsa loss to Southern Miss later in the day. East Carolina wins the East with a win against SMU, and losses by Southern Miss and Central Florida. both teams are 6-5 and are already bowl eligible. Just a quick note to bettors, while I was doing research on this game I looked up the lines to get the consensus. Though this game is a pick a couple of sites have a money line up. Both teams are -105 so you could save a nickel on the juice if you bet the money line rather than the spread. SMU has lost 8 of their last 9 November road games straight up including a 28-14 loss at UTEP earlier this month. East Carolina has won 7 of their last 9 November home games straight up. However, their last home game was a 76-35 demolition by Navy. SMU is 9-21 ATS when the line is 3 points or less since 1992.
SMU has played some close games this season. Their scoring average is razor thin. They have outscored opponents 26.7 to 26.2. The Mustangs gain 420 yards a game, including 274 yards a game passing, This is not really a surprise given Coach June Jones’ prolific run and shoot offense. They play defense relatively well by Conference USA standards as they only give up 358 yards a game. The biggest problem for the Mustangs is a -8 turnover margin. Quarterback Kyle Padron has thrown for almost 3,000 yards this season along with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Of course, when you throw the ball 40 or 50 times a game you are bound to throw some picks. He also has 4 rushing touchdowns on 78 carries. Padron throws mainly to 4 Mustang receivers, Aldrick Robinson (52 catches, 1,053 yards, 11 touchdowns), Cole Beasley (70 catches, 858 yards, 5 TD’s), Darius Johnson (60 catches, 588 yards, 5 TD’s), and Bradley Haynes (34 catches, 317, yards, 3 touchdowns.) Those four account for 24 of the Mustangs’ 25 touchdown catches. The Mustangs rush for almost 150 yards a game led by Zach Line who has 1,174 yards, and 8 touchdowns.
If you love 4 hour college football games with both teams scoring in the 40’s, then you will love East Carolina. The Pirates have an explosive offense and an awful defense. They have been outscored 43-38 on the season. East Carolina is dead last in FBS college football in scoring defense. They gain 444 yards a game but give up 482 yards a game including 230 yards rushing per game. The Pirates have a turnover margin of -4, despite forcing 19 turnovers for the season. They also give up 65 yards a game in penalties. They struggle stopping teams on 3rd down as teams have converted 50% on third down and 71% on fourth down. The offense is led by dual threat quarterback Dominique Davis who has passed for almost 3,400 yards this season along with 34 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also has 8 rushing touchdowns. Five Pirate receivers have caught at least 30 balls. The top receivers are Dwayne Harris (83 catches, 998 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Lance Lewis (70 catches, 825 yards, and 11 touchdowns.) Justin Jones only has 17 catches but 4 of those are for touchdowns. Jonathan Williams has 8 rushing touchdowns on 139 carries, with 759 yards.
Points will be plentiful in this match-up. Both teams have prolific offenses and very little defense. There is a 50 percent of rain, but that shouldn’t stop these offenses. It will be an exciting game that you might want to check out during commercial breaks while watching Alabama-Auburn.
Our College football handicappers are on a hot streak. Be thankful for our bounty of winners this holiday weekend!