It is an all-Texas battle as SMU and TCU face. It is time to continue our College Football odds series with an SMU-TCU prediction, pick, and how-to-watch.
SMU comes into the game 2-1 on the year. They took an easy opening win in week one 38-14 over Louisiana Tech. They dominated the game, taking a 31-0 lead at the half, until pulling off the gas. The next week was a loss to Oklahoma. While SMU held Oklahoma to just 28 points, they scored just 11. It was a rebound in their third game. It was a demolition of Prairie View 69-0. While this is a group of five opponents for TCU right now, it will not be for long, as SMU is heading to the ACC.
TCU also enters the game at 2-1. They lost a shootout in the first game of the year against Colorado. It was a close game, but Colorado pulled the upset 45-42. TCU rebounded with an FCS opponent and a 41-6 win. Then, they opened Big 12 play with a game against Houston. TCU took over in the second half. They scored 16 points while holding Houston to none and taking the win.
Here are the college football odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: SMU-TCU Odds
SMU: +6.5 (-105)
TCU: -6.5 (-115)
Over: 62.5 (-110)
Under: 62.5 (-110)
How to Watch SMU vs. TCU
Stream: Fox Sports App
Time: 12:00 PM ET/ 9:00 AM PT
*Watch college football LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why SMU Will Cover The Spread
For SMU to win, Preston Stone has to be solid. This year he is 63-104 for 793 yards and nine touchdowns. He had a great game last time out, throwing for 298 yards and five scores. Still, he struggled against Oklahoma, going for just 246 yards and throwing an interception. He also had two more turnover-worthy passes. A major issue in that game was the pressure. Stone was pressured 17 times on 48 dropbacks with two sacks. This year, he has been pressured just 3- times overall and sacked just two times.
SMU has to run the ball better as well. That starts with LJ Johnson Jr. He has just 152 yards with one touchdown on the year. The issue has been some blocking in the last two games. In the last two games, his average point of contact has been within one yard of the line of scrimmage. Jaylan Knighton has been solid. He has run for 142 yards this year on 25 carries. He does have a fumble this year and has only caused one missed tackle.
The defense also needs to step up in this game and put pressure on the quarterback. Last time out, they only got 13 pressured on the quarterback with two sacks. Elijah Roberts had one of the sacks. This year, he has been good on the pass rush. He has ten quarterback pressures and three sacks. SMU also needs to be better in pass coverage. They allowed Prarie View to complete over 50 percent of their passes. While they did have two pass breakups, they did not force a turnover and dropped an interception in the game.
Why TCU Will Cover The Spread
TCU needs a big game from Chandler Morris. This year he has been solid. On the year he is 74-109 for 856 yards and six scores. He is completing over 65 percent of his passes this year and has made seven big-time throws according to PFF. Morris was not great against Colorado, throwing two interceptions and also having three turnover-worthy passes, but he has rebounded since then. Still, Morris needs some solid protection to get the ball downfield. He has been pressured 35 times this year on 126 dropbacks. Morris has been sacked just three times and scrambled 12 times for positive yardage.
Morris has run the ball well in those scrambles and the designed runs. He has made eight designed runs plus the 12 scrambles. That has led to 162 yards on the ground with two touchdowns and a fumble. On the ground, Emani Bailey has been solid. He has run 56 times for 359 yards and a score. Bailey has gotten solid blocking this year with an average point of contact over two yards beyond the line of scrimmage. He has caused 16 missed tackles and four runs over 15 yards this year. If he can keep getting the solid blocking, he will have a good game in this one.
In the receiving game, JP Richardson has been solid this year. He has brought in 13 of 17 targets this year for 148 yards. Richardson has not found the endzone this year, but he is averaging 11.4 yards per reception. He also has 49 yards after the catch this year.
On defense, TCU needs to keep getting a solid pass rush. Last week they had 28 quarterback pressures with six sacks. Two of them came from Johnny Hodges. This year Hodges has eight quarterback pressures with four sacks. He also has 16 stops for offensive failures on the year. TCU also will need to be strong against the run again this week. On 17 rushing attempts for Houston last week, the defense has 15 stops for offensive failures in the game. Hodges led with four in the run game, while Nnamdi Obiazor had another three. TCU also missed just four tackles in the game against the run, while having four guys with average points of tackle within two yards of the line of scrimmage.
Final SMU-TCU Prediction & Pick
The first major factor in this battle for the Iron Skillet is TCU at home. TCU has historically been better at home in this rivalry. Second, TCU has more experience at quarterback. Preston Stone does not have the same level of experience as Chandler Morris does. Third, TCU has the better run game by a lot. They have two great running backs with different styles of running, but that will be too much for SMU to handle.
TCU is better in almost every statistical category than SMU. They have the better offense and better defense. TCU should be able to move the ball fairly easily in this game, while their defense will give trouble to SMU. The prediction for this SMU-TCU match-up is that TCU gets up early, and sits on the lead. They cover with that.
Final SMU-TCU Prediction & Pick: TCU -6.5 (-115)