SMU Basketball

Louisville Cardinals vs. SMU Mustangs Odds Analysis, Preview, Power Rankings

South Florida guard Josh Heath (10) works against Louisville defenders Russ Smith (2) and Terry Rozier (0) in their NCAA college basketball game in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
Garry Jones/Associated Press
OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2014

It's a clash of coaching legends as Rick Pitino brings his defending champion Louisville Cardinals to Dallas to take on Larry Brown and the SMU Mustangs.

Louisville won the first meeting back on Jan. 12, 71-63, and improved to 7-2 all-time against the Mustangs.  SMU is riding the hot streak against-the-spread and are a tempting underdog play here Wednesday.

 

Point spread

Louisville opened as three-point road favorites here, with a total hovering around 135 points. (Line updates and matchup report details).

 

Why Louisville can cover the spread

Though they're in after having their seven-game winning streak snapped on Saturday when they lost at Memphis, the Cardinals have no choice but to refocus for their regular-season road finale.

They know the Mustangs are out for revenge. This game is being treated as a must-win. They're 4-0 straight-up after a loss this season.

 

Why SMU can cover the spread

The Mustangs step to the floor on a nice little roll right now, as they earned their third consecutive win, a 70-55 victory over Central Florida on Saturday. The Mustangs are in third place in the AAC conference standings, behind Louisville and Cincinnati, and a win here puts them in a position to overtake second place heading into the final weekend.

They boast a 13-3 ATS streak overall and 8-1 ATS in their last nine home games.

 

Smart pick

Though Louisville averages 81.7 points per game and ranks No. 1 nationally in scoring margin (+19.8), it is taking on a highly defensive Mustangs team that has gotten progressively better heading into this contest.

During this three-game win streak, the Mustangs have won by 4, 9 and 15 points. They've held six of their last seven opponents to 65 points or less. And since SMU has covered 13 of its last 16 and eight of nine at home, the home pup looks awfully attractive here.

 

Power rankings

Louisville No. 3, SMU No. 75 (per Odds Shark NCAA basketball power ranks)

 

Trends

  • SMU is 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games
  • SMU is 8-1 ATS at home in their last nine games
  • Louisville is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games on the road
  • Louisville has played six straight unders when road favorites

 

Note: All spread and odds data powered by Odds Shark. Follow on Twitter for injury updates and line-move updates.

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