With a point spread nearing five touchdowns and the betting public continuing to pound the heavily favored Baylor Bears, there should be plenty of interest in a potentially high-scoring affair between them and the SMU Mustangs when the two Texas teams square off in a nationally televised matchup.
The Bears led the nation in scoring last year with 52.4 points and 619 yards per game, and oddsmakers could not make totals high enough for them in their first four games, when they scored 70 points or more three times and averaged 70.5.
Point Spread: Bears opened as 30-point favorites; the total was 74 at McLane Stadium, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark Computer Prediction: 58.1-25.4 Bears
Why Southern Methodist Can Cover the Spread
Whenever a team like Baylor enjoys as much offensive success as the school did last year, opposing defenses eventually tend to catch up and figure out a way to at least contain it.
That’s exactly what happened at the end of last season, when the Bears suffered both of their losses in the final four games, averaging 32.5 points, including a season low in a 49-17 setback at Oklahoma State.
The big question: Can SMU’s defense do the job here? Maybe so, as the Mustangs surrendered more than 28 points only once in their last five games to close out 2013 with the under cashing four times. If SMU can hold Baylor in check, a cover is definitely possible.
Why Baylor Can Cover the Spread
Conversely, an offense like the Bears can score points like crazy and knock out an opponent from the start. Even though they failed to cover three of their last four games, Baylor started the year on fire, beating the spread eight times during a season-opening nine-game winning streak.
Half of those covers had lines of 30 points or more, showing just how lethal the Bears can be when their offense is running on all cylinders. As home chalk of 10 points or more, the Bears have rewarded backers with 13 trips to the payout window in 14 tries, according to the Odds Shark NCAA football database.
Baylor also returns quarterback Bryce Petty for his senior year, which can only help fuel head coach Art Briles’ offensive machine.
Petty could follow in the footsteps of former Bears QB Robert Griffin III as the school’s second Heisman Trophy winner (he currently rates as a 12-1 shot) if he gets off to a good start here and nearly puts up better numbers than last season.
Going against the grain is not a popular way to bet in a game like this, especially with Baylor’s offense expected to get even more hype heading into the season opener. As the public continues to move the total even higher leading up to kickoff, sharp bettors should get an excellent opportunity to bet below a bigger number in taking the under.
The Mustangs saw a total as high as 80 last year on the road against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, resulting in a 42-13 loss that obviously fell well below the closing number. Watch for a similar outcome in Waco.
- Southern Methodist is 4-1 ATS in its last five games
- Baylor is 15-2 straight up in its last 17 games
- Baylor is 13-1 ATS as double-digit home favorites since 2010
- SMU is 3-13-1 ATS vs. Big 12 since 2002
All point-spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, and all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury updates and line-move updates, and get the free odds tracker app.