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Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. SMU Mustangs Point Spread - Pick

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-6 SU, 3-5 ATS) vs. SMU Mustangs (5-2 SU, 5-2 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Friday, October 27, 2017 at 9PM EST
Where: Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, Texas
TV: ESPN 2

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: TLSA +10/SMU -10
Over/Under Total: 75.5

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane come to Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas to take on the SMU Mustangs in American Athletic Conference action on Friday. SMU is putting together a nice season, near the top of the standings in the West division. On Saturday, they scored an overtime win over Cincinnati, 31-28. They look for a conference win this Friday against Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane may be just 2-6, but they've shown they can be dangerous in the right spots. On Saturday, they lost on the road to Connecticut, 20-14. These teams combined for an exciting game last season, with Tulsa winning a back-and-forth battle, 43-40, in overtime. Tulsa is now without a lot of the weapons they used to carry that win.

Tulsa is not putting together a very good season and it looks like a bowl game is pretty much a lost cause at this point. That doesn't mean they won't try hard. And they've shown they can be something more than merely a thorn in the side of opponents, even the better ones they face. They put up 66 points in a win over Louisiana-Lafayette and a few weeks ago, beat Houston by 28 as nearly-two touchdown underdogs. They lost close ones to Toledo, 54-51, and New Mexico, 16-13. They weren't terribly gritty against Connecticut on Saturday. They were never really in the game, only coming to life in the last half of the fourth quarter when they put up two touchdowns. At the end of the day, they don't play a lot of defense and their aerial attack is pretty humdrum in most cases. But they can run the heck out of the ball and sometimes on the right day, that can be enough.

The Golden Hurricane offense averages about 33 points per game and they can put up points in the right settings. Luke Skipper has been getting the nod over the last several weeks at quarterback and while he helped them get the big win over Houston and is a little more aerially-inclined, this offense relies on the run-game. With D'Angelo Brewer (questionable) banged-up but in uniform, the run-game was commandeered by Shamari Brooks, who ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns, unfortunately the best of it coming a little too late in the game. Ball-catchers Justin Hobbs, Keenen Johnson, and Nigel Carter each had moments of production, but the bottom-line is that this is a wildly-inconsistent offense with too many moving pieces in the key spots. While it was a tough road spot, to be so inept for three-plus quarters against the likes of Connecticut does not paint this side of the ball in a good light.

For a defense that was getting lit up on a regular basis in the first 5 games of the season, the Tulsa "D" hasn't been so bad the last few weeks. In allowing 37 total points in their last two games, they've been more-resolute, though still readily-exploitable. On Saturday, they were lit up some in the third quarter, but were otherwise solid, coming off a game where they kept a good Houston offense in-check. By the same token, for as good as they run the ball, they can't defend it worth a lick. We'll see how that resonates this week.

Southern Methodist has some nice things on the table if they can stay in winning form. Their only losses of the season were to a highly-ranked TCU team and the aforementioned Houston Cougars earlier this month, 35-22. It was a back-and-forth game with Cincy on Saturday. Cincinnati scored a TD with a two-point conversion to get it to OT late in the 4th quarter, with an SMU field goal tipping things in the Mustangs' favor. To illustrate how non-linear these results can be, SMU beat the same Connecticut team that beat Tulsa last week by three touchdowns. But Tulsa beat the same Houston team that beat SMU 35-22, by four touchdowns. Still, with just two losses and one coming to a top-five team, SMU looks to dive into the second half of their season with gusto.

The SMU offense is pretty viable, averaging 42 points a game, while putting up over 300 yards a game aerially. Sophomore slinger Ben Hicks is just short of 2000 yards with 17 touchdowns. The passing-game is not the only aspect of their offense that can shine. Running backs Xavier Jones, Ke'Mon Freeman, and Braeden West contribute a lot and Freeman already has 8 touchdowns on the ground. Through the air, Hicks connects well with Trey Quinn and Courtland Sutton, who have combined for 1343 yards and 14 touchdowns. WR James Prosche is also a valued contributor.

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SMU's defense is a not nearly as formidable as the other side of the ball. It looms as a constant threat to undermine the team effort. Against the pass, there are holes on this side of the ball. It helps them for the purposes of this matchup that they are more-solid against the run, with some difference-makers up-front. Jordan Wyatt and Rodney Clemons are active in the secondary and can make plays, but they need more help. Linebacker Kyran Mitchell puts a lot of effort into the cause and is adept at getting after the quarterback. DE Justin Lawler is also an effective pass-rusher and had 4 sacks against UConn. In their last three games against middling conference opposition, they have not allowed less than 28 points in any one game.

This Friday Night special gives way to many different takes, many of which are plausible. At home, it's hard to not imagine this SMU offense getting a lot of good things done. But Tulsa is a team that can jump up on a given week and make things happen. That could easily be in the cards this Friday. Granted, their offense didn't get clicking until late last week, but maybe they can carry some of that momentum into this game. For some reason, I see Tulsa hanging in there enough to the point where they get the cover.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane plus 10 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Tulsa vs. SMU game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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