SMU (@2.15) vs Arkansas State (@1.72)

Our Prediction:

Arkansas State will win

SMU – Arkansas State Match Prediction | 29-08-2019 19:00

Arkansas State was 62nd in the country in points surrendered on defense with 333 last year. The Arkansas State Red Wolves pass defense also surrendered a total of 2,311 yards in the air, which was 13th overall in total pass defense. They gave up a total of 4,802 yards on D, which was 50th in D-1. Opponent offenses completed 192 throws on 338 attempts against the Arkansas State defense last season, ranking them 14th and 21st in the nation. The Red Wolves were 53rd in yards per play allowed with 5.6. The Red Wolves had 82 penalties for 759 yards on defense last year. Their rushing defense gave up 524 attempts for 2,491 yards last season, putting them in 97th place in the country against the run. That placed them 94th in college football.

The downside is that the Mustangs play a schedule that features nine teams that played in a bowl game last season. That means SMU cant afford another slow start, making the season opener against Arkansas State critical for their bowl hopes. On the bright side, Dykes has eight years of head coaching experience under his belt, so hell know how to get things turned around in 2019.

SMU vs. Arkansas State Fearless Prediction & Game Preview

The Mustangs had an ATS record of 5-7-0 while their over/under record was 5-7-0. The Red Wolves had an over/under record of 4-9-0 and they were 6-7-0 against the spread last year. The opening line for this game has Arkansas State as 5.5 point favorites. The Arkansas State Red Wolves host the SMU Mustangs at Centennial Bank Stadium on Saturday, August 31, 2019.

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College Football Free Pick Against the Spread: SMU +2.5

The Arkansas State Red Wolves will kick off the 2019-2020 college football season with a non-conference collision between the American Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt Conference. Most recently, the Mustangs rolled Arkansas State 44-21 in Abilene when they hosted the Red Wolves in 2017. Kick-off set for 7:00 PM ET and televised on ESPN+. Southern Methodist and Arkansas State have met on three previous occasions spanning the last 14 years. SMU was easy money in the contest covering as a 2.5-point favorite. Both the Home Team and Favorite are 3-0 SU and ATS over this three-game sample. SMU has won two of those three meetings.

SMUs defense finished 110th in scoring defense in 2018 giving up an accommodating 35.3 points per game. This one will be a blow-out. This is a common trope of the offensive-oriented skipper Sonny Dykes. SMU likely won't be able to keep the fired-up Arkansas State offense off the field, and when the Red Wolves have the ball, they will have little resistance in scoring. Against a team like Arkansas State who is known for flexing their offensive muscles, this is a terrible look for the Mustangs. Unfortunately, SMUs offense is very weak when it comes to running the rock as they finished 119th in rushing yards per game (115.5 rushing yards per game). Be that as it may, we are fortunate to spot less than a field goal.

Dykes took over at the tail end of a 7-6 season in 2017 after previous coach Chad Morris left for Arkansas. However, Dykes and the Mustangs couldnt overcome a 0-3 start in 2018, including losses to TCU and Michigan. SMU finished last season 5-7, suffering a 3-point loss to Tulsa in the season finale with bowl eligibility on the line. At SMU, Sonny Dykes is entering his second full season in charge of the Mustangs.

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In the end, I think SMU will win as a road underdog. Also, it doesnt help that Arkansas State is operating without their head coach, even if the Red Wolves are playing with a little extra motivation with their head coach away from the team. If Im splitting hairs in this matchup, I have to give SMU the slight edge.

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The Arkansas State Red Wolves averaged 6.2 yards per play, which was 26th in the nation. They ran 978 plays last year for 6,078 yards, which ranked them 19th in Division 1 in total offense. As a team they accumulated a total of 300 1st downs last season, ranking them 28th overall as an offensive unit. The Red Wolves were penalized on offense 99 times for 885 yards last year, which had them 13th in the country in penalties. On the ground Arkansas State ran for 2,418 yards, which ranked 47th in college football. The Red Wolves were 50th in the country in points scored with 394 last season. They ran 506 times, averaging 4.8 yards per rush as a unit.

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