Two of college football’s most prolific offenses are set to clash in primetime on Saturday night as the SMU Mustangs take on the BYU Cougars in the New Mexico Bowl. Unfortunately, a combination of injuries, opt-outs and transfers on both teams could wind up undermining the matchup. As far as college football betting picks are concerned, the stream of personnel news has caused the SMU vs BYU odds to experience a drastic adjustment.
The following game preview provides the college football betting odds, trends and FEI Index ratings before sharing our official SMU vs BYU prediction for the New Mexico Bowl matchup.
SMU vs BYU Prediction | College Football Betting Picks
New Mexico Bowl
SMU Mustangs (7-5, 5-3 AAC) vs. BYU Cougars (7-5)
Date: Saturday, December 17, 2022
Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
Venue: University Stadium — Albuquerque, NM
After starting the season 3-4, SMU managed to win four of its final five games to secure bowl eligibility. With quarterback Tanner Mordecai and star receiver Rashee Rice leading the way, the Mustangs finished tenth in the country in scoring offense at 37.8 points per game. SMU actually scored 40+ points in six of its seven wins! Unfortunately, the Mustangs will be without Rice in the New Mexico Bowl. The nation’s second-leading receiver (1,355 yards) and future NFL draftee will miss the bowl game with a toe injury.
Coming into the year, some felt that BYU was capable of challenging for a New Year’s Six Bowl bid. Although the Cougars ultimately fell well short of those lofty expectations, they were able to win their final three games to gain bowl eligibility. Whether or not BYU will have many key contributors available for Saturday’s game is another story. Quarterback Jaren Hall headlines a list of players who have either already been ruled out or who are still on the fence as far as playing in the New Mexico Bowl.
SMU vs BYU College Football Betting Picks and Odds
Moneyline: SMU: (-172) | BYU: (+152)
Point Spread: SMU: -4.5 (-110) | BYU: +4.5 (-110)
Total: 64 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)
College Football FEI Ratings
The following table shares the Fremeau Efficiency Index rankings for both teams involved in this New Mexico Bowl matchup. The purpose of the FEI ratings is to represent the per-possession scoring advantage that a team would be expected to have on a neutral field against an average opponent. The rankings for offense and defense are out of 131 total FBS-level teams.
Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) ratings are from Football Outsiders
|Team||Overall FEI (Rk)||OFEI (Rk)||DFEI (Rk)|
|SMU||.17 (52)||.96 (19)||-.55 (106)|
|BYU||.02 (66)||.86 (22)||-.68 (113)|
SMU vs BYU College Football Betting Trends
- Mustangs are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss.
- The total has gone UNDER in five of the Mustangs’ last six bowl games.
- The OVER is 9-1 in the Mustangs’ last ten games after playing Memphis.
- Cougars are 5-0 ATS in their last five games after rushing for more than 200 yards in their previous game.
- The OVER is 4-1 in the Cougars’ last five games following a straight up win.
- Cougars are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games played on a grass field surface.
- Mustangs are just 1-9 straight up and 2-8 ATS in their last ten games against FBS Independents, but this marks their first such matchup since 2011.
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SMU vs BYU Prediction | College Football Betting Picks
SMU and BYU had to regularly achieve high-scoring offensive outputs out of necessity this season. To call the defenses of both teams sub-par would be an understatement. The Cougars rank 94th in FBS in scoring defense allowing 30.4 points per game. Meanwhile, the Mustangs finished as one of the ten worst scoring defenses in the country allowing 36.4 points per contest.
On the contrary, both teams achieved top 25 rankings in adjusted offensive efficiency. As such, it’s no wonder why the SMU vs BYU odds first opened the New Mexico Bowl game total at a gaudy line of 73.5. Of course, as players like Rashee Rice and Jaren Hall have been ruled out, the total has plummeted. At the time of writing, the current over/under of 64 reflects a line move of 9.5 points!
The Mustangs will certainly feel Rice’s absence, but the offense as a whole should be alright so long as Tanner Mordecai is under center. The junior gunslinger finished 18th in the country in total passing yards for the season. From a scoring standpoint, there were only four games all season in which the Mustangs were held below the 30-point threshold. In two of those, they still finished with 27 points.
Meanwhile, BYU will have to turn to Boise State transfer Cade Feenegan in the bowl game with Hall out. On the bright side, the Cougars’ rushing attack dominated in the regular-season finale against Stanford. Considering that SMU allowed the seventh-most rushing yards per contest (212.4) in all of college football, one has to believe that Christopher Brooks could be primed for another huge game on the ground.
Given the massive line move that has already transpired, it’s impossible to advise betting on the Under at this point. Despite being shorthanded, both offenses should still be able to find success against the inferior defenses lining up opposite of them. Add in the fact that BYU’s second-leading tackler went into the transfer portal and there’s enough ammunition here to consider buying back on the game total.
UNDER THE TOTAL will be our official college football betting SMU vs BYU prediction for the New Mexico Bowl.
For what it’s worth, the ESPN Matchup Predictor gives SMU a 52.5% chance to win this game outright.
Bet: OVER 64 (-110 at BetOnline Sportsbook)