Shane Buechele

SMU is led by Texas transfer Shane Buechele in an Air Raid offense. Photo from @SMUFootball – Twitter.

  • SMU is a 22.5-point favorite over Texas State in their Labor Day weekend matchup on Saturday, September 5th
  • These two Texas schools have met just twice all-time
  • Read below for analysis and a best bet on one of the first games of the college football season.

The college football season is finally here, and while this Labor Day weekend isn’t as packed as in previous years, there is still plenty of opportunity for action on the slate.

One of the most entertaining matchup will be the air raid clash of Sonny Dykes and Jake Spavital, in which the SMU vs Texas State odds give the Mustangs a clear advantage.

SMU vs Texas State Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total at FanDuel
SMU Mustangs -22.5 (-110) -1400 O 69.5 (-110)
Texas State Bobcats +22.5 (-110) +760 U 69.5 (-110)

Odds taken Sep. 3rd

Can the Pony Express Ride Again?

For the first time in a long time, there is real optimism about the SMU Mustangs. Led by Sonny Dykes, this team is coming off a ten-win season, a campaign in which the Mustangs went to TCU and took down the Horned Frogs and went 6-2 in the AAC on their way to a Boca Raton Bowl defeat.

It wasn’t a perfect 2019, but it was a perfect building block towards 2020.

Now SMU has 7 starters back on offense and 6 on the defense. At quarterback is former Texas passer Shane Buechele, who threw for 3,929 yards and 34 touchdowns a season ago. He connected with Reggie Roberson for 803 yards and 6 scores, and they form a duo that could be one of the AAC’s best connections in 2020.

Sun Belt Struggles for Spavital

In his debut season in San Marcos, things didn’t go well for new head coach Jake Spavital. He opened the year with a 41-7 drubbing courtesy of Texas A&M – where he used to call plays – and finished with a 24-21 loss at Coastal Carolina. In between, the lone victories of the year came against Georgia State, Nicholls, and South Alabama.

The biggest disappointment wasn’t the final record, though. Most observers understood that things wouldn’t be fixed overnight, but there was hope for increased offensive production with a new young air raid guy in charge. Instead, the Bobcats posted 18.4 points per game, putting them at just 121st in the nation.

What’s the Best Bet?

In this matchup between two air raid teams, there’s only one place to go; over. That may seem like the easy, simple answer, but there really is a very strong case to be made for the over here.

The obvious aspect is the matchup of the SMU offense and the Texas State defense. The Mustangs ranked 2nd in the AAC and 7th in the country in scoring, and they’ll take on a defense that only helps them. Texas State gave up 32.6 points per game, good for just 107th in the nation. This was the team’s best unit, which goes to show just how much rebuilding Spavital actually has in front of him.

When it comes to the over, the reason to be so excited is this revamped Bobcat offense. Texas State will bring in four receivers, two tailbacks, and five offensive linemen from the 2020 recruiting class, and a chunk of that group is experienced JUCO transfers. Paired with the young guys who got reps a year ago, this unit is poised for improvement.

Lastly, in this disrupted offseason where COVID-19 has taken away so much prep time, many expect offensive numbers to be down. That will be the case in a lot of places, but not so much for air raid schools.

The air raid system is the easiest offense to learn, with the simplest route concepts and blocking schemes. While most of the nation is still working on traps, pulls, and motions, places like Texas State and SMU have already installed the already small playbook. These offenses will have the least rust to shake off.

The Pick: Over 69.5 (-110)

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