SMU Mustangs at Arkansas State Red Wolves Week 1 Pick

August 31, 7:00 PM EDT

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
Arkansas State -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. 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 has won two of those three meetings. Most recently, the Mustangs rolled Arkansas State 44-21 in Abilene when they hosted the Red Wolves in 2017. 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.

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Southern Methodist Mustangs at Arkansas State Red Wolves Key Injury Concerns

Heading into the season opener for both the Mustangs and the Red Wolves, neither squad has any injuries to report.

Southern Methodist Mustangs at Arkansas State Red Wolves Overview

Southern Methodist Mustangs

The Mustangs return 15 starters on both sides of the football and welcome former Texas quarterback Shane Buechele to spearhead an SMU offense that finished 27th in the FBS in passing yards per game in 2018 (271.7 passing yards per game). Buechele will be complemented by three returning starters at Wide Receiver and will be under the stewardship of Head Coach Sonny Dykes who is a purveyor of air raid offenses.

Arkansas State Red Wolves

The Red Wolves come into the 2019-2020 season off an 8-5 campaign in 2018-19 where they capped off their efforts with a crushing overtime loss against Nevada in the Arizona Bowl. The Red Wolves’ offense can be quite frightening as they finished 17th in America in total offense (466.2 yards per game). This unit returns a 1,000-yard receiver in Kirk Merritt and a likely 1,000-yard rusher in Running Back Marcel Brown who will lead the rushing efforts.

Reasons To Avoid Southern Methodist Mustangs

The emergent trend of home-field advantage is one that has caught our attention. The Mustangs situationally look to be on the wrong side of history entering into this affair as a slight road underdog. However, as we have mentioned being the road dog in this series has not been profitable, and for that reason, there is plenty of merit in fading SMU here. However, I also believe that the Red Wolves will be extra incentivized here to win this game after a tragic set of circumstances that affected Head Coach Blake Anderson.

Reasons To Back Arkansas State Red Wolves

Red Wolves Head Coach Blake Anderson has taken an indefinite leave after his wife passed away from cancer weeks before the season commenced. On a personal note, my thoughts and prayers are with the Coach and his loved ones. Nevertheless, unfortunate and awful circumstances such as these have a way of galvanizing teams and the community-at-large. Based on what we have seen in follow-up reports, this is what has happened in the wake of the tragedy. I expect Arkansas State to come out swinging and motivated to not only win this game but perhaps put together a remarkable 2019-2020 campaign to honor their Coach, his family, and his late wife. In the build-up to the 2019-2020 season, Arkansas State was short-listed as a contender to vie for the Sun Belt Conference. Now, they have even more reason to do so.

Southern Methodist at Arkansas State Prediction 08/31/2019

SMU’s defense finished 110th in scoring defense in 2018 giving up an accommodating 35.3 points per game. This is a common trope of the offensive-oriented skipper Sonny Dykes. Unfortunately, SMU’s 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). Against a team like Arkansas State who is known for flexing their offensive muscles, this is a terrible look for the Mustangs. 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. This one will be a blow-out. Be that as it may, we are fortunate to spot less than a field goal.

Free Pick: 
Take Arkansas State -2.5
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