College Football Picks: Take SMU +5.5 at Home vs. East Carolina

David Lawrence

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 8:14 PM GMT

Tuesday, Sep. 29, 2015 8:14 PM GMT

East Carolina Pirates are coming off a great victory. SMU Mustangs are coming off a terrible loss. Yet, SMU has shown that it can challenge really good teams. This is a very difficult game to pick.

Momentum
The East Carolina Pirates beat the Virginia Tech Hokies for the second straight year on Saturday, and won at home in the series with the Hokies for the first time since 1992. East Carolina used its running game to get Virginia Tech’s defense off balance. The Hokies were expecting a lot of passes, since that’s what East Carolina used to beat Virginia Tech a year ago. However, East Carolina changed things up and got great results from it. The Pirates are going to be flowing with confidence in this game.

SMU, on the other hand, suffered what college football bettors and analysts call a hangover. SMU trailed TCU by only five points, 42-37, late in a game on September 19, and almost pulled off the huge upset against the Horned Frogs. The failure to do that left this team drained, and so a week later, the Mustangs seemed to have nothing left for James Madison of the FCS. The game was yet another shootout – SMU has been involved in a lot of them this year – but the Mustangs couldn’t win it. Their defense just wasn’t able to do much of anything, and now a young ballclub under a first-year head coach, Chad Morris, has to try to regain its focus and intensity, which were lacking last week on defense.

 

Line Moves
The college football odds  started at minus -4.5 points for East Carolina, and has moved up to 5.5 points. People are rightly impressed by what East Carolina has done and disapproving of what SMU did in its failure against James Madison. Which development is more responsible for the line jump is anyone’s guess, but the idea that both are playing a part in the line jump? That’s pretty much impossible to deny at this point.

 

Notable Injuries
The Pirates have offensive lineman Dontae Levingston listed as questionable for this game with a shoulder injury. Linebacker Devaris Brunson is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Linebacker Jeton Beavers is out indefinitely with an ACL injury. Running back Marquez Grayson is out indefinitely with a leg injury. As a reminder, Blake Kemp is the starting quarterback for this team, since original starter Kurt Benkert got injured in late August. However, James Summers was used as a running quarterback last weekend against Virginia Tech.

In addition to three players being ruled out for the season back in August (a wide receiver, a running back, and an offensive lineman), SMU more recently lost offensive lineman Daniel McCarty for the season with a knee injury.

 

Handicapping The Game
The SMU team which tested Baylor and TCU into the second half can win this game. The SMU team which didn’t play well at all on defense against James Madison will lose this game. Bet that the SMU team which played Baylor and TCU will show up. Take the Mustangs with your college football picks.

College Football Pick: SMU +5.5 at 5Dimes

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