SMU vs. Cincinnati College Football Week 12 Preview and Best Bet

Brandon Crossley #1 of the Southern Methodist Mustangs. Tim Warner/Getty Images/AFP

The SMU Mustangs might have just enough legs to beat the NCAAF odds this Saturday when they visit the Cincinnati Bearcats.

SMU Mustangs vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

Saturday, November 20, 2021 – 03:30 PM EST at Nippert Stadium

Two weeks ago in this space, we recommended betting both sides of the Big Ten matchup between the Penn State Nittany Lions (who were available at –9.5) and the Maryland Terrapins (who were available at +11).

Penn State scored one touchdown too many with 2:39 left to win 31-14, but the chance to win both bets, or get a win and a push – while only risking the vigorish on both games – was too much to pass up.

There’s another arbitrage opportunity coming up this Saturday when the SMU Mustangs visit the No. 5 Cincinnati Bearcats. At press time, the Mustangs are priced at +12.5 (–112) at SugarHouse, while DraftKings have Cincinnati at –10.5 (–105) on their NCAAF odds board.

A small bet on SMU seems like a good choice here, but’s let’s take a quick look at the math and see if we should hit the easy button and put both sides in our college football picks.

Meet Me In The Middle

Again, we don’t have any moneyline arbitrage to make our lives easier, but if we convert those point spreads to equivalent “fair” moneylines using the charts at Wizard of Odds, then tack on the vigorish at both sportsbooks, we get something close to SMU +443 and Cincy –346.

Plug those numbers into an online arbitrage calculator, and the recommendation is to bet $100 bucks on the Bearcats and $23.74 on the Mustangs, locking in a profit of 4.17 percent. That’s not bad. Even though we don’t have the magic number 10 in our range, that 4.17 percent is still better than the 2.51 percent that was available for the Penn State-Maryland matchup.

Not that we can actually manipulate our bet sizes to take advantage of these spreads, but by the looks of things, the probability of the ‘Cats winning by exactly 11 or 12 makes this the right play.

Mustang Sally

If you’re not into arbitrage, the fact that SMU is available at +12.5 (–112), as opposed to +350 on the actual moneylines at Caesars Sportsbook and elsewhere, makes the Mustangs (8-2 SU, 6-4 ATS) the obvious choice against the spread.

That might not have been the case three weeks ago after SMU lost their first game of the season; they did respond by losing their next two games SU and ATS, but last week, the Mustangs dug deep and beat the UCF Knights 55-28 as 7-point home faves.

Will SMU keep their hoof on the gas now that they’re back on the road? Maybe. Last week wasn’t Senior Week for the Mustangs, so maybe they’re not ready to fold their tents just yet.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati (10-0 SU, 5-5 ATS) are still trying to crack the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings, but they’ve already fallen from No. 2 to No. 5 on the AP poll, and they check in at No. 6 on the SP+ charts at ESPN. Any argument that they’re getting shafted ignores the poor strength of schedule the ‘Cats have faced, and provides more value for SMU supporters. Bet accordingly.

NCAAF Pick: SMU +12.5 (–112) at SugarHouse