The Cincinnati Bearcats are coming off a bye week and the time off allowed quarterback Ben Bryant, Tyler Scott, and Corey Kiner to get healthy after injuries. All three are expected to play.
The SMU Mustangs snapped a three-game losing streak last week, defeating Navy 40-34.
Can the Mustangs upset the Bearcats at home or will the road favorites get their sixth consecutive victory? Continue reading for free college football picks for Cincinnati vs. SMU on October 22.
Cincinnati vs SMU best odds
Cincinnati vs SMU picks and predictions
The bye week was a godsend for the Bearcats. They were hit hard by injuries, especially in the skill positions.
The biggest concern was quarterback Ben Bryant. The senior was hit in the head early in the fourth quarter of the South Florida game and went into concussion protocols.
Wide receiver Tyler Scott suffered an ankle injury in that win two weeks ago. In addition, running back Corey Kiner has been nursing a hand injury.
Head Coach Luke Fickell said he hopes that all three will be able to play.
"You want those guys to be at their best in order to play," Fickell said, according to Russ Heltman of All Bearcats. "The uniqueness that we've got is we have enough depth that you don't want to put a guy out there that's not going to be able to play and perform at the best of his ability. So, we'll see as we continue to push along. But we don't have anything (definitive status updates) as of yet."
If the three return, they will be leading an offense that is ranked 47th in the country in average yards per game at 435.5. Bryant, who practiced Wednesday, is 53rd among QBs with 1,561 passing yards on the year.
SMU is 60th in passing yards allowed, averaging 223 yards per game.
An area that Cincinnati will try and exploit might be the Mustangs’ run defense. They are 123rd in the country, allowing an average of 209 yards per game. The Bearcats have a capable ground game, averaging 156.8 yards per game, good for 60th in the country.
SMU makes its living with the pass. It's fourth in FBS, averaging 351.8 yards per game through the air. The only problem is the Mustangs are without two of their starting wide receivers.
Jake Bailey and Beau Corrales are probably out for Saturday. Another development was that All-American candidate Rashee Rice has been dealing with a toe injury and wasn’t at practice on Tuesday.
That is going to put more pressure on the backup receivers. They responded against Navy, but this is going to be a much bigger test. It might be a hurdle too big to overcome.
My best bet: Cincinnati -3.5 (-108 at PointsBet)
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Cincinnati vs SMU spread analysis
The line opened for this game at Cincinnati -3 but went up to -3.5 on the news that the health of Bearcats starters was better than expected.
If all three aforementioned skill players are in action, it could be a long day for the Mustangs.
Don’t discount the bye week. The Bearcats needed the rest and are 4-1 in their last five games following a week’s rest.
This season, Cincinnati is 2-3-1 against the spread while the Mustangs are 1-5.
This might be a good spot to look at the first half. The spread is -1.5 in Cincinnati’s favor and I would be inclined to take that as well as laying the 3.5 points.
The Mustangs are depleted at wide receiver. They are a throw-first, run-second team. If their receiving corps is not able to go, they will be depending on second and in some cases, third-string players.
The Bearcats are 19th in the country in pass defense, allowing an average of 186.3 yards per game. They should be able to defend whoever the Mustangs put out there to catch the ball.
Cincinnati vs SMU Over/Under analysis
The Bearcats have been a scoring machine this season. In their five victories, they have scored 63, 38, 45, 31, and 28 points. Even in their opening week loss to Arkansas, they scored 24 points.
Even though SMU has lost three games, that hasn’t stopped the Mustangs from putting points on the board. They have scored 48, 45, 27, 34, 19, and 40 so far this season.
The total opened at 61.5 but was bet down to 58.5 at most sportsbooks. That was presumably on the news that Cincinnati’s skill players wouldn’t be able to play. Now that it looks like all three will be in action I would jump on this before it goes back up.
The Under has hit the last two games for the Bearcats but before that, they had four straight Overs. They are also 3-0-1 on the Over when allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
For the Mustangs, they are 5-1 on the Over in their last six home games. They are also 2-1 in their last three games on the Over.
This should be a shootout. I don’t think SMU will be able to keep up with the Bearcats, but they will get their share of points to do their part to push this game Over the total.
Cincinnati vs SMU betting trend to know
Cincinnati is 5-1 against SMU all time and has won the last three contests. Find more NCAA betting trends for Cincinnati vs. SMU.
Cincinnati vs SMU game info
|Location:||Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX|
|Date:||Saturday, October 22, 2022|
|Kickoff:||12:00 p.m. ET|
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