SMU vs TCU Picks and Predictions: The Iron Skillet Back on the Line in Texas

After a game lost last year, rivals SMU and TCU will battle for the 100th time in their shared history with the Iron Skillet on the line. Find out which team will have the edge in a high-scoring affair with our college football betting picks.

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2021 7:30 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Max Duggan TCU Horned Frogs college football
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

A pair of undefeated Texas teams clash at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas, where the TCU Horned Frogs host the SMU Mustangs at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 25. 

This will be the 100th meeting between these two rivals but emotions will be running higher than ever, as they were unable to play one another in 2020. 

Will the Horned Frogs claim the Iron Skillet for the first eighth time in nine years? Keep reading our free college football picks and predictions for SMU vs. TCU to find out.

SMU vs TCU odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

When this line opened, SMU was initially a 10-point underdog in this game. Now, the Mustangs are getting 9.5 almost everywhere you look, with the consensus seemingly backing SMU. The public also seems to really like the Over, which has moved from 64.0 to 65.5 on most books. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full college football odds before placing your bets.

SMU vs TCU picks

Picks made on 9/23/2021 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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SMU vs TCU game info

Location: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
Date: Saturday, September 25, 2021
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
TV: FS1

SMU vs TCU betting preview

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NCAA football weather info.

Key injuries

SMU: TJ McDaniel RB (Questionable).
TCU: Mikel Barkley WR (Out).
Find our latest NCAA football injury reports.

Betting trend to know

TCU is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games following an against the spread loss. Find more NCAA betting trends for SMU vs. TCU.

SMU vs TCU predictions

Two years ago, the Mustangs earned a 41-38 victory as 7.5-point underdogs against the Horned Frogs in this very building. That win marked the first time that SMU had beaten TCU since 2011, and they’ll be hoping to make it two in a row when they meet on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, this matchup isn’t one that looks good for them on paper. 

On the season, only eight teams in college football are giving up more yards per game through the air than SMU’s 316.0. That’s trouble for the Mustangs when factoring in who they’re facing in this game. 

TCU’s Max Duggan is a superb dual-threat quarterback for Gary Patterson’s team, and it’s his legs that do most of the work. Duggan rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown in a TCU win over the California Golden Bears two weeks ago, and he rushed for over 500 yards in each of the previous two seasons. 

The reason that’s significant is that the only hole in Duggan’s game is arguably his passing ability. He’s not horrible, but he’s not the type to go out and win a game with his arm. Having said that, Duggan is more than capable of shredding a Mustangs defense that just isn’t disciplined in the secondary. TCU should have receivers open very often in this one, and Duggan will have no issues dealing in a situation like that. 

Defensively, TCU is in the Top 50 in both passing yards and rushing yards allowed per game. This is a balanced Horned Frogs group that should be one of the best in the Big 12 this season. Last year, TCU was 35th in the nation in scoring defense and the team brought back seven defensive starters. The Horned Frogs had some trouble getting stops against the Golden Bears last game, but they did have a bye week to figure things out. That extra time also gave TCU the opportunity to strictly prepare for this game, so you should expect this defense to be ready to make plays against SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai, who has more passing touchdowns than anybody in football this year. 

Overall, the difference in this game is that TCU’s defense is just a bit better than SMU’s. In what should be a somewhat high-scoring affair, a few extra stops can make a massive difference. 

As previously mentioned, the Horned Frogs should be able to figure things out defensively, as this is a talented group that prepares the right way. However, the Mustangs have an extremely explosive passing game, and a good offense often tends to get the best of a good defense. Even with SMU not likely to cover in this game, the team is going to be able to move the ball and score some points. The same goes for TCU, which has some impressive playmakers and a matchup with a defense that isn’t all that organized. 

Last year’s meeting between these teams also saw the two combining to score 79 points in a game with a total of 54.5. The Over has actually hit in five of the last seven meetings between these two. Also, the Over is 7-2 in SMU’s last nine games after having allowed 325 or more passing yards under head coach Sonny Dykes. 

NCAA parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed our SMU vs. TCU picks, you could win $27.27 on a $10 bet?

Use our college football parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Where can I bet on college football odds?

You can bet on college football odds at every online and casino sportsbook, including NCAA moneylines, spreads, Over/Under totals, and a ton of college football prop odds. Head over to our best football betting sites for the top spots to bet on college football odds in your area.

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