The East Carolina Pirates (3-6) travel to University Park, Texas this weekend for an American Athletic Conference clash with the #23 overall SMU Mustangs (8-1). Kickoff is set for 12:00 PM EST on November 9th at Gerald J. Ford Stadium and the game will be televised on ESPNU.

Taking a look at the Week 11 college football odds, SMU opened as a 23-point home favorite earlier this week. The spread has come down by two full points after early betting, as the Mustangs are currently available at -21. The total for the game is sitting at 71 points.

Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: SMU vs East Carolina

East Carolina lost a heart-breaker at home against #17 overall Cincinnati last weekend, falling 46-43 to drop to 3-6 on the season overall. The Pirates appeared to be well on their way to pulling off a massive upset before completely collapsing down the stretch, getting outscored 18-3 in the fourth quarter en route to a three-point defeat. QB Holton Ahlers was fantastic, going 32/52 for 535 passing yards and four touchdowns through the air. Ahlers also found the end zone on the ground while RB Trace Christian averaged a team-high 4.8 yards per carry. WR C.J. Johnson torched the Bearcats secondary, exploding for 283 receiving yards and a touchdown on a season-high 12 catches. Overall, East Carolina gained well over 600 total yards and scored five touchdowns on offense despite coming up just short on the scoreboard.

The Pirates clearly didn’t have a good outing on the other side of the ball against Cincinnati, giving up almost 500 total yards of offense and five touchdowns. East Carolina had no answer for Bearcats RB Michael Warren II, as he racked up 141 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.

SMU lost their first game of the season last weekend after coming out on the wrong end of a 54-48 decision against #19 overall Memphis. The Mustangs scored 24 points over the final 15 minutes of the game but still couldn’t find a way to overcome getting outscored 17-7 in the third quarter. QB Shane Buechele certainly did his part, going 35/54 for 456 passing yards and three touchdowns through the air. RB Ke’Mon Freeman was solid on the ground, rushing for 74 yards and two touchdowns on six carries. James Proche also got in on the scoring parade, hauling in 13 catches for 149 receiving yards and a score. As a whole, SMU generated well over 500 total yards of offense and scored six touchdowns against a shell-shocked Tigers defense.

The Mustangs were brutal defensively against Memphis, getting torched for well over 500 total yards and five touchdowns. SMU couldn’t find a way to slow down Tigers WR Damonte Coxie, as he made a team-high seven catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: SMU -21

As solid as East Carolina played against Cincinnati last weekend, I think they may have a bit of an emotional letdown on the road against an SMU squad that will be hungry to get back in the win column after suffering their first loss of the year. The Pirates have also been average against the spread on the road so far this season, going 2-2 ATS in four games. The Mustangs offense has certainly been firing on all cylinders lately as well, scoring at least 40 points in six out of their last seven games. While I am a bit concerned about their play on defense, I’m not so sure that the Pirates will be able to keep up after getting held to 20 points or less in five games this year already. If this spread doesn’t increase at all prior to kickoff, I’m willing to lay the 21 points and roll with the big home favorite.

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It is also important to note that Southern Methodist has really excelled against the spread this year, going a very impressive 6-2-1 ATS over their first nine games. The Mustangs have also taken care of business at home lately, covering the number in three out of their last four outings at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. On the other side, East Carolina is only 1-4 against the spread over the last five meetings between these two American Athletic Conference rivals. I’m going to take a shot with SMU against the spread on Saturday afternoon – give me the Mustangs to cover!