Point spread: Pittsburgh -3.5
The SMU Mustangs, out of Conference-USA clash with the Pittsburgh Panthers, from the Big East this upcoming Saturday in this season’s BBVA Compass Bowl from Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The kick-off is slated for 1 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
SMU finished the regular season at 7-5 straight-up, but posted just two victories in its last six games and went a costly 0-6 against the spread. Overall, the Mustangs were 4-8 ATS and the total stayed ‘under’ in eight of their 12 games. They finished third in Conference-USA’s West Division at 5-3 SU.
The one positive of this roller-coaster season was a passing game that was ranked 22nd in the nation with an average of 277.8 yards per game. J.J. McDermott threw for 3,182 yards and 16 touchdowns, but he completed less than 60 percent of his passes and was picked-off 16 times as well.
Pittsburgh comes into this game at 6-6 SU and 7-5 ATS after becoming bowl eligible with a 33-20 victory over Syracuse as an eight-point home favorite in its final game of the regular season. The Panthers finished tied for fourth in a water-downed Big East at 4-3 SU, but did manage to go 5-0 ATS in its final five games on the year. The total stayed ‘under’ in seven of their 12 games overall.
The Panthers’ offense never seemed to get on track this season with an average of just 211 yards passing and 151.2 yards rushing a game. It was only able to score 25.8 points a game, while giving-up an average of 22.4 points a game on defense.
SMU is 1-4 ATS in its last five non-conference games and 1-6 ATS in its last seven games as an underdog. The total has stayed ‘under’ in its last five games as an underdog.
Pittsburgh is 4-0 ATS in its last four games following an ATS win and 10-2 ATS in its last 12 games against a team with a winning record. The total has stayed ‘under’ in its last five bowl games.
Pitt as already agreed to join the ACC as early as next season, but stick with the Panthers to show some Big East pride by bringing home another bowl victory for this much-maligned major conference.
The Pick: Pittsburgh 28 SMU 23
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.