New Mexico Bowl SMU Vs. BYU Odds, Picks, Predictions (12/17/22)
Arguably experiencing the most opt outs and injuries in all of the early bowls, BYU and SMU clash in what will be an interesting New Mexico Bowl. BYU has question marks at the most important position while SMU is seeing their outside weapons drop like flies. In what was expected to be a track meet now might turn into a defensive slugfest. Which team of backups will get the job done?
SMU Vs. BYU Odds
Initially opening the spread in SMU’s favor at -2.5, that line has quickly shifted towards their favor as the days went by to as high as -4. Both units are experiencing opt outs and injury uncertainty, making the line movement very intriguing as it passed through the key number of 3. Until injury confirmation, if you lean towards SMU, it may be worth grabbing now as rumors lean towards BYU’s quarterback Jaren Hall being ruled out.
As for the total, oddsmakers initially had this as a very high scoring affair by setting the opening number at 74.5. With both offenses expected to play a plethora of backups in key positions, that number has crashed down to as low as 64.5 as of writing. It’s tough to put your faith in consistent offensive success with backups in, but if this number continues to climb down then the over may be worth a look.
SMU Vs. BYU Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Wait on Jaren Hall news
While I initially played BYU +4 when I thought Jaren Hall was getting closer to suiting up, I simply cannot recommend the same play as the rumors have taken a turn for the worse. Especially since BYU’s second-string quarterback has already been ruled out, leaving the Cougars with third stringer Cade Fennegan who has yet to see the field this year.
His status will be worth monitoring as the BYU offense will need to keep scoring pace with the Mustangs and I fail to see how someone who hasn’t seen the field will be able to do so. Should Jaren Hall be able to give it a go, take the Cougars at no less than +3. If not, it’s SMU or nothing.
It will be vitally important for the Cougar defense to limit the SMU explosive attack to potentially help the Cougar offense keep scoring pace. SMU builds their offensive identity on their ability to connect on the big play, an area where the Cougar defense ranks well above average in Def Explosiveness.
Speaking of Explosiveness, that will be the key metric to watch in this battle. While BYU will hinge their success in limiting SMU’s, they are presented an opportunity to beat them at their own game with the Mustangs ranking near dead last in both Def Pass and Rush Explosiveness.
(Tallysight pick tile here)
SMU Vs. BYU Key Matchups
If Jaren Hall cannot suit up, who will carry the offensive production for the Cougars? How will SMU’s offense respond without their star receiver?
BYU offensive production vs SMU rush defense
With the potential for BYU’s air raid to be negated by the absence of Hall, we may see the Cougars lean more towards the run with Christopher Brooks leading the backfield. He was a capable running back throughout the season, running for 729 yards and five touchdowns in a pass heavy offense.
He will be poised for a successful outing as the SMU offense has been horrendous at stopping the run game. They rank near dead last in Def Rush Success, Def Rush Explosiveness, and Def Rush PPA. If BYU can get past the 40, we can expect points to be put on the board as SMU ranks 115th in Def Finishing Drives. They will need every scoring chance they can get in this track meet.
SMU pass attack vs BYU pass defense
SMU also faces major uncertainty to their offensive identity due to opts outs, as stud receiver Rashee Rice will not be playing in this game. He was a force this year, ending the season with 96 receptions for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns.
A major loss to their explosive attack as no other receiver had more than 31 receptions throughout the air. Even against a BYU defense that is weak in Def Pass Success Rate, SMU will have little time to shift their identity to maintain the same passing success that they have been accustomed to.
Should Jaren Hall be able to suit up, take the Cougars at no lower than +3. If not, pass on this and wait for a live opportunity.