North Texas vs. SMU kicks off Friday (11/10/23) at 9 p.m. EST in Dallas as a home game for the Mustangs. Get North Texas vs. SMU predictions and best bets below as our best bet is that SMU will get off to a hot start by covering the first half spread of -9.5.
North Texas vs. SMU Prediction
The SMU mantra is just keep winning as they try to hold off UTSA and Memphis with a one-game lead in the conference standings. Oddsmakers think they will do just that, opening them as a two-score favorite in a lookahead spot against the North Texas Mean Green. This serves as a lookahead spot as they have Memphis the following week, sitting one game behind the Tigers and would get the tiebreaker should Memphis win.
Before that, the Mustangs need to get the win this week against a far inferior competitor. While this looks like a rout on paper, the outcome heavily stems on the availability of their starting quarterback Preston Stone. He was knocked out of last week’s contest with a head injury, now being listed as questionable heading into this shortened week. The line movement shooting up to -17 from the opener of -14 indicates that he will be able to give it a go, giving SMU fans a sigh of relief.
With Stone under center, the Mustangs should have no issue putting up points in a hurry as the North Texas defense is as bad as it gets. As of this writing, the North Texas defense ranks 129th in Def Success Rate, 124th in Points per Opportunity, 132nd in Havoc, and 72nd in Explosiveness. That is a sharp contrast to a SMU offense that ranks 49th in Success Rate, 29th in Points per Opportunity, ninth in Havoc Allowed and 20th in Explosiveness.
With Preston Stone potentially playing at less than 100%, we may see a more conservative run-heavy game script from the Mustangs. They will to keep him healthy for their hotly contested battle next week. That bodes in their favor as the Mean Green rush defense checks in a lowly 127th in Def Rush Success Rate, 131st in Def Rush PPA and 124th in Def Rush Explosiveness.
SMU is well equipped to slow down the North Texas offense enough to steadily pull away. Especially when on standard downs in the mid field, checking in at fourth in overall Def Success Rate and 22nd in Havoc. They hold opposing offenses to minimal gains on early downs as well as stuffing them on third down, forcing early outs and dominating time of possession.
North Texas vs. SMU Prediction: SMU 1H Spread -9.5
North Texas vs. SMU Best Odds
Even in a lookahead spot, this is the Mustangs game to lose as oddsmakers opened SMU as a -13.5 favorite. With Preston Stone trending toward playing, bettors were quick to smash their spread by taking them up to as high as -17. This bet is heavily predicated toward Stone playing, making this a pass should he be ruled out at last second.
As for the total, oddsmakers think points will be scored at a lightning-quick pace as they opened the number at 67.5. Bettors believe that opened a tad too low, backing the total up to 68.5 as of this writing. This is heavily predicated on the Mean Green’s ability to do their part, having to figure out how to move the ball down the field against the stout SMU defense.
North Texas vs. SMU Key Matchups
Can Preston Stone continue to find success through the air against the North Texas secondary?
Preston Stone Vs. North Texas Secondary
Preston Stone being able to give it a go is vital toward SMU’s success as he has been putting together a great season so far this year. As of writing, Stone has thrown for 2,355 yards, 21 touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s also added another three touchdowns with his legs.
Preston Stone over the last four weeks:
6 drops (adjusted cmp% of 79.7%)
1164 passing yards (291/game)
Dominant stretch. 2025 Senior Bowler, I’d guess.pic.twitter.com/acqk2ZSxMx
— Christian Williams (@CWilliamsNFL) November 7, 2023
Should Stone take the field as expected, he will be in a great position to shred the North Texas secondary with short throws as defending near the line of scrimmage has been an issue. North Texas currently ranks 113th in Def Pass Success Rate, consistently giving up half the distance to gain on early downs and allowing opposing offenses to move the sticks down the field.