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How and what to watch for No. 9 Cincinnati vs. No. 16 SMU

A ranked showdown between two AAC foes will take place in Dallas on Saturday night as Cincinnati and SMU will try to stake their claim at the top of the conference.

Desmond Ridder #9 of the Cincinnati Bearcats walks to the field before a game against the South Florida Bulls at Nippert Stadium on October 3, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The showcase game of the AAC and perhaps the entire Group of Five is set to take place late Saturday night when the No. 9 Cincinnati Bearcats head on down to Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas to battle the No. 16 SMU Mustangs.

Saturday’s top-25 matchup will be the Bearcats’ first time taking the field since their 28-7 victory over USF on Oct. 3. Following an open week, last week’s scheduled game against Tulsa was postponed due to positive COVID tests. At 3-0, Luke Fickell’s team has held firm defensively so far but has shown inconsistencies on the offensive side of the ball, as evidenced in the aforementioned USF game where quarterback Desmond Ridder threw three interceptions.

After a breakout season in 2019, Sonny Dykes’ Mustangs have shown no signs of letting up, streaking out to a 5-0 start where three of their wins have come by only one score. A 34-yard game-winning field goal by Chris Naggar lifted SMU over Tulane in a 37-34 overtime victory last Thursday.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch Cincinnati vs. SMU Saturday, October 24th at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2, and you can stream it via the ESPN app with a cable or streaming login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Cincinnati at SMU (-2.5)
Point Total: O/U 56
Money line: Cincinnati (+108), SMU (-132)

  • Each of Cincinnati’s last nine games as a road underdog have gone under the total points line.
  • The home team has covered in seven of SMU’s last eight games.

The Best Bet

Styles create fights and Saturday’s matchup will pit Cincinnati’s defense, ranked No. 5 in defensive SP+, against the prolific offense of SMU, ranked No. 14 in offensive SP+.

With the factor of potential rust on Cincinnati’s side along with the weirdness that can accompany a late 9 p.m. kick, I’ll lean with the Shane Buechele and the SMU offense getting the job done on Saturday. With where these two teams are going, they could find themselves battling each other again for the conference title in early December.

Pick: SMU -2.5

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