Dec. 20 DXL FRISCO BOWL: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (6-6) vs SMU Mustangs (7-5)

The Southern Methodist University Mustangs will head into the Frisco bowl with a new head coach,  after Chad Morris accepted the head coaching job at Arkansas on Dec. 6. The Mustangs announced former California and also former Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes as their new head coach on Dec. 11, and Dykes will actually be making his head coaching debut for the Mustangs in this bowl game. The Mustangs will be playing this game in Frisco, Texas less than 30 miles from their campus.

This is game will be Louisiana Tech’s fourth straight bowl appearance under fifth year head coach Skip Holtz. The Bulldogs are 3-0 in bowl games under Holtz. This season the Bulldogs qualified for a bowl by winning their last two games of the season, against 0-12 UTEP and against 6-5 UT San Antonio.

SMU will be making their first bowl appearance since 2012. SMU five losses came to teams with a combined record of 45-15, which included three teams with at least ten wins, and no loses to any teams with a losing record. Louisiana Tech’s six losses came to teams with a combined record of 51-23, with no team finishing with worse than an 8-4 record.  Both teams did face North Texas this season. Louisiana Tech lost to North Texas at home 24-23 on Nov. 4 and SMU defeated North Texas at home 54-32 on September 9.

Offense has been the strength of the Mustangs this season. SMU has scored at least 31 points in each of their wins this season and are averaging just over 40 points a game, but also allowing over 35.  The Bulldogs are averaging almost 29 points per game and allowing almost 27.

Louisiana Tech is 6-6 against the spread this seasoned the over/under is also 6-6 in their games this season. SMU is 6-6 against the spread and has a 7-5 over/under record. SMU did however get off to a 5-0 start against the spread, but finished 1-6 in their last seven games ATS.

Louisiana Tech is 17-5 ATS in their last 22 games as an underdog of between 3.5 to 10 points and 4-1 ATS in their last five bowl games. 

SMU is 11-4 in their last 15 games as a favorite and 4-1 against the spread in in their last five games against Conference USA. However, SMU is only 5-13 ATS in their last 18 games as a favorite of between 3.5 and 10 points.

I expect the Mustangs to be motivated to play their first bowl game since 2012 and to play for a new head coach. This is also close to a home game for SMU. However their is still the coaching change distraction to deal with.

Louisiana Tech has had stability at the head coaching position and has taken care of business in bowl games over Holtz, however this team is not as talented as the previous years.  Due to the coaching change, I see value on the side of Louisiana Tech. Overall, there is not a side that love enough either way to wager on this game without forcing anything. So I am not recommending a wager, but of course I will still make my prediction.

Lines: SMU -5 O/U 70

Get Sports Strong Predictions: SMU 38 Louisiana Tech 35

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