Baylor vs. SMU Betting Line – Week 1 College Football

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Baylor vs. SMU Betting Line – Week 1 College Football

Carrie Stroup here with your Baylor vs. SMU betting line for Week 1 College Football 2015.

Sportsbook.ag Line: Baylor -36, Total: 73.5

No. 4 Baylor opens its 2015 season on Friday as an enormous favorite over SMU.

Despite losing star QB Bryce Petty, who led his team to consecutive 11-2 SU seasons (7-5-1 ATS last year), the Bears have national title aspirations this season with athletic 6-foot-3, 220-pound QB Seth Russell under center. He will take over an offense that led the nation in both scoring offense (48.2 PPG) and total offense (582 YPG) last season.

The Mustangs were on the opposite end of the offensive spectrum with a pathetic 11.1 PPG (last in nation) and 269 total YPG (2nd-worst in FBS). New head coach Chad Morris, who was the coordinator of a high-powered Clemson offense last season, is tasked with bringing this program back to respectability after a 1-11 season (4-8 ATS).

Baylor has completely dominated this series since 1992, going 8-0 (SU and ATS) with an average score of 39 to 11. Last season's result was 45-0 with SMU being outgained 574 to 67, including 261 to minus-24 yards on the ground.

Head coach Art Briles has been a great wager in September since taking over head coaching duties at Baylor, going 14-4 ATS (78%). Bettors can also feel confident about laying the points based on SMU's dreadful 0-8 ATS mark in non-conference games in the past two seasons. While Baylor has no significant injuries, the Mustangs will be without both RB Daniel Gresham (neck) and OL Seaver Myers (undisclosed) for the season.

Almost as amazing as Baylor's offensive numbers is the fact that the team committed just seven turnovers in 13 games last season. Junior QB Seth Russell (804 pass yds, 9.5 YPA, 8 TD, 1 INT) has a pair of 1,000-yard receivers at his disposal in WRs Corey Coleman (1,119 rec yds, 11 TD) and KD Cannon (1,030 rec yds, 8 TD). Baylor also runs very well (216 YPG, 27th in nation) with RB Shock Linwood (1,252 rush yds, 16 TD) who rushed for at least 80 yards in 10 games last season.

The 4-2-5 defensive set is loaded with nine returning starters. DE Shawn Oakman (11 sacks, 51 tackles, 19.5 TFL) and WLB Taylor Young (4 sacks, 92 tackles) getting plenty of space with 300-pound NT Andrew Billings (37 tackles, 11.5 TFL) clogging up the middle. The Bears held opponents to 118 rushing YPG (16th in nation) and tallied 2.9 sacks per game (17th in FBS).

Although the secondary allowed a hefty 264 passing YPG (107th in nation) last year, both DS Orion Stewart (4 INT, 82 tackles) and CB Xavien Howard (4 INT, 13 PBU, 51 tackles) are back to improve those numbers.

The SMU offense didn't do much right last year, including allowing 4.0 sacks per game (tied for last in nation). But new head coach Chad Morris will operate an up-tempo spread attack that will play to the strengths of junior dual-threat QB Matt Davis (855 pass yds, 5.2 YPA, 3 TD, 5 INT). His 54% completion rate must improve for this offense to thrive, and he will first target senior WR Darius Joseph (379 rec yds, 2 TD) who caught 54 passes last year, but gained a paltry 7.0 yards per reception. He and junior WR Deion Sanders Jr. (188 rec yds) need to be put in more catch-and-run situations. While there are no great ball carriers on this team with RB Prescott Line (256 rush yds, 3.3 YPC, 4 TD) as the top back, the offensive line does return all five starters.

New defensive coordinator Van Malone, who was the DB coach for Oklahoma State last year, hopes his aggressive defense increases its 16 takeaways (T-99th in FBS) and greatly improves its efficiency in stopping the run (236 rush YPG allowed, 114th in nation). Seniors DE Zach Wood (4 sacks, 40 tackles) and LB Jonathan Yenga (65 tackles) shine among the seven returning defensive starters. The secondary wasn't much better, surrendering 264 passing YPG (106th in FBS) on 8.7 YPA (6th-worst in nation), 27 TD and only six interceptions. FS Darrion Richardson (69 tackles) and CB Horace Richardson (2 INT) will have to do much more for these numbers to improve.

- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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