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Week 5 Locks: Pony Up and Grab SMU Plus the Points

The Mustangs of Southern Methodist fall into an excellent spot on Saturday as they gear up for American Athletic play. LOTS OF CHARTS INCLUDED.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

For as long as my body continues to pocket a pulse, I will forever root against Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. It just constructs a flawless formula to look ahead to.

Following a 34-0 win versus UL Monroe, the Tide have registered a string of 11 consecutive unders following a loss in the Saban era. I reckon the pregame festivities deal with St. Nick devising a two-hour strategy on a white dry erase board, only for the conclusion to result in a Picasso-like sketch that reads "Don't Score Points, but Please, Play Defense."

It's your world, Alabama. We're just punching tickets in it.

'Lock of the Week' Record: 2-1

Week 5 Best Bet

I'm infatuated with rummaging around the mid-majors in search of value and one team sprouts up to the occasion in Week 5: Southern Methodist.

When the Mustangs host the East Carolina Pirates in the latter parts of Saturday afternoon, it'll match a pair of teams that lie on a vast spectrum of Week 4 results. ECU struck paydirt at home versus Virginia Tech while SMU fell victim to FCS program, James Madison.

Which is why I'm sensing a dash of overreacting, on both sides.

The Pirates have been plagued by turning the ball over (seven fumbles, three lost in three weeks) and have yet to encounter a wide-open, uptempo offense that SMU runs. For the Mustangs, the turnovers are merely a step ahead of ECU, but have still managed to edge their competitors in that category the last three, all while holding an advantage in regards to time of possession in each contest.

Pirates head coach Ruffin McNeill hasn't relished as a favorite the past two seasons, compiling just a lone victory against the spread the previous seven occasions. Charts, please

ECU Opponent

Spread

Result

ATS Margin

Towson

-28.5

W, 28-20

-20.5

Central Florida

-6.5

L, 32-30

-8.5

Tulsa

-18.5

W, 49-32

-1.5

Tulane

-19.5

W, 34-6

8.5

Cincinnati

-1

L, 54-46

-9

Temple

-9.5

L, 20-10

-19.5

Connecticut

-27.5

W, 37-27

-17.5

SMU

-40.5

W, 45-24

-19.5

I like for SMU to bounce back and utilize quarterback Matt Davis in a big-time way come Saturday.

Pick: Southern Methodist Mustangs +5.5

Best Bets

Middle Tennessee State may be home to the hottest quarterback amidst the Conference USA in freshman Brett Stockstill. Compiling a quiet 1,209 yards through four games with 12 touchdowns, he'll be the patron of what could be a plethora of scoring come Saturday when Vanderbilt travels to Murfreesboro.

Why? Because the Blue Raiders are undoubtedly lighting up the scoreboard following a loss since last season. Given MTSU was downed in Champaign last Saturday, let's gloss over the data of how head coach Rick Stockstill has performed the following game after chalking up a big L.

Loss Result

Next Opponent

MTSU Points For

L, 24-25 @ Minnesota

Western Kentucky

50

L, 17-36 @ Memphis

Old Dominion

41

L, 24-49 @ Marshall

UAB

34

L, 7-27 @ BYU

Florida Internationl

28

L, 28-38 @ FIU

Florida Atlantic

35

L, 10-37 @ Alabama

Charlotte

73

Average Points After Loss:

43.5

I'll take a red-hot gunslinger to notch a few tallies on a Vanderbilt defense that has yet to record an interception, all while the 'Dores are sandwiched between a pair of conference showdowns.

Pick: Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders Team Total Over 27

The largest favorite penciled in for Saturday's slate will be the Louisiana State Tigers at 44.5 points over Eastern Michigan, and there should be a shortage of slowing down for the Bayou Bengals.

Heisman hopeful Leonard Fournette is perhaps listed as the nation's most prized tailback in the country. Which means it's a viable shot for the bulldozing phenom to pad his stats once more versus an Eastern Michigan defense squandering 312 rushing yards per contest so far.

I guarantee we'll see Fournette for three quarters minimum, and after that, LSU can simply run its offense without missing a beat. The Tigers should score at will and could easily surpass the 42-point clip by halftime, in my opinion

Pick: LSU Team Total Over 49.5