College Football Odds and Picks October 21st – SMU vs Tulane, Louisiana vs Arkansas State, FAU vs Charlotte
Tanner Mordecai

SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai throws a pass against Navy during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • #21 SMU is a 13.5-point home favorite over Tulane on Thursday night
  • Also Thursday night, Louisiana visits Arkansas State and Charlotte hosts Florida Atlantic
  • A look at the odds and matchups can be found below with predictions

It will be a buffet of Group of Five contests Thursday night when three games in three different conferences kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET.

#21 SMU (6-0) hosts Tulane (1-5) in an American Athletic Conference game at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas. It will be televised by ESPN and the Mustangs are favored by nearly two touchdowns.

ESPNU will show Louisiana (5-1), which is a substantial favorite, traveling to Arkansas State (1-5) for a Sun Belt Conference game at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro.

In Conference USA, Charlotte (4-2) hosts Florida Atlantic (3-3) at Jerry Richardson Stadium in a game carried by CBS Sports Network. The visiting Owls are a touchdown pick in the eyes of the oddsmakers.

Tulane vs SMU Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Tulane +470 +13.5 (-110) Over 70.5 (-108)
SMU -700 -13.5 (-110) Under 70.5 (-112)

All odds as of October 19th at FanDuel

The Mustangs Will Keep Charging

SMU’s average margin of victory this season is 18.5 points. However, the Mustangs had to rally in their last game to beat Navy 31-24 on Oct. 9 on the road.

Tanner Mordecai passed for 324 yards and two touchdowns to help SMU overcome a two-touchdown deficit in the second quarter. Bryan Massey sparked the comeback with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Mordecai, who has 26 TD passes this season, also connected with Reggie Roberson on a 66-yard score.

A four-game losing streak is threatening to turn Tulane into One Lane. The latest defeat came again at home against Houston, 40-22 on Oct. 7th.

The Green Wave led 22-17 midway through the third quarter but then allowed 23 unanswered points. Tyjae Spears provided a highlight with his 39-yard touchdown run and Michael Pratt was 20-of-30 passing for 214 yards and two TDs, though he was sacked eight times.

SMU is clearly the second-best team in the AAC after #2 Cincinnati and should easily dispatch struggling Tulane.

The Pick: SMU -13.5 (-110)

2021 College Football Conference Championship Odds Tracker

Louisiana vs Arkansas State Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Louisiana -850 -17.5 (-114) Over 70.5 (-108)
Arkansas State +540 +17.5 (-106) Under 70.5 (-112)

Cajuns a Deserving Heavy Favorite

Louisiana has won five games in a row since losing at Texas in its opener. Coach Billy Napier is being mentioned as a possible successor to Ed Orgeron at LSU.

The Ragin’ Cajuns rolled to a 41-13 victory over visiting Appalachian State in their last game Oct. 12, scoring touchdowns on each of their first three possessions.

Levi Lewis threw for one touchdown and ran for another while Chris Smith had two rushing TDs. Louisiana had four takeaways after notching just three in its first five games.

Conversely, Arkansas State is on a five-game losing streak and got smashed by Coastal Carolina 52-20 at home in its last game Oct. 7. The Red Wolves were outgained 685-273 in total yards, managing just 18 rushing. They also gave up a 99-yard touchdown on the Chanticleers’ first pass attempt.

It’s a big number to lay on the road but Louisiana is clearly the superior team.

The Pick: Louisiana -17.5 (-114)

Florida Atlantic vs Charlotte Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Florida Atlantic -290 -7.5 (+100) Over 56.5 (-114)
Charlotte +225 +7.5 (-122) Under 56.6 (-106)

Key C-USA Game Could Be Most Competitive on Thursday Night

Charlotte is coming off a road win at Florida International, 45-33 on Oct. 8, as the 49ers are off to their best start since joining the FBS in 2015.

Chris Reynolds passed for 203 yards and four touchdowns for Charlotte and Shadrick Byrd had 117 yards on two kickoff returns. Jon Alexander returned an interception 39 yards for a score with 5:45 left to seal the win.

Florida Atlantic dropped a 31-14 decision at UAB in its last game on Oct. 9. The Owls fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter and never recovered. N’Kosi Perry completed 16 of 25 passes for 193 yards a touchdown but was also intercepted three times. One of the picks was returned 100 yards for a TD by Grayson Cash.

Charlotte has played well during the first half of the season and is an attractive pick getting the points on its home field.

The Pick: Charlotte +7.5 (-122)

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John Perrotto

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