NOTE: All lines are pulled from DraftKings Sportsbook and are subject to change.
The Battle for the Iron Skillet between the TCU Horned Frogs & SMU Mustangs is often seen as a back-and-forth shootout between the heated DFW rivals. In the last three contests, the underdog Ponies have won outright as road underdogs while the teams have combined for an average of 77 points per game. Through three weeks of the 2023 campaign, both teams are 2-1 on the scoreboard and against the spread, while playing lower-scoring games than anticipated, both going under the points total twice.
Moneyline: TCU: -278; SMU: +225
Spread: TCU -6.5; SMU: +6.5
Total Points: 62
The spread opened with TCU as a 5.5-point favorite, with a points total at 63.5, with support slowly moving towards the Frogs and a trend of improved defenses on both sides bringing the points total down. The marketplace hasn’t fully pushed all-in on the Frogs, as this number still remains below the key number of a TD as SMU has impressed while TCU may never wash off the stench of the season opener vs. Colorado. This year doesn’t look to be one where TCU blows the doors off the Mustangs and easily runs away with the Iron Skillet, it’s shaping up to be a tight battle to the finish and perhaps a more defensive struggle than years past.
At time of publishing, there are still no SMU projections posted on PrizePicks, so we’ll focus on the Horned Frogs
Pass Yards: 264.5
Rush Yards: 45.5
Morris pass yards projection took a big leap since first posting, jumping 10 yards, and still may not be high enough, as this would represent the lowest passing yards for Morris this season in FBS competition. While the SMU defense held OU’s Dillon Gabriel under 200 yards passing, and just 241 yards to Louisiana Tech’s Hank Bachmeier in a blowout win, the TCU offense is running one of the fastest tempos in the nation and will likely look to keep Morris throwing throughout this game.
As for his rushing yardage, Morris has gained more confidence as a runner in the last two contests, averaging 58 rush yards per game while picking up key first downs on scrambles and the offense has also designed run plays to take advantage of the dual-threat capabilities in his game. SMU does present a stronger pass rush threat against a susceptible TCU offensive line, so Morris may suffer a few sacks that take him below this number for the game.
Rush Yards: 86.5
Bailey has been a breakout beast in the backfield for the Horned Frogs, averaging 145 rushing yards per game in the two FBS games played this season. Continuing to be listed as the top back on the depth chart, there’s no reason to expect Bailey to receive a reduced workload on Saturday. While SMU did shut down Prairie View and Louisiana Tech, the Mustangs allowed Oklahoma RB Tawee Walker to rush for 117 yards as the Sooners accumulated 189 yards on the ground as a team. Although Bailey’s rush yards projection has climbed each week, he could again be in line for another massive game.