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SMU vs. FAU Prediction: American Conference Seeding on the Line

Written by: Tanner Kern
Published February 22, 2024
10 min read

Florida Atlantic will host Southern Methodist on Thursday night. The opening tip on ESPN2 is scheduled for 7:00 PM ET in Boca Raton, and it should be a very competitive matchup. 

The American Conference race is tight, and seeding for the tournament should come down to the final few games of the year. SMU and FAU are two of the biggest threats heading into the American Conference tournament, and they’re tied for third place in the conference. 

SMU and FAU enter with a 10-3 record in the American. FAU, which danced to the Final Four in 2023, was previously in the AP Top 25 this season. However, they’ve lost two of their past four games, causing their status to drop. 

SMU enters this game with more momentum, winning six straight contests. Despite this, they have a more challenging job on Thursday because they have to travel east to face the Owls. 

The winner of this game has an excellent opportunity to claim one of the top seeds in the American Conference. Here, we will break down the game and our best bets for SMU vs. FAU. 

SMU Mustangs guard Zhuric Phelps dribbles past Memphis Tigers guard Jaykwon Walton

SMU vs. FAU Betting Odds for Thursday, Feb. 22nd

Florida Atlantic and SMU have the same conference record but are on different levels. The Owls have been slipping up as of late but they still have one of the best rosters in the American Conference. 

FAU is priced at -215 on the moneyline and listed as a 5.5-point favorite. If you trust the visitors on Thursday, you can take the Mustangs for +176. 

Southern Methodist is 14-10-1 against the spread, one of the best records in the conference. FAU has been dealt big numbers, and they’ve failed to cover consistently with a 12-14-1 ATS record.

The total is listed at 153.5, and both teams haven’t trended to either side of the line this season. The Owls are 13-12-1, and the Mustangs are 12-13 to the over this season. 

Teams Spread Moneyline Total 
SMU +5.5 (-118) +176 Over 153.5 (-110)
FAU -5.5 (-104) -215 Under 153.5 (-110)

Odds from FanDuel Sportsbook. Sign up for FanDuel and get $150 in bonus bets if you wager $5 on your first bet and win.

This will be the first meeting of the season between SMU and FAU. Each team possesses strengths in different areas, which should make for a game that comes down to the wire. 

The Mustangs are defined by defense and have one of the best backcourts in the country. They rank 36th in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to the KenPom Ratings.

The same cannot be said about FAU, which is 100th in adjusted defensive efficiency. However, the Owls shine on offense, and it’s the primary reason they made it to the Final Four last season. 

FAU’s star-studded 2022-23 roster was loaded with young players, and they have all improved this season. The Owls score six points per game more than the Mustangs, and a big reason for this is Johnell Davis. 

Davis scores 18.6 points per game, leading the Owls in this category. He is one of the most physical guards in the country and will be tough to stop whenever he is on the floor.

Davis facilitates the offense, and he also comes through on the defensive end of the floor. Davis is 6’4” and weighs 203 pounds. He uses his size in the paint. He leads the team in rebounds with 6.7 per game. 

The other player to watch for the Owls is Vladislav Goldin, a 7’1” center out of Russia. Goldin developed his skills in the offseason, which has shown all year. He scores 14.4 points per game and shoots nearly 65% from the field. 

Goldin is eighth in the country in shooting percentage. When he receives a chance to score, Goldin capitalizes. For SMU to win, they must swarm Goldin whenever he gets the ball. 

When FAU lost games, Goldin didn’t perform well. Samuell Williamson will be tasked with slowing down the center throughout the game. 

Williamson is 6’8” and the leading rebounder for SMU, with 7.6 boards per game. He can score when the Mustangs get the ball down low. However, he thrives on defense and sets the tone. 

We should see an excellent battle between two of the best in the American Conference. The other player to watch for SMU is Zhuric Phelps, the leading scorer for SMU. 

The guard scores 14.7 points per game but shoots 41.1% from the field. His efficiency hasn’t been excellent, and he must improve his percentage against a high-powered FAU offense. 

SMU vs. FAU Prediction and Betting Pick

FAU is the better overall team, and they’re at home but haven’t looked good lately. Good defense wins in college basketball, and SMU has the advantage in this category. 

The Mustangs will play hard-nosed defense, and this is something that will show throughout the contest. We expect SMU to garner momentum on offense from their defensive strength. The stops will translate into points. 

The 5.5-point spread is a significant enough margin for us to take the points with the Mustangs. 

How to Watch FAU vs. SMU

  • When: Thursday, Feb. 21st @ 9:00 PM ET

  • Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

  • TV: ESPN

  • Streaming: ESPN+

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AUTHOR

Tanner Kern

353 Articles

Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.

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