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SMU vs. Florida Atlantic Expert Pick – February 22, 2024 

SMU vs. Florida Atlantic Expert Pick – February 22, 2024 

SMU VS. FLORIDA ATLANTIC EXPERT PICK – February 22, 2024 — This is the reason SMU basketball fans are so excited to get into the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. On a blind resume comparison, SMU might get the nod over Florida Atlantic. The Mustangs are just one win back of the Owls, hold a higher ranking in some advanced metrics and don’t have the kind of bad losses that FAU carries. 

But Florida Atlantic was a Final Four team last year, and SMU went 10-22. And that meant Dusty May’s team got opportunities that Rob Lanier’s squad didn’t. While the Mustangs watched West Virginia fall apart and saw Florida State struggle after defeating both, the Owls got to play Butler, Illinois, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and Arizona on neutral floors. 

Florida Atlantic went 4-1 in those games, which more than offset its pratfalls against Florida Gulf Coast and Bryant. And that has the Owls on the right side of the bubble and the Mustangs needing to run the table to have a chance. SMU at least has an opportunity to get a Quad 1 win here (and potentially another one at South Florida on Sunday), but most people aren’t thinking about them as a bubble squad. 

This is pretty much their last chance to change that. Beating South Florida would get attention, but it only works if anyone’s paying attention to SMU in the first place. The Mustangs own a six-game win streak, but nobody in the American has beaten Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton.

The Odds 







(19-7 SU, 14-9-2 ATS) 





Florida Atlantic 

(20-6 SU, 12-14 ATS) 






When: Thursday, February 22 at 7 p.m. EST 

Where: Eleanor Baldwin Arena, Boca Raton, Fla. 


Public Bets: 59% on SMU 

Public Money: 63% on SMU 

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of February 21st, 2024 

SMU vs. Florida Atlantic In-Season Trends 

SMU has gone through waves of success against the spread and waves of struggles. From Dec. 3 to Jan. 20, the Mustangs were dynamite, going 9-0-1 ATS. But they’re just 3-5 ATS since then, although they’ve covered in three of their past four contests. They do own a six-game winning streak, and that’s mostly been based off the offense. The OVER has cashed in four straight SMU games, and the Mustangs haven’t scored less than 71 points in that stretch. 

Florida Atlantic at home has been one of the biggest fades in the nation. Incredibly, the Owls have covered just once in an American game at home (this marks their first year in the conference), going 1-5 ATS in Boca Raton. They haven’t been much better away, as they’re just 3-10 ATS in conference play. They haven’t had much trouble scoring at home; five of their six league home games have seen them score at least 79 points, and the exception was North Texas, the nation’s slowest-paced team.  

The Difference-Makers 

If Ricardo Wright gets hot again, it’s a big advantage for SMU. The Mustangs destroyed Memphis last time out, and Wright’s 26 points made the difference. For the year, he’s a 40% 3-point shooter, but he shot 50% against Rice and 75% against Memphis. Florida Atlantic fell at South Florida mainly because they couldn’t chase the Bulls off the 3-point arc, suggesting they’re vulnerable to a similar night. 

The Owls’ five-guard lineup means anyone on the floor can score at any point, but Johnell Davis remains the biggest threat. He’s also one of the few Florida Atlantic players who’s consistently strong from the foul line, which means he’s likely to see most of the ball down the stretch. 

The Pick 

The lack of respect shown to SMU has been stunning. The Mustangs don’t get the attention of an upper-echelon team, but they’ve proven a solid squad that belongs in the NCAA conversation. The public is a little too high on Florida Atlantic based off last year, and I think that plays to the bettor’s advantage. 

I like the Mustangs to keep this close and possibly win. 

Dan’s Picks 

SMU +6 

Over 153.5 


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