AAC Championship College Football Odds & Picks: How to Bet Tulsa vs. Cincinnati
Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Desmond Ridder
- Cincinnati looks to continue its perfect season with a win in the AAC Championship over Tulsa on Saturday.
- The Bearcats haven't been getting much respect from the College Football Playoff committee, and they're hoping to change that with one final push.
- Check out BJ Cunningham's full betting breakdown with updated odds for the AAC Championship below.
Tulsa vs. Cincinnati Odds
|Tulsa Odds||+14 [BET NOW]|
|Cincinnati Odds||-14 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+480/-715 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||46 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 8 p.m. ET|
Finally, the two best teams in the AAC will square off on Saturday night as Tulsa battles Cincinnati. The regular-season meeting between these two teams had to be postponed and eventually canceled due to COVID-19 issues.
Tulsa’s only blemish of the season was a mid-September loss at Oklahoma State when it held the Cowboys to only 16 points. The Golden Hurricane have ripped off six straight wins since, including wins at UCF and at home over SMU. However, Cincinnati will be a whole different animal on Saturday night.
Cincinnati is still getting no love from the College Football Playoff committee, as the undefeated Bearcats sit at ninth in the latest rankings. The Bearcats have been off for almost a month as their last two games had to be canceled to due COVID-19 issues within their program. A win would put Cincy in a New Year’s Six bowl, which hasn’t happened since the 2010 Sugar Bowl.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
The Golden Hurricane have really struggled on offense. Tulsa ranks 80th in Success Rate and 70th in explosive plays, per College Football Data. That’s going to be a problem when going up against one of the best defenses in the country.
Senior quarterback Zach Smith has been fairly efficient this year, throwing for 7.7 yards per attempt, but the Golden Hurricane rank only 66th in Passing Success. Keylon Stokes and Josh Johnson are his two main targets, as they’ve combined for 70 catches, 992 yards, and eight touchdowns.
However, this will be the best secondary Smith has seen since the Oklahoma State game, when he mustered only 165 yards passing.
Tulsa utilizes a three-man running back platoon but hasn’t been very successful with it, ranking 90th in Rushing Success and 98th in rushing explosiveness. Cincinnati’s weakness on defense is against the run, so if the Golden Hurricane can’t establish a ground game, they could be in trouble.
Tulsa’s defense has excelled this year. The Hurricane sit No. 12 in Success Rate. Tulsa is No. 2 in the country in explosive plays allowed, which will come in handy against Cincinnati, which has one of the most explosive offenses in the Group of Five.
The Golden Hurricane are also No. 5 in yards per play allowed at only 4.2 since they rank inside the top 25 in both Rushing and Passing Success allowed, per College Football Data. Not to mention, they also are fantastic at creating negative plays and turning their opponents over, as they rank 26th in Havoc.
However, Cincinnati’s offense will be the best one they’ve seen all season. Will Tulsa’s defense be up to the challenge?
Although it doesn’t put up the amount of points that some of the top offenses in the country do, Cincinnati is incredibly efficient. The Bearcats rank 21st in Offensive Success Rate, fifth in explosive plays, and are gaining 6.7 yards per play.
The reason Cincinnati’s offense is so efficient is because of how successful it is in both the run and pass game. The Bearcats rush the ball on almost 57% of plays, so the offense starts on the ground with Gerrid Doaks, who is only gaining 4.8 yards per play. He’s struggled in their last two outings, though, mustering only 149 yards on 41 attempts.
The passing game with Desmond Ridder is the strength of the Bearcats’ offense. Ridder is averaging 8.5 yards per attempt and has led the Bearcats to a No. 10 ranking in Passing Success Rate. Ridder can also run, and he’s averaging 6.7 yards per attempt and leads college football in rushing touchdowns by quarterbacks with 11.
Most rushing touchdowns by QBs:
1. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati – 11
2. Max Duggan, TCU – 10
2. Malik Willis, Liberty – 10
4. Hendon Hooker, VA Tech – 9 pic.twitter.com/NNg0aM24Ou
— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 16, 2020
Tulsa’s defense better be ready for his dual threat ability, or else Cincinnati’s offense is going to roll on Saturday night.
Cincinnati has been led this year by its defense. The Bearcats are No. 6 in Defensive Success Rate and lead college football in yards per play allowed at only 4.0. In fact, the Bearcats have allowed over 20 points only once all year.
The reason they’ve been so good is that they’ve been stellar versus both the run and pass. Cincinnati is top-25 in almost every defensive category, including Defensive Rushing Success, Defensive Passing Success, and Havoc, per College Football Data. With inept Tulsa’s offense has been this season, Cincinnati’s defense should dominate on Saturday night.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I expect this game to be a slugfest between two of the best defenses in the country. Cincinnati’s defense, especially, should be able to hold Tulsa’s offense to 14 or fewer points.
I have only 41.69 points projected for the AAC Championship, so I think there’s a little bit of value on under 46 points. However, I wouldn’t play it any lower than that.
Pick: Under 46 points.