College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Arkansas State vs. Tulsa: Expect Lots of Points

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Arkansas State vs. Tulsa: Expect Lots of Points article feature image
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  • Tulsa hosts Arkansas State as it looks for its first win of the season.
  • Before last week's blowout loss to Washington, the Red Wolves scored 90 points in two games.
  • Darin Gardner previews the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Arkansas State vs. Tulsa Odds

Arkansas State Odds +14.5 (-120)
Tulsa Odds -14.5 (+100)
Moneyline +450 / -630
Over/Under 64.5 (-110 / -110)
Time 5 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Through three weeks, Tulsa has had a roller coaster of a season already.

The Golden Hurricane kicked off 2021 by losing to an FCS team in UC Davis before outgaining Oklahoma State in total yards and yards per play in a one-score loss. Then, Tulsa gave Ohio State a scare last week, keeping the score within a touchdown all the way until the fourth quarter.

Tulsa still hasn’t won a game yet, but it has to feel good about where it’s at after two close calls with Power Five teams in back-to-back weeks.

Meanwhile, Arkansas State has fewer things to feel good about after allowing more than 50 points in each of its past two games. The offense has shown plenty of flashes, but if this defense doesn’t get it turned around in a hurry, it could be a frustrating year in Jonesboro.

With one win combined between both of these teams, each side needs a victory badly on Saturday.

Is this the spot where Tulsa finally puts a “1” in the win column against a struggling defense?


Arkansas State vs. Tulsa Betting Preview

Saturday, Sept. 25
5 p.m. ET
ESPN+

Arkansas State Red Wolves

Arkansas State Offense

The Red Wolves are coming off of a horrible offensive performance against a Washington defense that had them totally overmatched.

Their Week 2 game vs. Memphis provided a glimpse at this offense’s upside, though. Arkansas State hung 50 in the game, throwing for 582 yards on 66 attempts.

The Red Wolves rotated quarterbacks last season and appear to be doing the same this year. Layne Hatcher had 38 attempts in the Memphis game, while Florida State transfer James Blackman took the remaining 28.

It’s Blackman’s first year in the system, but Hatcher was incredibly efficient last year, as his 10.6 yards per attempt ranked fourth in the nation.

Arkansas State already has three wideouts with more than 200 receiving yards on the year: Jeff Foreman, Corey Rucker, and Te’Vailance Hunt.

Per PFF, the three have combined for 17 explosive catches, and both Foreman and Hunt rank in the nation’s top 30 in total deep targets.

When things are going right, this offense is incredibly explosive.


Arkansas State Defense

So, we know the offense is explosive. Well, the defense technically is too, but not in a good way.

In terms of expected points added per play, this unit sits at third-worst in the entire country, behind the likes of UMass and UConn.

The Red Wolves have allowed 107 points in their two FBS games so far and just allowed nearly 600 yards to a Washington offense that looked completely lifeless up to that point.

The defense is weak everywhere, but the coverage unit is likely what Tulsa will look to exploit on Saturday, considering the Golden Hurricane’s gap in passing and running efficiency.

The scheme may have something to do with the Red Wolves currently ranking 117th in yards allowed per pass attempt. Arkansas State has the fourth-most snaps in press coverage this season, per PFF, and it clearly isn’t working.

Maybe a change in philosophy would help the secondary, but as of now, things look bleak for this group.

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Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Tulsa Offense

Tulsa is coming off of a very impressive day through the air, as Davis Brin threw for 428 yards on 54 attempts against the Ohio State secondary. He hit seven explosive plays through the air and helped Tulsa hang around until the end.

This week, he’ll be licking his chops against this Arkansas State secondary.

Brin also has been noticeably aggressive so far in his first year as a starter, with an average depth of target that ranks 12th in the nation.

The ground game definitely has room for improvement and will hope to get something going against a very friendly defense.

Tulsa has been a bottom-twenty unit in terms of Rushing Success Rate so far, but considering two of its opponents (Ohio State and Oklahoma State) had a massive size and talent edge in the trenches, it does have an excuse for its low efficiency early on.


Tulsa Defense

Tulsa obviously didn’t get a ton of stops last week against one of the most loaded offenses in the country, but the Oklahoma State game was more impressive for this defense.

They lost one of the best players in program history in linebacker Zaven Collins to the NFL draft, but Tulsa still managed to handle the Cowboys’ offense.

Oklahoma State managed just a 37% success rate and 4.5 yards per play in a game where it leaned very heavily on the run. The Cowboys’ offense clearly has problems after three weeks in 2021, but this was still a solid performance from Tulsa.

The secondary still hasn’t been great, though, as the unit has failed to crack a PFF grade of 70 in any of the three games so far.

The Golden Hurricane got diced up by UC Davis in the season opener, allowing 8.6 yards per attempt and a completion percentage of nearly 80%. To date, Tulsa barely ranks inside the top 100 in Passing Success Rate allowed.


Arkansas State vs. Tulsa Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Arkansas State and Tulsa match up statistically:

Arkansas State Offense vs. Tulsa Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 87 92
Line Yards 60 91
Pass Success 95 96
Pass Blocking** 73 104
Big Play 34 65
Havoc 53 69
Finishing Drives 83 113
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Tulsa Offense vs. Arkansas State Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 111 85
Line Yards 124 94
Pass Success 51 103
Pass Blocking** 96 13
Big Play 29 122
Havoc 58 79
Finishing Drives 112 94
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 124 101
PFF Coverage 122 94
Middle 8 62 97
SP+ Special Teams 55 99
Plays per Minute 12 43
Rush Rate 38.1% (126) 48.1% (104)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


With how these two teams stack up against one another, there’s an opportunity for a lot of points here.

Arkansas State’s defense has performed like one of the worst in the country early on and Tulsa’s aggressive quarterback should find a lot of success after an explosive day against Ohio State.

On the other side, Arkansas State has one of the most aggressive passing attacks in the country and always has the potential to light up the scoreboard.

After a tough game against a very talented Washington defense, look for Arkansas State’s offense to bounce back against a more forgiving Tulsa defense.


Arkansas State vs. Tulsa Betting Pick

There should be a lot of passing yards in a game that I project at 67.1 total points.

Keep an eye on pace, as well, as Arkansas State is currently averaging the most possessions per game (16) and Tulsa ranks in the top 40 in its own right.

As long as each side is able to consistently finish drives, I’m expecting both teams to get their fair share of points in this matchup.

Pick: Over 62.5

 

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