Memphis vs. Tulane Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Saturday’s Favorite
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Pratt (Tulane)
Memphis vs. Tulane Odds
It feels like '98, baby! That’s right, the Tulane Green Wave are ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the 1998 season, when they finished in the top 10.
Willie Fritz has his squad off to a 6-1 start — which includes a big road win over No. 17 Kansas State — and a 3-0 start in conference play with a road win against Houston.
It has a been brutal two weeks for the Memphis Tigers. After starting 4-1, the Tigers have lost back-to-back heart-breaking games.
After leading 32-19 over Houston with less than two minutes to play, the Cougars scored two touchdowns — with an onside kick in between — in the final 1:17 to come back and win.
The following week, Memphis looked like it would bounce back, as the Tigers jumped out to an early 17-0 lead. However, they lost by two points in four overtimes to East Carolina.
Memphis is now 2-2 in conference play.
Despite winning 13 of the past 15 matchups between these squads, the Tigers find themselves as touchdown underdogs on Saturday.
After a terrific freshman year, quarterback Seth Henigan is having another strong season for the Tigers. He sits third in the AAC in yards and has thrown 12 touchdowns with just three interceptions.
With the graduation of electric speedster Calvin Austin III, the Memphis offense has lost its explosiveness. Austin averaged over 95 yards per game last year, but now the Tigers don’t have a single receiver averaging more than 50 yards per game.
They do have a three-headed running back room with Asa Martin, Brandon Thomas and Jevyon Ducker. They all do a good job, but the unit as a whole is 70th in Success Rate and 86th in Explosiveness.
Defensively, the Tigers have given up over 460 yards in three of the past four games. They rank 96th in scoring defense and 101st in total defense. Even Temple averaged five yards per play against them.
A defense that returned just two starters from last season has actually improved a ton against the run. The Tigers have allowed more than 102 rushing yards just twice all year, and one was against Navy.
However, the Tigers have continued to get torched by the pass. They’ve allowed over 300 yards passing in three of the past four games and have been picked apart for 15 touchdowns through the air this year.
In his third season as the starter, quarterback Michael Pratt is averaging a career-high 260 yards per game and has thrown 11 touchdowns with just three interceptions.
He has set a career-high in passing yards in each of the past two weeks, throwing for 326 yards two weeks ago and 329 yards last week against South Florida.
A trio of weapons in Shae Wyatt, Jha’Quan Jackson and Duece Watts all average over 40 yards per game to help give the Green Wave the 23rd-ranked passing attack in the nation.
They have a ton of depth, with seven players averaging at least two catches a game.
While the ground game isn’t on the same level as the passing attack, Tyjae Spears has been effective when needed. He is an explosive runner who picks up big plays and sits second in the conference with eight rushing scores.
He put up 151 yards last week, the second most of his career behind last season’s game against Memphis, during which he rumbled for 264 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Long-time defensive backs coach Chris Hampton was elevated to defensive coordinator last season, and his unit has been dominant in his second year at the helm. The Green Wave are one of just 17 teams holding opponents under 300 yards per game and are the fifth-best team at defending Explosiveness.
The Green Wave have been especially stout against the run. They rank top-20 in the country in Success Rate and have allowed just three rushing scores all year. Only Georgia and Iowa have allowed fewer.
Linebackers Nick Anderson and Dorian Williams are both elite tacklers, and safeties Larry Brooks and Macon Clark are also huge in stopping the run game.
Memphis vs. Tulane Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Memphis and Tulane match up statistically:
Memphis Offense vs. Tulane Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Tulane Offense vs. Memphis Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||10||91|
|Seconds per Play||24.2 (28)||27.0 (82)|
|Rush Rate||52.4% (75)||57.8% (36)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Memphis vs. Tulane Betting Pick
The best unit on the field in this game is the Tulane defense. The Green Wave defense has prevented opposing offenses from making big plays and without Austin, Memphis has struggled to create explosives.
Henigan and the Tigers love to throw the ball, and the Green Wave secondary is seventh in the nation in coverage grade. Memphis doesn’t run the ball often, but when it does, this Tulane defense should have no problem shutting it down.
Tulane has been dominant against the rush this season and also does a great job of tackling.
We have seen Pratt cook over the past two weeks, as he's set career-highs in back-to-back weeks. He is line to have another monster game against a Memphis defense that is 109th at defending the pass and 95th at preventing Finishing Drives. The Tigers also rank 129th in passing downs.
We could see Memphis come out flat on the road, still reeling from two absolutely brutal losses.
Meanwhile, Tulane will be juiced up after earning its first AP Top 25 ranking since 1998. The Green Wave have a bye next week, so they can empty the chamber here knowing they get rest next week.
Since Fritz took over as the Tulane head coach in 2016, the Green Wave have gone 27-11-1 (71%) ATS at home. He is the most profitable coach in the country at home during that span.