College Football Odds, Picks, Odds for Tulane vs. SMU: Will Mustangs Cruise Past Green Wave?

College Football Odds, Picks, Odds for Tulane vs. SMU: Will Mustangs Cruise Past Green Wave? article feature image
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Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Reggie Roberson.

  • No. 21 SMU and its explosive offense host 1-5 Tulane with its undefeated 6-0 record on the line.
  • Mustangs quarterback Tanner Mordecai is tied for FBS lead with 26 passing touchdowns this season.
  • Kody Malstrom previews this AAC college football duel and offers up his best bet.

Tulane vs. SMU Odds

Thursday, Oct. 21
7:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Tulane Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+13.5
70.5
-112o / -108u
+440
SMU Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-13.5
70.5
-112o / -108u
-640
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Call me Andy Williams because I am here to proclaim that it is the most wonderful time of the year. Football is in full swing, MLB playoffs, NHL, and the return of basketball. Sports everywhere, bets to be placed, and money to be made.

So, with nearly every sport in effect, where should your attention go? If you ask me, midweek football gets my eyes 11 times out of 10. We have an AAC showdown on Wednesday as Tulane travels to SMU.

Tulane started off the season by giving potential playoff team Oklahoma a scare, losing 35-40. After dismantling Morgan State the following week, Tulane has found itself on a losing streak, as it dropped the next four.

SMU, meanwhile, has come out of the gates strong, standing at a perfect 6-0. Possessing one of the best passing attacks in the nation, it will look to once again show out on a national broadcast.

Can Tulane slow down SMU’s buzzsaw of an offense? Let’s find out.


Tulane Green Wave

Tulane Offense

Tulane came into this season looking like it could match up with the best of them. That’s looking more like a fluke result as it has not been pretty since then, and the metrics show it.

The passing game is practically nonexistent, ranking mid-80s in both Pass Success and pass blocking. On the rare occasion quarterback Michael Pratt gets time in the pocket, he’s been decent.

Throwing for 1,364 yards, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions thus far, Tulane will look to attack an SMU defense that struggles against the pass.

Turnovers and disruptions have been an Achilles heel for the Green Wave, ranking near the bottom of the nation in Havoc. If they can avoid the mistakes, and move the ball past the 40, they actually pose a threat to put up points. Tulane’s also a top-20 team in Finishing Drives.

Tulane Defense

The Tulane defense looks to have a long night ahead of it. Not only is the Green Wave defense really poor, especially in the passing department, but the SMU offense is also very good.

Tulane ranks 115th in Def. Pass Success, which could be a problem against an SMU offense that tops the nation in that metric.

The Tulane defensive line also struggles to get to the quarterback. Ranking 109th in Def. Pass Rush, SMU will look to exploit this all-around bad unit.

Expect yards to come in bunches for SMU, as this secondary is constantly getting torched. It has a Def. Big Play rating of 111th, a product of poor tackling, quarterbacks getting time in the pocket to develop plays, and a bad secondary.

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Southern Methodist Mustangs

SMU Offense

SMU’s offense is sneakily one of the best units in the nation.

It excels everywhere for the most part, but especially in passing. Quarterback Tanner Mordecai has led this passing unit to rank No. 1 in Pass Success. He’s been slinging it all over the field, throwing for 1,893 yards, 26 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

SMU limits mistakes, and the offensive line gives Mordecai plenty of time and protection in the pocket — recipe for great success, and it shows.

The Mustangs will look to constantly torch the Tulane secondary by converting big play after big play. Tulane can’t stop a nosebleed, so good luck stopping SMU.

While SMU’s Finishing Drives rate isn’t the best, it’s still above average and a metric it will look to improve on. This is something the Mustangs will need to figure out if they want a chance to upset Cincinnati down the road for the AAC crown.

SMU Defense

While the SMU offense is one of the best in the nation, the defense leaves much to be desired. Not all hope is lost, though, as it does excel in some areas.

While the Def. Pass Success is 74th, the Def Rush Success is actually top-20 in the nation. Tulane is as balanced as it gets, rushing at a 50% clip. SMU will have to continue its defensive rush dominance if it wants to avoid the upset.

The secondary has question marks, but SMU’s defensive front does its part to help it out as much as possible. The Mustangs are very successful at getting to the quarterback, with a top-10 ranking in Def. Pass Rush.

SMU will need to rely on generating pressure in the backfield and keeping gains to a minimum, as it cannot tackle in the open field. It possesses a PFF Tackling rank of 126th, one of the worst in the nation.

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Tulane vs. SMU Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Tulane and SMU match up statistically:

Tulane Offense vs. SMU Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 61 17
Line Yards 109 68
Pass Success 86 74
Pass Blocking** 85 10
Big Play 71 73
Havoc 113 86
Finishing Drives 18 61
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

SMU Offense vs. Tulane Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 59 58
Line Yards 25 74
Pass Success 1 115
Pass Blocking** 13 109
Big Play 24 111
Havoc 16 96
Finishing Drives 43 54
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 97 126
Coverage 88 127
Middle 8 79 3
SP+ Special Teams 115 119
Plays per Minute 11 21
Rush Rate 50.% (92) 50.% (92)

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


Tulane vs. SMU Betting Pick

Tulane’s defense looks to be in for a long night.

SMU’s offense will put up video game numbers by the end of this one. Tulane ranks bottom-100 in all defensive passing metrics, an area that SMU is best in the nation. Mordecai is drooling at the thought of what he is going to throw for.

I simply do not see how Tulane will stop SMU every time the Mustang offense takes the field. Better yet, SMU is more than capable of stopping Tulane. This is shaping up to be a serious mismatch in strengths.

If SMU can consistently generate a pass rush like it’s shown, this will ease the burden on its secondary.

We project this as SMU -16, showing value to -13.5. It’s always great to grab the football number for the favorite, and I’d play this up to -14.

The lack of tackling on both defensive units also piques my interest in a live play. If either team starts off slow, I may look to take a live over, knowing that a big play can happen at any moment.

Pick: SMU -13.5

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