College Football Odds & Picks: How To Bet Tulane vs. Tulsa On Thursday Night
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Tulsa Golden Hurricane running back Deneric Prince.
Tulane vs. Tulsa Odds
|Tulane Odds||+5.5 (-113) [BET NOW]|
|Tulsa Odds||-5.5 (-108) [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+155 / -195 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||55 (-109 / -112) [BET NOW]|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
The Tulane Green Wave and Tulsa Golden Hurricane clash Thursday in a matchup between two streaking teams.
Tulane has won three consecutive games, with its most recent victory coming via a 38-12 triumph against Army. On the other side, Tulsa has won four in a row, highlighted by a 28-24 comeback win against SMU in its last outing.
The Green Wave offense has scored at least 30 points in all six games since freshman quarterback Michael Pratt became the starter, but the Golden Hurricane defense has yet to allow any opposing offense more than 30 points.
Bottom line, something has to give here. After all, there’s a reason Tulsa should prevail and cover.
Tulane Green Wave
Tulane rides a three-game winning streak into this game behind Pratt, its rushing attack and dominant pass rush.
The Green Wave have rushed for 5.3 yards per carry this season, which is good for 23rd in the country. Tulane’s offense has a running-back-by-committee situation, with guys sharing the load until one emerges with the hot hand to lead the team in any given game.
While the rushing offense has been successful throughout the season, Tulane has taken a step forward since Pratt replaced Keon Howard in the Green Wave’s 66-24 eruption over Southern Miss in the third game of the season. Despite scoring 27 points or fewer in its first two games, Tulane has scored more 30 points in every game since Pratt took the reins.
Pratt is a 6-foot-2-inch, 200-pound pocket-passer doesn’t have the ability to beat defenses with his feet. He can scramble if necessary, but will predominantly challenge Tulsa’s 3-3-5 defense with his strong arm. However, this will be the best pass rush he has faced all season.
Tulane’s defense is led by defensive lineman Patrick Johnson, who leads the nation with 10 total sacks. Johnson’s Green Wave defense has engulfed quarterbacks so far, ranking fourth nationally with 29 sacks. If the Green Wave hope to upset Golden Hurricane, the pass rush needs to wreak havoc in the backfield and force Tulsa into mistakes.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Despite its preseason projection to finish ninth in the AAC, Tulsa is unbeaten in conference play. After playing only four conference tilts due to cancellations, the Golden Hurricane’s lone loss came in a close Week 1 tilt at Oklahoma State.
Tulsa has weathered the storm, rallying from early-game deficits on multiple occasions. It trailed 23-5 at Central Florida, but came back to earn a 34-26 triumph for its first win of the season.
Two games later, it found itself behind East Carolina, 17-3, before coming from behind to secure a controversial, 34-30 win. Most recently, Tulsa fell behind 21-0 against SMU, but held the Mustangs scoreless in the second half to secure the 28-24 victory.
Former Baylor quarterback Zach Smith has made a pattern of struggling early in games to put Tulsa in these deficits, but has gotten better as the game progresses. Against SMU, Smith threw a pick six and fumbled in the red zone, setting its foe up with a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
However, Smith flipped a switch after that, leading the Golden Hurricane to the comeback win behind 325 yards through the air and three touchdown passes.
If Tulsa wants to be successful against Tulane, Smith can’t make big mistakes. He excelled in the run-pass option against SMU the last three quarters and will need to utilize the RPO to neutralize Johnson and Tulane’s pass rush. Tulsa has rushed for just 4.1 yards per carry, so Smith’s decision making and accuracy need to help open up the run game.
However, the emergence of Smith as games unfold has only been successful because of the stingy 3-3-5 Tulsa defense led by Zaven Collins. The star linebacker came up with the game-sealing interception against SMU, along with six tackles (two for loss) and one sack.
Collins, who stands at 6-foot-2-inches and weighs 260 pounds, is one of the most versatile linebackers in the country. His speed, size and vision make him a threat as a pass rusher and tackler, as well as in coverage. Collins creates havoc in the front end of the defense, while its huge secondary (four players at corner/safety stand at least 6’2″) tackles well to limit explosive plays.
Betting Analysis & Pick
While I really like Tulane with its quarterback, this is a tough matchup for the team. The Green Wave wants to establish the run, which takes the pressure off of its young quarterback. Since Pratt took over, the Green Wave are 4-0 in games when they rush for more than their season average of 5.3 yards per carry, but are 0-3 in games when they average fewer yards per carry.
Tulsa’s defense has been successful against the run, allowing only 3.58 yards per carry. However, Tulsa’s rush defense has had its most impressive showings against the best offenses it has faced, only surrendering 2.8 YPC at Oklahoma State; 3.7 YPC at UCF; and, 3.8 YPC against SMU.
Expect this trend to continue when it faces Tulane. The Green Wave should be able to move the ball against Tulsa’s defense; the Golden Hurricane will force Tulane to keep everything in front of their huge secondary; and, Pratt won’t be able to make enough plays to overcome his lack of a rushing attack.
Take Tulsa minus-6.5 (up to -7.5) to win behind its defense. While Smith and the Golden Hurricane’s early-game struggles also make Tulane to score first (+110) and Tulane first-quarter moneyline (+140) intriguing value bets, Smith and Collins should ultimately lead the way to victory by at least a score for a Tulsa team that matches up well against Tulane.
Some trends of note:
- Tulane is 2-5 against the spread in its last seven games as a road underdog
- Tulane is 1-6 ATS in its last seven visits to Tulsa
- Tulane is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games after a win
- Tulsa is 5-1 ATS in its last six games
- Tulsa is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 meetings with Tulane
Pick: Tulsa -6.5. (up to -7.5)