College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Tulane vs. UCF: Back the Knights to Cover

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Tulane vs. UCF: Back the Knights to Cover article feature image
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Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan O’Keefe.

  • UCF hosts Tulane in a AAC duel at 4 p.m. ET in Orlando, Florida.
  • The Knights have won two straight games while Tulane is 1-7 and has yet to win a conference game.
  • Anthony Dabbundo dives into this matchup and offers up his betting prediction.

Tulane vs. UCF Odds

Saturday, Nov. 6
4 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Tulane Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+12.5
59
-110o / -110u
+385
UCF Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-12.5
55
-110o / -110u
-525
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Tulane has played up to its toughest competition all year, including near wins against Oklahoma and a competitive game with Cincinnati next week. The season has been a disappointment overall for the Green Wave, though, with a 1-7 record.

Tulane’s defense may have its toughest test of the season on Saturday as it travels east to UCF to take on the Knights’ potent offense. Playing without its usual starting quarterback, it’s hard to see how Tulane manages to keep up with the Knights in this game.

UCF is in a tricky spot, though, and could get caught overlooking the Green Wave ahead of a road trip to ranked SMU next week. If UCF is fully focused it should be a comfortable victory, but it is the vaunted lookahead spot for the Knights.


Tulane Green Wave

Tulane Offense

The Tulane offense has another game without starting quarterback Michael Pratt, who’s out with a concussion for the second straight game. Backup Kai Horton had a brutal game against No. 6 Cincinnati, although the UCF defense will not be nearly as difficult of a second game for him. Horton still was just 7-of-16 with 79 yards and two interceptions against the Bearcats.

The Green Wave like to play at a pretty fast tempo — ranking 16th in plays per minute — while relying much more on the running game with Horton behind center than they were earlier in the season. That makes it difficult to use Tulane’s season-long statistics to project the offense, but the 45 runs to 18 passes split from last week is a clear indication of how they’ll try to attack UCF.


Tulane Defense

The Green Wave have two major challenges facing them on Saturday against the Knights.

First, the Tulane defense has really struggled to prevent opponents from scoring once they cross the 40-yard line, and the UCF is among the most efficient in the country at turning drives into points.

Second, Tulane has very mediocre tackling and coverage grades, according to Pro Football Focus, and the UCF offense is a ball-control machine that has excellent success rate and first-down-conversion numbers.

Both of these are hard to overcome for the Green Wave, who have battled defensively with the two best teams they’ve played — Oklahoma and Cincinnati — but also couldn’t get any stops against SMU, Houston or East Carolina in the weeks prior.

The Tulane defense has been inconsistent all season, but UCF’s offensive advantages are hard to ignore.

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Central Florida Knights

Central Florida Offense

UCF is the 13th-most-efficient passing down offense in the country as the season enters November, and its opponent on Saturday ranks among the worst in the country at preventing successful opponent plays on passing downs. UCF has a balanced attack that can find success against Tulane both on the ground and through the air, as the Knights rank 22nd in rushing EPA/play and will line up against a 93rd rank run defense.

The Knights are not a particularly explosive offense with a 113th rating there, but they have shown an ability to hit some big plays of late. Quarterback Mikey Keene threw for 229 yards on 21 attempts in the win against an overmatched Temple last week.

UCF may not need big plays to methodically move the ball up and down the field against a Tulane defense that can’t stop third-down passes and isn’t good at getting opponents behind the chains on early downs.


Central Florida Defense

The strength of the Knights defense is through the air, where UCF is 38th in Passing Success Rate allowed and 21st in PFF coverage grades. Given the QB change at Tulane, though, the Green Wave are much more likely to run the ball and try to move the ball that way.

The Knights rank 39th in preventing explosiveness as a defense, which will be a major key against a Tulane offense that has managed to be a top-five unit in explosiveness this season. Even though some of that came with a different QB, the athletes remain able to break some big plays on the outside and on the ground.

UCF is middling in its finishing drives defense, which is another critical aspect to stopping an excellent Tulane offense in red-zone situations. The Knights aren’t as good of a run defense as Cincinnati was, so you would expect to see Tulane move the ball against UCF, but they should be able to limit explosiveness and let the offense run up the score on Saturday.


Tulane vs. UCF Matchup Analysis

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

Tulane Offense vs. UCF Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 53 73
Line Yards 85 74
Pass Success 95 38
Pass Blocking** 84 61
Big Play 49 81
Havoc 113 59
Finishing Drives 22 65
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UCF Offense vs. Tulane Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 23 66
Line Yards 7 57
Pass Success 84 117
Pass Blocking** 9 111
Big Play 42 119
Havoc 48 105
Finishing Drives 12 81
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 94 88
Coverage 96 21
Middle 8 71 10
SP+ Special Teams 112 54
Plays per Minute 16 50
Rush Rate 53.7% (74) 55.7% (63)

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


Tulane vs. UCF Betting Pick

UCF has statistical advantages all over the field against a subpar Tulane defense, and it’s hard to see how the Green Wave will be able to keep pace in this game with its backup quarterback and a seemingly limited passing offense.

I’d be more inclined to see this as a trap spot for UCF if the Knights had a better record, but this is the homecoming game and a chance to clinch bowl eligibility, so it’s much less likely that UCF will overlook lowly Tulane. Given the enormous offensive advantages, I’d back the Knights to roll here and anything 13 or lower is worth a play.

Pick: UCF -13 or better

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