Houston vs. Tulane Betting Odds & Picks: Is Market Too High on Green Wave?

Houston vs. Tulane Betting Odds & Picks: Is Market Too High on Green Wave? article feature image
Credit:

Julie Bennett-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Justin McMillan

Houston vs. Tulane Betting Odds & Pick

  • Odds: Tulane -5
  • Over/Under: 57.5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • Location: New Orleans, La.

All odds above as of Thursday at 5 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

Tulane is a 5-point favorite in the latest betting odds vs. Houston, which travels to New Orleans on Thursday to play the only college football game of the night.

The Tulane Green Wave have been impressive through three games, covering two and pushing against Auburn, depending on the line you got.

Houston is 1-2 with losses to Oklahoma and Washington State, but the biggest note on the Cougars’ young season has been their pace — 95th of 130 teams in seconds per play after ranking No. 1 last season. That’s why this over/under is in the 50’s (they haven’t had a total that low since November of 2017).

How are we picking Houston vs. Tulane on Thursday night? Let’s dive in.

Stuckey: Has Market Caught Up to Tulane?

I love this Tulane team. In fact, I love them so much that I took a flier on them to win the conference at 35-1 before the season started.

All of the pieces are there for this experienced team to surprise the AAC.

The Green Wave have a veteran QB in Justin McMillan and a plethora of talent around him, including Darnell Mooney, one of the best receivers you may have never heard of.

And on the other side of the ball, the defensive front seven is excellent, led by star defensive end Patrick Johnson, who was named to the Bednarik and Nagurski Watch Lists.

But it appears bookmakers and betting market are up to speed.

I was hoping in a dream world to get Tulane as an underdog, but realistically thought I could get them at home as a favorite of 3 or less (as I mentioned on our podcast).

Well, that didn’t happen. The line came out at 3.5 and has since ballooned to 5. I make it between -6 and -6.5, so I can’t lay -5.

So unless it comes down, I will be waiting to bet this game live or in the second half. I also think Tulane is an intriguing moneyline parlay piece if you’re searching for one.

I am not a believer in this Houston defense, especially up front. Tulane should be able to move the ball at will on the ground, while also capitalizing on a few deep shots.

In a matchup of two potent rush offenses that rank in the top 25 in yards per carry, it’s Tulane that’s much more capable of defending the run. The Green Wave have only allowed 3.0 yards per rush (32nd) while the Cougars have allowed 5.5 (122nd).

And on the other side, I’m not afraid of Houston exploiting Tulane’s defensive weakness in the secondary. The Green Wave have the front 7 to contain quarterback D’Eriq King, who will still get his but just not enough to win this game in my opinion. Stuckey

Wilson: How I’m Betting the Total

I bet under 56 in The Action Network App, we are looking for more of that slow pace and some defensive improvements to get us there.

The Cougars had a much faster pace offense in 2018, averaging 79 snaps per game. King was the beneficiary of an offense that was second in adjusted pace. Times have changed, as the Dana Holgorsen era has Houston at 68.5 plays per game in 2019.

New offensive coordinator Will Hall has slowed down Tulane, as well. Its 88th ranking in plays per second is down from its previous offensive philosophy, similar to Houston.

Tulane has been exceptional so far on defense, ranking top 25 in opponent third down conversions, red zone scoring percentage, and yards per play — and that’s with games against FIU and Auburn.

My projection for the total is 52, giving the key number of 56 plenty of value. Anything above that is a play for me. Collin Wilson

Pick: Under 56

Betting Trends

Tulane is 14th in the country in rushing yards, averaging 256.0 per game. Houston is just behind them with 238.7 rushing yards per game (22nd).

When two elite rushing teams play it has been profitable to bet the under: 155-129-6 (55%) since 2005.

This makes sense, rushing the ball keeps the clock moving, which shortens the game and the scoring opportunities. — John Ewing