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SMU vs Tulane Odds & Predictions: Betting Value on Thursday’s Favorite

SMU vs Tulane Odds & Predictions: Betting Value on Thursday’s Favorite article feature image
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Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Tulane’s Tyjae Spears.

SMU vs Tulane Odds

Thursday, Nov. 17
7:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
SMU Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3.5
-110
66
-110o / -110u
+140
Tulane Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3.5
-110
66
-110o / -110u
-165
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The SMU Mustangs and Tulane Green Wave will face off in New Orleans on Thursday night with massive implications on the AAC Championship picture.

SMU will need to win out and get a little help next weekend in order to make it with a tiebreaker scenario. 

The path to the AAC Championship is a little clearer for Tulane. It needs to win this weekend and then beat Cincinnati next weekend to punch its ticket. There would still be other ways it could make it, but that would be the clearest route.

SMU has made it this far on the arm of Tanner Mordecai and its explosive passing offense. A suspect defense has been its downfall, though, and that may come back to bite it against a strong Tulane team.


Southern Methodist Mustangs

Mustangs Offense

SMU’s offense has been moderately successful this season, but it does rely on big plays in the passing game at a high rate. The Mustangs rank 53rd in Offensive Success Rate but 50th in Rushing Success Rate and 53rd when passing.

They have the ninth-most explosive passing offense and fifth-most explosive offense overall, leading to a ranking of 22nd in passing PPA and ninth in Finishing Drives.

SP+ surprisingly ranks this as the 10th-best offense in college football, and PFF has it at 11th. 

Mordecai has been fantastic this year, averaging 0.17 EPA per dropback and putting up 2,780 yards, 27 passing touchdowns and just seven interceptions in 324 passing attempts. Mordecai ranks 16th in the nation in PFF passing grade among quarterbacks who have played at least 20% of their team’s passing snaps.

Mustangs Defense

This Mustangs defense has been a true weakness for them this year. SMU ranks 77th in Defensive Success Rate and 84th in Finishing Drives. Most of its issues stem from the running game, where it’s 96th in Success Rate, 119th in explosiveness and 121st in PPA.

The passing defense has been better, ranking 52nd in Success Rate. However, this unit ranks 117th in passing explosiveness this season. Tulane doesn’t typically generate explosive plays through the air, but it may be able to do just that against this defense.

By almost all accounts, this SMU defense is one of the worst in the AAC. SP+ ranks this defense 107th, while it comes in at 118th in PFF’s grading. 

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Tulane Green Wave

Green Wave Offense

Tulane is primarily known for being a run-heavy team in recent years, and it ranks 46th in rush rate this season. However, the Green Wave rank only 78th in Rushing Success Rate. Because of their ability to break off explosive runs (45th), this rushing offense ranks 41st in PPA.

When Tulane does pass the ball, it finds success. The Green Wave rank 30th in Passing Success Rate and 31st in passing PPA but just 78th in passing explosiveness. 

Michael Pratt has done a fine job as the quarterback of this team. He ranks 51st in PFF passing grade and averages 0.09 EPA per dropback. Pratt has done a solid job of taking care of the ball this season, throwing only four interceptions to 17 touchdowns.

Green Wave Defense

Mordecai and the SMU offense are moderately successful but come up big on explosive plays. Luckily for Tulane, that is what it excels at defending.

Tulane ranks 47th in Passing Success Rate but is 18th-best in passing explosiveness. This unit has the 11th-best PFF coverage grade in the country and 17th highest-graded defense overall.

The Green Wave also defend the run relatively well. They rank 42nd in Rushing Success Rate, 34th in explosiveness and 45th in PPA. SP+ ranks this as the 30th-best defense in the country.


SMU vs Tulane Matchup Analysis

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

SMU Offense vs. Tulane Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 50 42
Line Yards 45 98
Pass Success 55 47
Pass Blocking** 10 70
Havoc 53 102
Finishing Drives 8 69
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Tulane Offense vs. SMU Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 77 97
Line Yards 74 62
Pass Success 30 52
Pass Blocking** 25 116
Havoc 33 116
Finishing Drives 35 83
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 111 25
PFF Coverage 103 12
SP+ Special Teams 33 89
Seconds per Play 21.4 (6) 26.7 (76)
Rush Rate 48.3% (99) 57.9% (36)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

SMU vs Tulane Betting Pick

The strengths of Tulane’s defense directly counter what SMU is great at. This should make for an interesting fight, but I think SMU’s offense will still be able to find some success through the air.

Despite the possibility of SMU succeeding through the air, I think there’s a high probability of Tulane lighting up the scoreboard. This Mustangs defense has been atrocious this season, and the Green Wave are equipped well enough to take advantage of this. 

I believe Tulane will pick up the victory on Thursday night to move to 9-2 with a potential spot in the conference championship on the line. Unfortunately, this line is at 3.5 now, but I would still take the Green Wave up to four.

Pick: Tulane -3.5 (Play to -4)

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