Tulane vs. Oklahoma Odds, Predictions, Picks: How to Bet Saturday’s Week 1 Game in Norman
David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kennedy Brooks.
- Originally scheduled to take place in Louisiana, the Tulane Green Wave will now head to Norman to take on the Oklahoma Sooners in Week 1.
- The Sooners are led by Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler, who hopes to become the next Lincoln Riley-coached player to win the award.
- Check out Darin Gardner's full betting guide with odds, picks, and predictions for the game.
Tulane vs. Oklahoma Odds
Oklahoma, which has received as much as hype as anyone over the course of the offseason, gets its 2021 season kicked off against a solid Group of Five school in Tulane.
This game has made headlines during the week, with Hurricane Ida forcing the meeting to move from New Orleans to Norman, Okla.
Undoubtedly, Tulane has more than just football on its mind with everything going on back home, and finally getting to kick off the season Saturday could be a welcoming distraction for the Green Wave.
Will Hall, Tulane’s former offensive coordinator, has left to take over at Southern Mississippi, but the school decided to replace Hall with his college roommate and former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip Long.
By all accounts, the offense won’t change much schematically this year. That’s good news for quarterback Michael Pratt, who impressed last season as a true freshman. He was a willing runner, gaining 439 yards on 56 carries when removing sacks. Pratt was part of an overall rushing attack that ranked 14th in expected points added per rush that should be the strength with him, combined with Cameron Carroll and Tyjae Spears, at running back.
To keep this one interesting, Tulane will likely need to get the ground game going. Relying on the passing game against this Oklahoma pass rush could cause trouble for the Green Wave, so getting consistency in the ground game is going to be important.
Oklahoma performed well against the run last year, but it had the benefit of playing several weak Big 12 rushing attacks. The only top-40 rushing attack in terms of success rate Oklahoma faced last year was Iowa State. Tulane’s unique scheme could at least hold its own on the ground in this matchup.
Oklahoma looks as loaded as anyone on offense, entering 2021 with the Heisman favorite at quarterback in Spencer Rattler. The hype is absolutely warranted, and it’s hard to find a weak link for this Sooner offense.
Oklahoma lost productive running back Rhammondre Stevenson after 2020, but returns a very efficient player in Kennedy Brooks after he opted out of last season. Plus, the Sooners landed highly-coveted transfer in Eric Gray. Even after losing last year’s starter, the running-back committee looks even better going into this season.
Up front, Oklahoma looks very strong again. The Sooners’ sack-rate numbers don’t look impressive on the surface, ranking of 72nd last season, but graded as PFF’s No. 3 pass-blocking unit. The reason for the discrepancy has a lot to do with Rattler’s tendency to hold on to the ball (looking to make something happen), as his average time to throw was sixth highest in the country.
You might be able to make a case that this group of pass catchers is relatively unproven going into 2021, but the unit is incredibly talented. Marvin Mims comes back after leading the Big 12 in PFF receiving grade as a true freshman, plus there’s an incredible amount of talent around him.
Jadon Haselwood and Theo Wease are the other likely starters, who were No. 1 and No. 3 receivers in the country back in the 2019 recruiting class. Haselwood was supposed to take the college-football world by storm last season, but suffered a knee injury in the offseason. Wease, who finished second on the team in receiving yards last season, is another big-time breakout candidate.
Between those three players, Arkansas receiver transfer Mike Woods, tight end Austin Stogner and the running back duo, this isn’t going to be a fun offense to defend.
Tulane’s defense looks strong going into 2021, but it’s definitely going to be tested here. The Green Wave ranked 26th in success rate allowed last season, and returns two of the best linebackers in college football in Nick Anderson and Dorian Williams.
Tulane’s pass rush was the strength of the team last season, but does lose both starters on the edge. If Rattler continues to hold on to the ball in the pocket like he did last year, Tulane’s pass rush could have some opportunities to get home. The Sooners will still likely get theirs on offense, but Tulane does have the personnel to at least put up a fight.
Tulane vs. Oklahoma Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Tulane and Oklahoma match up statistically:
Tulane Offense vs. Oklahoma Defense
Oklahoma Offense vs. Tulane Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Tulane vs. Oklahoma Betting Pick
Tulane’s players have a lot more to worry about than a football game right now, which makes it challenging to have a strong opinion on this game.
With that in mind, though, this number does give value to the Green Wave compared to my projection of 25.3, assuming full strength for both teams.
It’s impossible to know how all these factors will impact Tulane, considering the players have to deal with the impact of a hurricane back home, packing up and moving to Alabama to practice, and having the game moved from home to away just days before kickoff.
Still, I like the value here on Tulane getting 31 points or more.