Tulane vs. Tulsa Analysis & Picks

by | Nov 18, 2020 | cfb

Tulane Green Wave (5-4 S.U., 6-3 ATS) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (4-1 S.U., 4-1 ATS)

When: Thursday, November 19, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, Okla.

TV: ESPN

Point Spread: TULN +6.5/TLSA -6.5 (BAS - Be smart! Bet on games at -105 instead of -110. Anything else is foolish!)

Total: O/U 53.5

Outlook

A pair of long-overlooked American squads finally get their due and get to take center stage in a Thursday battle, as Tulsa tries to become the surprise team in the league championship. Cincinnati long ago established itself as the favorite to both win the American and make a run at the College Football Playoff, and most analysts have long anticipated a league championship game between the Bearcats and Central Florida. But while the Knights were getting all the attention, Tulsa kept winning. Quietly, the Golden Hurricane has posted a 4-0 record in the league while everyone else but Cincinnati kept stumbling, and now Tulsa is in a position to cut off the Knights’ path back to the championship game with one more win.

Standing in their own path is an underrated Tulane squad that’s coming off three straight wins and has been a thorn in the side of the Golden Hurricane over the past three seasons. Tulane has done pretty much whatever it’s wanted against Tulsa over the past three seasons, averaging just over 41 points per game in their past three meetings. The Green Wave have their own motivation for getting this win: a victory here would guarantee their third straight winning season, something Tulane hasn’t accomplished since 1981. Can the Wave frustrate Tulsa one more time and deal a damaging blow to the Golden Hurricane’s league championship hopes?

How the Public is Betting the Tulane/Tulsa Game

The public believes in defense and in Tulsa. Seventy-one percent of tickets have come in on the Golden Hurricane, and the line has ticked up two points as a result, going from -4.5 to -6.5. The total has fallen as a result, dropping from 55.5 to 53.5.

Injury Concerns

 

Tulane:
Running backs Tyjae Spears (knee) and Corey Dauphine (Achilles) are out for the season.

Tulsa:
Linebacker Yohance Burnett (knee) and running back Shamari Brooks (knee) are out for the season.

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When Tulane Has the Ball

There’s not much mystery as to what Tulane wants to do when it has the ball. The Green Wave make their living off their ground game, and even with Spears and Dauphine done for the season, Stephon Huderson and Cameron Carroll have emerged as quality replacements who have kept Tulane moving. The Wave averages 224 yards a game on the ground and has put up 38 points in each of their past three contests, with Carroll now up to 10 touchdowns on the season.

But Tulane is actually more than its ground game because Michael Pratt has quietly been developing into a solid college quarterback. In his first two efforts against Houston and Southern Mississippi, Pratt appeared a bit overwhelmed and was trying to simply survive, but since then, he’s become a lot more comfortable under center. He’s thrown for 197 yards or better in each of his past four contests and has ten touchdowns to just three interceptions in that stretch. Tulane’s offense doesn’t need Pratt to do anything more than not lose the game for them, but if he’s making plays, that’s a major benefit to the Green Wave that makes them much harder to stop.

When the Wave do pass, look for the Watts brothers (Duece and Phat) to do most of the damage. Duece Watts leads the Wave with 448 yards and five scores, while Phat Watts has been a reliable outlet on third downs.

When Tulsa Has the Ball

The Golden Hurricane could have seen their season derailed when they lost Shamari Brooks, but when you’ve got a passer like Zach Smith, you can withstand losing a quality running back. Tulsa hasn’t missed a beat without Brooks, as Deneric Prince and T.K. Wilkerson have picked up enough of the load to let Smith go to work. Smith does take a few more chances than you’d like, as he’s thrown an interception in every game Tulsa’s played this season. But otherwise, he’s a quality college quarterback who will do a lot more to win the game than lose the game.

Plus, one of the reasons he takes as many chances as he does is that he’s got a pair of quality wide receivers to find. Keylon Stokes has been the setup man for the Tulsa offense, catching 28 balls for 428 yards and allowing Josh Johnson to haul in the touchdowns, with four to the latter’s name. Smith doesn’t tend to spread the ball around all that much, as only four Tulsa players have more than five catches on the season. But with experience and talent available in his top two targets, he doesn’t really have much of a reason to look anywhere else.

Betting Trends

Betting against either one of these teams as of late has been an excellent way to lose money. Tulane has now covered in four consecutive games, while Tulsa has covered in five of its past six contests. However, neither team is in its preferred position this week. Tulane is at its best when it gets to play at home, as it’s only covered in two of its past seven as a road underdog. The Wave is especially vulnerable in Oklahoma, as they’ve covered just once in their past seven trips to Tulsa.

Tulsa, meanwhile, much prefers being the hunter to the hunted. The Golden Hurricane have only covered in two of their past seven as a home favorite, a position they haven’t seen much this season. Tulsa is at its best when opponents fail to give it the respect it deserves, but the secret is out now.

When it comes to the total, Tulsa tends to play defensive battles against quality opponents. In the Golden Hurricane’s last 19 games against teams with a winning record, the under has hit 15 times. But Tulane doesn’t tend to play that game: five of the past six matchups between the teams have gone over.

Weather Report

Much of the country is preparing to experience winter weather. Oklahoma is not, as these teams will have a clear night with temperatures hovering in the high 50s and a wind blowing south at nine miles per hour.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

There’s little chance of a lookahead here. Tulsa is a quality football team that’s sick of losing to Tulane, and now that they’ve got a chance at all but nailing down a trip to the conference championship game, I expect Tulsa to come out fired up and take care of business. I expect Tulane to give this one a good battle, but I think Tulsa is the stronger side and will eventually be too much for the Green Wave. Give me the Golden Hurricane. Bet this week’s football picks FREE by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus offer where you can deposit $100 to $1000 and the book will match you dollar for dollar! Find this killer offer at BetNow Sportsbook!