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Tulane vs Tulsa Picks and Odds

Michael Pratt and Tulane roll in to play Tulsa on Thursday night. Can the Green Wave pull off yet another upset? (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)
  • Tulane takes a three-game winning streak to No. 25 Tulsa on Thursday, November 19th, 2020, where the Green Wave are 6.5-point underdogs
  • The Golden Hurricane have overcome numerous slow starts to be 4-1 and in contention for an AAC championship
  • Read below for full analysis and a pick on the game

Since its season-opener against Oklahoma State, No. 25 Tulsa has been one of the most interesting college football programs to track in 2020.

After very nearly upsetting the Cowboys in Stillwater, the Golden Hurricane returned to play on October 3 and stunned UCF, 34-26. Last week against SMU, Tulsa spotted the Mustangs their first two touchdowns with sloppy play early in the game to come back and win, 28-24. Now, Tulsa likely needs to win its final three games to secure a spot in the American Athletic Conference championship, starting Thursday night at home against Tulane.

The Golden Hurricane has only played at home twice this season, but is 2-0 in those games and is 3-0 overall as a favorite on the year.

Tulane vs #25 Tulsa Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Tulane +6.5 (-110) +205 O 53.5 (-106)
Tulsa -6.5 (-110) -260 U 53.5 (-114)

Odds taken Nov. 18 at FanDuel

Slow Starts and Big Finishes

Tulsa has made a habit of surviving its own sluggish starts to win games for most of the year. Outside of a blowout win against lowly South Florida, Tulsa has needed second-half comebacks to win three of its last four. The Golden Hurricane are among the worst teams in the country in first-half offense and have only scored an average of 10 points in their first two quarters.

Tulane has been in the top third of the country in that category and has averaged 17.9 points per first half this season. Tulsa quarterback Zach Smith has had a Jekyll-and-Hyde type of season, and the same could be said about his performances in individual games.

Last week against SMU, he threw an interception and fumbled a throw in his first two possessions to set the Mustangs up with their early lead. Smith finished the game having completed 68-percent of his passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns.

Is a Green Wave Stronger Than a Golden Hurricane?

Tulane has been on fire in its last three games. After obliterating Temple 38-3, the Green Wave beat an East Carolina team that nearly shocked Tulsa the previous week, 38-21. Tulane dropped a third consecutive 38-point performance on Army last week en route to a win over the Black Knights, who entered the game 6-1.

True freshman quarterback Michael Pratt has seemed to have found his footing and has completed 65-percent of his passes for 618 yards and seven touchdowns during that stretch. Those are pretty good numbers for a run-first offense that rushed for 732 yards in those games.

Tulsa has had a reliable run defense on early downs this season but has yet to face an offense as committed to establishing the run as Tulane is. The Green Wave’s ground attack has been led by the duo of Stephon Huderson and Cameron Carroll, who have combined for over 1000 yards and 13 touchdowns. Junior running back Amare Jones has become more of a fixture in the offense as well and had 60 yards and a touchdown on just five carries against Army.

The Verdict

Tulane is just 1-2 overall in its last three road games but is 2-1 against the spread. Against Houston on October 8, the Green Wave found a way to not win despite forcing five turnovers against the Cougars in the first of those last three matchups. For the season, Tulsa has been very good defensively at stopping third-down conversions — an area Tulane hasn’t exactly excelled — and has been stout in the red zone.

The Golden Hurricane has to win out to stay in the picture for a conference title, but Tulane has played so well in recent weeks that it’s difficult to count them out by the almost seven points the line has moved to. Taking Tulane in the first half at +3.5 seems like a sound option, and Tulsa’s rush defense hasn’t been as formidable recently as its season totals suggest.

Tulane doesn’t have much left to play for this season except a bowl berth, but would love to finish strong with big games this week and next at home against Memphis.

The Pick: Tulane +6.5

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