While Tulane may not be the team that bested Kansas State two weeks ago, the Green Wave are a formidable squad that has a lot working in their favor as they begin conference play. We break down their chances against Houston in our betting picks below.
The Tulane Green Wave will visit the Houston Cougars as the two programs open their American Athletic Conference schedules tonight.
Tulane comes into this matchup with a surprising 3-1 record, while Houston sits at 2-2 after beating Rice last week. There’s a lot on the line in this game, as both schools want to prove they are among the top tier of AAC contenders.
One of these teams should make a statement, and we’ll break down who has the edge in our college football picks and predictions for Tulane vs. Houston below.
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Tulane vs Houston best odds
Tulane vs Houston picks and predictions
Houston started the year as a nationally-ranked team, but the Cougars have fallen far from that point over the first four weeks of the season. After an overtime win over the UTSA Roadrunners, Houston suffered back-to-back losses. Last week, the Cougars barely survived in a 34-27 win over the Rice Owls, the level of team we’ve become accustomed to seeing Houston crush early in the season.
Houston has struggled with discipline this year, having committed 10 penalties for 110 yards against Rice. The Cougars lead all FBS schools in both penalties per game (10.8) and penalty yardage per game (96).
They also struggled with injuries against Rice, and not all of those will clear up before the Tulane game. Notably, defensive end Derek Parish is out for the remainder of his senior season with a torn bicep. Parish had already recorded five sacks for Houston this year, already equaling his total from 2021. Houston’s strength on defense has been its pass rush, and that will take a clear hit without Parish in the lineup.
That could be a decisive factor in the matchup with Tulane. The Green Wave have been inconsistent this year, ranging from the high of a 17-10 win over Kansas State two weeks ago to the low of a 27-24 loss to Southern Mississippi last weekend.
Tulane isn’t as good as the team that beat Kansas State, but also isn’t as bad as the team that lost to Southern Miss. The overall profile of the Green Wave — somewhere in the middle of those two results — still shows a solid team and one that has performed far above its preseason expectations.
Junior quarterback Michael Pratt has already thrown seven touchdowns for Tulane this year and is also a threat on the ground, having run for 197 yards in four games. He should be able to push the ball down the field against a Houston team that has allowed at least 27 points in every game this season.
This won't be an easy game for Tulane, as Houston can put up points as well, but the Green Wave have been good at controlling the running game this year, and until the Southern Miss debacle, no team has scored more than 10 points against them all season.
Tulane comes into Friday’s contest as a slight underdog, but I think they can win this game outright and make an early statement in the AAC race. Let’s take the Green Wave at a small plus-money number to score another road upset.
My best bet: Tulane moneyline (+125 at DraftKings)
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Tulane vs Houston spread analysis
The consensus line on this game has remained stable since opening, with Houston favored by 2.5 points. The Cougars have been favored in four of their first five games, but have only covered the spread once: when they were 3.5-point underdogs to the Texas Tech Red Raiders and lost 33-30 in overtime.
Tulane was 3-0 ATS heading into last weekend and looked to be well on its way to covering as a 12-point favorite against Southern Miss. However, that game went sideways in the second half, and the Green Wave not only failed to cover but lost the game outright.
The biggest advantage Tulane holds in this game comes when stacking up its offense against the Houston defensive unit. The Cougars are allowing 443.3 yards per game from opposing offenses, as well as 35.8 points per game. Both figures rank outside the Top 100 in the nation.
The loss of Parish will make this matchup even worse for Houston. Tulane has been solid through the air, averaging 248.8 yards per game, while also gashing teams on the ground for 179.8 yards per contest. Expect Tulane to find plenty of success against an overrated Cougars defense.
If you want to bet the spread on this game, keep a close eye on the number. While I prefer taking Tulane on the moneyline, I would get interested in the spread if I could get something in the neighborhood of -110 should the line move to the magic number of +3. At -2.5, I’m more comfortable taking the moneyline on the Green Wave.
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Tulane vs Houston Over/Under analysis
The total for this game opened at 55 and has moved down slightly to 54.5 over the course of the week. As I’ve already pointed out, both of these teams have no trouble scoring points, though they’ve performed very differently on defense this season.
The Tulane offense is averaging 33.8 points per game this year, with Houston clocking in at 32.8 points. The problem for the Cougars has been their inability to stop anyone from scoring, either. Houston’s opponents are finding things easy through the air (295 yards per game), but are also running the ball well, averaging 148.3 yards per contest.
Meanwhile, the Green Wave has played excellent defense this season. They lead the country in passing defense, allowing just 102.5 yards per game. Houston’s offense has been mediocre but has found most of its success through the air. Senior quarterback Clayton Tune has thrown for 993 yards and seven touchdowns so far this year. He may have trouble replicating that success against the stingy Tulane secondary.
Tulane has yet to play a game this season that would hit the Over on Friday, even when playing against noncompetitive defenses. Houston’s defense may not be great, but it compares favorably to the likes of UMass and Alcorn State. With the Green Wave also likely to limit the Cougars on offense, I’m leaning toward the Under in this matchup.
Tulane vs Houston betting trend to know
Tulane is 5-1 ATS in its last six games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Tulane vs. Houston.
Tulane vs Houston game info
John O'Quinn Field at TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX
|Date:||Friday, September 30, 2022|
|Kickoff:||7:00 p.m. ET|
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