SMU vs. Tulane Odds, Picks, & Predictions (11/17/22)

While Thursday nights are typically dedicated to the NFL, there’s a fascinating college football game to watch, as well. SMU and Tulane have been two of the best teams in the fascinating AAC this season, and they have plenty to play for in this game. You can check out our YouTube channel for further analysis on this game. This matchup preview will cover all of the betting odds for this game and offer a prediction of the final outcome. Let’s get to work.

SMU Mustangs Vs. Tulane Green Wave

The look-ahead line for this game was Tulane -4.5, but last week’s results modified that line. Suddenly, the Mustangs are on a three-game winning streak as their offense has found its mojo in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Tulane is coming off a close home loss to UCF, but they still have all of their goals in front of them.

The over-under in this game is priced rather high, but it makes sense given the teams involved. SMU’s last three games have averaged a whopping 94.3 points, and Tulane’s team total has been 27+ points for four straight games. We should expect some points to be scored on Thursday, but the sportsbooks know that, so it’s debatable whether there’s any value on the total.

SMU Mustangs Vs. Tulane Green Wave Prediction & Pick

We’re getting value on the Green Wave here. While UCF held a 24-7 lead over Tulane at one point last week, it was essentially a coin flip game. SP+ postgame win expectancy had UCF winning by just 0.9 points on the final margin with a 54.4% postgame win probability. Tulane’s two lost fumbles loomed large as they didn’t force a single turnover in the game.

Meanwhile, SMU’s recent run of success is overly flattering to the Mustangs. They have scored 54.3 points per game over their last three, but they’ve faced three defenses that rank outside the top 100 by SP+ rankings. This week, they face a Tulane defense that ranks 30th in the SP+ rankings on a short week.

Tulane is 8-2 ATS this season, and one loss won’t make me shy away from backing them here. Their entire season is still in front of them, and they have the upper hand this week due to their excellent home field advantage. As I’ll break down below, I trust the Tulane defense in this matchup, and their offense has a massive edge, as well.

The Pick: Tulane wins and covers

SMU Mustangs Vs. Tulane Green Wave Key Matchups

Will Tanner Mordecai continue his hot streak against this Tulane defense? Will Tyjae Spears and this Tulane run game get going against the SMU? Check out the key matchups and mismatches for SMU vs Tulane below.

Tanner Mordecai vs. the Tulane pass defense

The SMU quarterback has been on an absolute heater lately with 2+ passing touchdowns in three of his last four games. Of course, that includes the absurd game against Houston where he scored ten total touchdowns in leading his team to a 77-63 win. SMU ranks fifth in the FBS in offensive explosiveness, and Mordecai is the catalyst.

However, he’ll likely meet his match against Tulane this week. Mordecai threw for 427 yards and three touchdowns against the Green Wave last year, but this is a very different defense. SMU ranks 9th in pass play explosiveness, but Tulane ranks 18th defensively as their secondary simply doesn’t allow big plays.

Tulane’s secondary is ranked 12th in the FBS in coverage by PFF, and it’s the strength of their defense overall. Cornerback Macon Clark has been one of the best cornerbacks in the AAC this season while safety Larry Brooks and linebacker Dorian Williams are also excellent in coverage.

The biggest weakness of the Mean Green defense is their defensive line as they rank just 98th in average line yards and 128th in sack rate. Mordecai will have time in the pocket as his offensive line ranks just 25th in sack rate allowed. However, his ability to beat the elite Tulane secondary will dictate how much offensive success SMU can have.

Tyjae Spears vs. the SMU run defense

Quarterback Michael Pratt is obviously pivotal for Tulane’s offensive success and I expect him to have a big game given this soft matchup, but I’m more excited to see Tyjae Spears go to work. The junior running back is already putting up career-best numbers for the Mean Green, and this matchup is incredibly favorable.

SMU ranks 124th in run defense EPA, and that’s music to the ears of Tulane who runs the ball at a well above average rate. SMU is particularly bad at allowing chunk plays on the ground as they rank 119th in rush play explosiveness allowed whereas Tulane ranks 45th offensively in that respect.

Tyjae Spears ranks top ten in the Group of Five in breakaway run rate and yards after contact per run according to PFF (min. 100 carries), so he’ll be able to take advantage of the underperforming SMU run defense. His ability to keep his team on schedule will be huge for the Green Wave.

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

Hot College Football Stories