There are four college football games on tap for Friday night and three of the four feature double-digit spreads. One of them is the AAC clash between the Memphis Tigers and the Tulane Green Wave. These are two teams that were underrated by oddsmakers and bettors coming into the season, but adjustments have been made and now we’ll get a chance to see them square off against each other on the field.
Memphis vs. Tulane College Football Preview
Date/Time: Friday October 14, 8:00 p.m. ET
College Football Betting Odds from 5Dimes
College Football Betting Favorite: Memphis -11.5
Reading between the lines, the move down on the total should be a good sign for Tulane. The Green Wave are instituting a triple-option attack under first-year head coach Willie Fritz and a low-scoring games would imply that Tulane will be dictating the pace of this game. Tulane is actually 3-2 to the over with their 3-2 straight up record and their 3-1-1 ATS record. Fritz is now 18-10-1 against the spread as an FBS head coach. Memphis has played three straight overs. They are 4-1 straight up, but just 2-3 against the number. This will be their lowest total of the season.
Don’t let last week’s win over Temple fool you. As far as misleading final scores go, this one stands out. Memphis gave up 531 yards in that football game. They only had the ball for 21:45. In that span, they racked up 323 yards of offense and 27 offensive points. A kick return touchdown was a big deal in this one, but Temple got within the number late. Memphis gave up 445 yards through the air in that game, so their defense has now been shredded in consecutive games. The Tigers defense has now allowed 1,155 yards over the last two weeks of the season.
While the defense struggles, the offense is still playing well. Memphis has not been held under 28 points this season and they have gained 446 yards per game. The 323 yards that they had against Temple was a season low, but they also had a limited number of possessions with the kick return touchdown and the ball control of Temple. Riley Ferguson has thrown for 1,360 yards with an 11/5 TD/INT ratio and receivers have been running free in Mike Norvell’s system. The former Arizona State offensive coordinator has to be pleased with what he has seen so far. For the second straight week, however, Memphis struggled in the first half. They only scored seven points at Ole Miss and then trailed 13-3 heading into the second half against Temple. Perhaps that’s a sign of Norvell’s ability to make adjustments or maybe the Tigers just aren’t ready to go from the opening kickoff.
Tulane Green Wave:
We know that Willie Fritz’s team will be ready to go. Fritz is proving to be quite a head coach in college football. Tulane hasn’t beaten anybody that would be categorized as a good team, but this program has 34 wins over the last 10 seasons and has made a bowl game once. Fritz is halfway to that six-win mark. The Green Wave will be on extra prep time after last week’s game was rained out due to Hurricane Matthew. Since Wake Forest held this offense in check in Week 1, Tulane has averaged 31 points per game. Take that with a grain of salt because the four-overtime game against Louisiana-Lafayette was actually a 16-16 game heading into extra time. Tulane’s triple-option attack has managed 4.7 yards per carry, which is outstanding for a team that really didn’t have a lot of pieces and parts in place for that type of system.
As you would expect with a run-heavy offense, Tulane’s defense has improved. They gave up 36.3 points per game last season. This season, the defense has only allowed 22.4 points and just 309 yards per game. Another reason that the total is dropping for this game is because of Tulane’s tempo and ability to control the clock. The defense has averaged 66 snaps against per week and only 26:44 of game clock on the field. Memphis had 581 yards when these two teams played last season, but things are a little bit different this season.
College Football Free Pick: Tulane Green Wave +11.5
This line certainly looks a couple ticks too high. You can make a strong case that Tulane hasn’t played a great schedule, as they’ve beaten Southern, ULL, and UMass. Nevertheless, the triple-option shortens the game and limits possessions. With a double-digit spread, that’s a really important concept. Memphis will probably move the ball, but they won’t get as many chances to do it and they will need to stop an offense that they don’t see often.
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