The American Athletic Conference takes center stage on Friday night with a couple of conference matchups kicking off at 8 p.m. Eastern. One of them will be in Memphis as the Tigers host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. It’s strange to see the Tigers laying big numbers in football, but that’s the case again this week. After covering as a huge favorite on the road at SMU, the Tigers are once again heavy chalk this week against Tulsa.
Tulsa vs. Memphis College Football Preview
Date/Time: Friday October 31, 8:00 p.m. ET
College Football Betting Odds from WagerWeb
College Football Betting Favorite: Memphis -24
Bill Blankenship has fallen on hard times at Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane are just 1-6 straight up and 2-5 against the spread this season. Blankenship is now 22-17 straight up and 19-20 ATS at Tulsa. Justin Fuente is 5-1-1 against the number this season and the Tigers have been a good team to back under him, now 18-12-1 ATS. Despite the 4-3 straight up mark, Fuente is just 11-20 in that category.
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Tulsa Golden Hurricane:
The Tulsa program is in a state of disarray right now. It began last year when athletic director Ross Parmley was fired for running an alleged gambling operation out of Oklahoma City. It has continued with the football team. From 2007-12, Tulsa had four seasons with double digits in wins. Since then, they are 4-15 and everything has dropped off. The offense went from nearly 35 points per game to 21 points back from 2012 to 2013 and hasn’t improved much this season. The defense has also fallen off the pace. Keevan Lucas is the lone bright spot this season with 64 catches for over 800 yards, but Tulsa has lost each of their last five games by an average of 20 points.
While Tulsa goes downhill, the Tigers are clearly improving under Justin Fuente. Fuente’s name has been thrown about for bigger job openings, even though the job he has done at Memphis has taken some time to come together. The offense went from 19.5 points per game to over 35 points per game this season. The defense, which has always been underrated under Fuente, has gone from 30.3 points per game in 2012 to 24.6 points per game in 2013 and just 19.3 points per game this season. A better offense has turned a good defense into a very good defense. The Tigers are racking up over 450 yards of offense per game and are now able to flip the field even when they don’t score. Defensive coordinator Barry Odom also deserves credit for molding a strong unit.
Free Pick: Tulsa Golden Hurricane +24
The betting market has pushed this number up, which isn’t particularly surprising because of how these two teams have looked. There’s definitely some recency bias in this line because Memphis has been very good to bettors so far this season. Tulsa is a trainwreck, but 24 points is certainly a lot for Memphis to cover when there’s not a whole lot of incentive to blow a team like this out. The Tigers were -23.5 at SMU last week and SMU is easily the worst team in the country. Tulsa isn’t great, but putting them on SMU’s level is a little bit of an overreaction.