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SMU vs Tulane Odds, Picks, Predictions

SMU vs. Tulane Odds

The SMU Mustangs and Tulane Green Wave face off in New Orleans on Thursday night with massive implications for the image of the AAC Championship.

SMU will need to win and get some help next weekend in order to succeed with a tiebreaker scenario.

The path to the AAC Championship is a little clearer for Tulane. He needs to win this weekend, then beat Cincinnati next weekend to clinch his ticket. There would still be other ways to do it, but that would be the clearest way.

SMU have come this far on the arm of Tanner Mordecai and his explosive passing attack. Suspicious defense has been his downfall, however, and it could come back to bite him against a strong Tulane team.


Mustangs Offense

SMU’s offense has had moderate success this season, but it relies on big plays in the high-pace passing game. The Mustangs rank 53rd in offensive pass rate, but 50th in rushing pass rate and 53rd in passing pass.

They have the ninth most explosive passing offense and the fifth most explosive passing offense overall, leading to a ranking of 22nd in passing PPA and ninth in finishing drives.

SP+ surprisingly ranks this as the 10th best offense in college football, and PFF has it at 11th.

Mordecai has been fantastic this year, averaging 0.17 EPA per dropback and racking up for 2,780 yards, 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions on 324 pass attempts. Mordecai ranks 16th in the nation in PFF pass rating among quarterbacks who have played at least 20% of their team’s pass snaps.

Defense of the Mustangs

This Mustangs defense has been a real weakness for them this year. SMU ranks 77th in defensive pass rate and 84th in finishing drives. Most of his problems stem from the racing game, where he is 96th in success rate, 119th in explosiveness and 121st in APP.

Pass defense was better, ranking 52nd in pass rate. However, this unit ranks 117th in passing explosiveness this season. Tulane doesn’t usually generate explosive plays in the air, but he may be able to do so against this defense.

By almost everyone’s opinion, this SMU defense is one of the worst in the AAC. SP+ ranks this defense 107th, while it comes in at 118th in PFF’s rankings.


Green Wave Offense

Tulane has primarily been known for being a hot team in recent years, and they rank 46th in rush rate this season. However, the green wave only ranks 78th for rapid success rate. Due to their ability to interrupt explosive runs (45th), this rushing attack ranks 41st in PPA.

When Tulane passes the ball, he succeeds. The Green Wave ranks 30th in Hit Rate and 31st in Pass APP, but only 78th in Pass Explosiveness.

Michael Pratt has done a great job as quarterback on this team. It ranks 51st in the PFF pass mark and averages 0.09 EPA per pullback. Pratt has done a solid job taking care of the ball this season, throwing just four interceptions for 17 touchdowns.

Defense Against Green Waves

Mordecai and the SMU offense have moderate success but are very successful on explosive plays. Luckily for Tulane, that’s what he excels at defending.

Tulane ranks 47th in passing success rate, but 18th in passing explosiveness. This unit has the 11th best PFF coverage rating in the nation and the 17th best defense overall.

The Green Wave also defends the race relatively well. They rank 42nd in Rushing Success Rate, 34th in Explosiveness, and 45th in PPA. SP+ ranks this as the 30th best defense in the nation.


SMU vs. Tulane Correspondence Analysis

Toggle the drop-down menus below to hide or show the statistical correspondence between SMU and Tulane:

EMS offense vs. Defense of Tulane

Tulane Offense vs. EMS defense

Pace of play / Other
PFF tackle 111 25
PFF cover 103 12
SP+ special teams 33 89
Seconds per game 21.4 (6) 26.7 (76)
Peak rate 48.3% (99) 57.9% (36)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

SMU vs Tulane betting picks

Tulane Defense Forces directly counters what SMU excels at. It should make for an interesting fight, but I think SMU’s offense can still find some success in the air.

Despite the possibility of SMU succeeding in the air, I think there’s a strong likelihood that Tulane will light up the scoreboard. That Mustangs defense has been atrocious this season, and the Green Wave is well-equipped enough to take advantage of it.

I believe Tulane will take the win Thursday night to move to 9-2 with a potential Conference Championship spot on the line. Unfortunately, that line is at 3.5 now, but I would still take the green wave up to four.

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