Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:30 PM EST.
TULANE +6½ -104 over SMU
Yulman Stadium – Tulane, LA
Streaming: ON ESPN and also on TSN 1, 3 & 4 in the 3PM Kickoff/Soccer group.
6:00 PM EST. Note the early start time. We understand that this one is going to be hard to pull the trigger on because Tulane was featured in a prime-time game eight days ago and lost by 18 points to Houston. Now, losing by 18 is not that big a deal, especially to a quality outfit like the Cougars but that’s not what makes pulling the trigger on Tulane difficult. You see, Tulane did something that occurs about once every 20 years in a football game. The Green Wave won the turnover battle by five and lost by 18. That’s almost impossible to do. Winning the turnover battle by five might be undefeated in the history of college football yet the Green Wave managed to not only lose but lose by almost three converted TD’s. That Tulane lost by 18 points with a turnover margin of +5 is being underlined in the media and the market has been put on alert. The market was lining up to fade Tulane after that debacle (you do NOT win the turnover battle by 5 and lose by 18).
We often discuss not overreacting to one game whether it’s a gem or a dud. Results aside, what resonates with us is that the Green Wave are hovering around the same price as they did at kick-off last week when it hit the road to square off with Houston. Houston was playing in its first game of the year after five cancellations due to the pandemic while SMU is a ranked #17th in the nation and is undefeated. In other words, how can Tulane be taking back the same price against Houston as they are against a ranked opponent that has steamrolled two teams and is undefeated. The Pony Express have outscored their competition 145-69, working out to an average margin victory of nearly 25 points per game.
Meanwhile, Tulane’s body of work includes a disappointing effort against South Alabama (winning narrowly despite being favored by double digits), a loss to Navy after blowing a 24-point lead, and the aforementioned loss to Houston.
So, there you have it, the tell of the tape on paper and all the things that influence the market into overvaluing the favorite. Now put that ranking beside SMU and there is even more of a premium to pay to get behind them. What the tale of the tape doesn’t reveal is that SMU has a date with #8 Cincinnati on deck after a narrow win against #25 Memphis in its last game. That makes this the letdown, the overvalued and the lookahead rolled into one and it remains a common cause of a C-game, because there are so many ways for it to go wrong for the road favorite. Tulane catching 6½-points at home is the filler of the sandwich, thus putting SMU on C-game alert. Tulane not only holds the value here but they're in a favorable situation too.
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TULANE +6½ +103 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.06)