Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:00 AM EST.
CINCINNATI -14 over Tulsa
Nippert Stadium – Cincinnati, OH
AAC Championship Game
8:00 PM EST. Initially, we were somewhat reluctant to approach this contest since we’re being asked to spot significant lumber but there are spots where laying points of this quantity can bear fruit.
Although we like the Bearcats, this wager is more about fading a team that is falsely ranked and the oddsmakers know it but the efficient market may not. The Golden Hurricane were taking back as much as 15½-points before they were bet down to their present asking price. Right off the bat, we’re going with the best of it, as we do not endorse that the market is efficient. Nevertheless, such an instance would not be enough to grab our attention but when we also consider the fact that Tulsa is perfect on the road this year against the spread and only failed to cover once in seven outings this season, we can surmise that the oddsmakers are taking a clear position on Tulsa’s prospects in this contest.
Tulsa’s only loss on the year was its season opener against a ranked Oklahoma State in Stillwater. A game that it could have won. From that moment, the market credibility on the Golden Hurricane has been elevated. Tulsa has won week-in and week-out. However, we have to highlight that barring its dominant win against USF, the remaining five wins attained by this outfit could have very easily been losses had in-game variances not gone their way. We’ll break this down further.
Most recently, Tulsa defeated Navy 19-6 when the two sides met on December 5th. However, we can write this off as much as Navy only being there in body not spirit, as they were very likely looking ahead to their match with Army in the week to follow. The Hurricane caught Navy at the right time and took advantage in a rather pedestrian win that didn’t see Tulsa pull away until the fourth quarter. In the other four victories in question, Tulsa could have easily lost. Against UCF and SMU, Tulsa overcame 18 and 21 point leads to steal a triumph in the fourth quarter (against SMU in the final three minutes). The Golden Hurricane also could have lost to Tulane when the two sides met in Tulsa in November. Had it not been for the Golden Hurricane forcing overtime by way of a 37-yard touchdown toss as the fourth quarter closed out, Tulsa wouldn’t have had a chance to escape in extra time. Finally, there is also Tulsa’s near miss when it should have lost to ECU in October as a 17-point favorite but the referees making calls in the Golden Hurricane favor enabled them to escape once again. The refs apologized afterward for “messing up”. The summary of outcomes demonstrates the intangibles that come with in-game variances falling in Tulsa’s favor. Tulsa is 6-1 but they could very easily be 5-2, 4-3, 3-4, or 2-5.
Meanwhile Cincinnati has looked every bit deserving of their ranking, distinction, and record, as they have been one of the more complete football teams on both sides of the field throughout 2020. The amount of points associated with Tulsa is not an early Christmas present, it is a reflection of the respect that Cincy has earned. There is a clear-cut trough between both sides in terms of competitive quality and unless the bounces roll with the Golden Hurricane again, it is hard to see them coming in under this deflated number.
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CINCINNATI -14 -105 (Risking 2.10 units - To Win: 2.00)