Expect a low-scoring contest when run-happy Tulane and Cincinnati clash in a Week 6 American Athletic Conference showdown on Saturday (2018). Updated line movement, our betting pick, game predictions, and tips here:
Tulane at Cincinnati
Opening Line: Bearcats -8.5
Opening Total: 50
Kickoff: noon ET (ESPNU)
Site: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
The line shuffled between -7 and its initial offer of -8.5 throughout the first 24 hours of trading. It’s since settled at -7.5 across most online sports books, with some shops dangling a touchdown. Sharp money is flooding the Green Wave with the odds going in its direction, despite holding just 33 percent of the tickets. The total, meanwhile, is slightly edging with the public, dropping from 51 to 49.5 across most outlets. Nearly 68 percent of bet action supports the wager.
Tulane (2-3 SU, 3-2 ATS) is coming off one of head coach Willie Fritz’s biggest career upsets, topping preseason American Athletic Conference (AAC) favorite Memphis 40-24 as a two-touchdown underdog last weekend.
The squad has been in every game outside of a 49-6 blowout loss to No. 4 Ohio State, entering the fourth quarter against Alabama-Birmingham and Wake Forest, its other two defeats, tied. It just failed to conjure up winning drives late.
Whether the Green Wave can ride the Memphis momentum will be telling. Going back to his two-year stint coaching Georgia Southern, Fritz has covered both follow-up efforts when coming off a rare underdog win, covering a -10.0 average line by 6.0 points per game.
Cincinnati (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) has some of the most impressive defensive metrics in the country. It tops the nation in opponent passing efficiency (89.7), ranks No. 2 in scoring defense (12.2 ppg), and No. 7 in total yards allowed per game (276.0). It’s a huge turnaround for a unit that mired in the bottom half of the FBS in most defensive categories last season. The scheme has not changed so much, but added quickness, improved tackling, and aggressive hitting are fueling the much-improved group.
Bettors should worry if the Bearcats can produce enough points to cover a touchdown spread in this matchup. Since head coach Luke Fickell took over the program, the offense musters 25.8 points per game in contests kicking off with a single-digit line at Nippert Stadium. It has yet to score more than an opponent allows per game for the season entering a matchup. Tulane yields 28.8 points per game.
Pick: UNDER 50.5
Both outfits are ball-control type teams with the running game being their bread-and-butter. When asked how Tulane will break through the tough-nosed Bearcat defense, Fritz replied, “We’ve just got to get bodies on bodies.” This remark suggests a physical attack in which the Green Wave will attempt to square up and match Cincy muscle for muscle. Time will tick away with such a game plan. Efficient defense will rule. The total is moving south, but some sports books like Nitrogen Sports are still offering 50.5. Shop around.