The no. 16 South Florida Bulls hope to remain undefeated when they visit the Tulane Green Wave this weekend. Kickoff is at 7:00 EST on Saturday, October 21 at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans. The game can be seen nationally on ESPN2.

Oddsmakers list the Bulls as 12.5-point favorites on the road, The game has an over/under of 57.5 points. Click here to see a full list of Week 8 betting odds and links to game previews.

South Florida vs TulaneBetting Preview & Vegas Game Odds

Many have given the Bulls the title of the best team outside the power conferences, and it’s hard to argue against that. In Charlie Strong’s first season in Tampa, USF is 6-0 with each game more lopsided than the last. The Bulls have an average margin of victory this season of 26 points, with each of their last two wins coming by 30 points each.

On the other side, Tulane enters this week’s game at 3-3. It’s tough to argue with any of the team’s losses this season, but the Green Wave is likely to be scrambling to reach bowl eligibility late in the season. If they can pull off an upset over USF, they will feel a lot better about their bowl prospects heading down the stretch.

Vegas Free NCAAF Betting Pick: South Florida -12.5

Tulane has beat up on a couple bad teams this year, and they’ve even held their won against other run-heavy teams like Army and Navy, but there’s a considerable talent gap between these two teams. Despite a defense that has been vulnerable at times, the Bulls are steamrolling everyone this year. I’ll lean toward USF to keep that up and cover 12.5 points against Tulane.

Tulane’s biggest problem is how one-dimensional they can be on offense. The Green Wave are too reliant on their rushing attack. Quarterback Jonathan Banks, while a talented runner, has thrown for just 502 yards in five games. If Tulane gets into a situation where they have to throw the ball, it’ll be a recipe for disaster. That’s exactly what I expect to happen against USF.

Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.

To be fair, the Green Wave have had success running the ball against just about everybody. Even against Oklahoma, Tulane racked up over 200 yards rushing. However, an average of 3.8 yards per carry and a little over 50 yards passing wasn’t nearly enough against the Sooners. It also won’t be enough against the Bulls. 

Few teams have had success running the ball against the Bulls this year. Only two teams have run for more than 100 yards, while Temple had negative rushing yards in their game against South Florida. USF has far better athletes in their defensive front-7 than most American Conference teams. At a certain point, they’ll get a handle on Tulane’s running game and force the Green Wave to put the ball in the air.

At the same time, the Tulane defense also has worry about Quinton Flowers and the USF offense. Flowers himself isn’t a great passer. But at the college level, he’s an elite running quarterback. The Bulls also have two quality running backs joining him in the backfield, making the USF rushing attack tougher to stop than triple-option teams Tulane has played like Army and Navy.

I don’t expect the Bulls to run away with this game in the first half and win by 30 points like they have the last two weeks. But outside of their running game, Tulane doesn’t have enough to keep up with USF over 60 minutes. At some point, South Florida will create some big plays on offense and win comfortably.