This Thursday the Tulane Green Wave (2-1) are set to host the Houston Cougars (1-2) in what will be the conference opener for both teams. Kickoff is set for 8:00 EST at Yulman Stadium and will be televised on ESPN.

Oddsmakers opened up this line with Tulane as 3-point home favorite. That line has jumped. There’s some books with the Green Wave at -5 and others that have them as high as -5.5. Early total for this one is 60.5 points.

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Vegas Game Odds & Betting Preview: Tulane vs Houston

Houston Cougars

Last week the Cougars lost 24-31 to No. 20 Washington State. The game was played Friday night on a neutral site, but felt every bit like a home game for Houston. While the Cougars didn’t get the victory, they did sneak in a cover as a 8-point dog.

That’s one Houston has to feel like they let get away. The Cougars had a 14-7 lead at the half, but some costly penalties and fumbles stalled the offense in the 2nd half until it was too late. Cougars are 2-1 ATS on the season. They also covered as a 22-point dog at Oklahoma in Week 1. The failed cover came in a 20-point win as a 36 point favorite at home against Prairie View.

Tulane Green Wave

Tulane made easy work of Missouri State in Week 3. The Green Wave led 38-6 at the half and cruised to a 58-6 win. No line was posted on that game, so that’s definitely one Tulane was expected to dominate. Green Wave had a 540 to 182 edge in total yards with 242 through the air and 298 on the ground.

It came in a bit of a flat spot, as Tulane played at Auburn the previous week. The Green Wave only lost 24-6 on the road to the Tigers, just missing out on a cover as a 16-point dog. They did cover the number in a 42-14 thrashing of FIU as a mere 3-point home favorite in Week 1.

Matchup History

These two teams played on a Thursday night late in the year (Nov. 15) last season. Houston won that meeting 48-17 as a mere 7.5-point home favorite. The game stayed under the total of 68. Last time they met in New Orleans the Green Wave won 20-17 as a 9.5-point home dog.

Free Betting Predictions & College Football Pick: Tulane -5

My early lean here would be to lay the points with Tulane at home. I just don’t think the betting public is responsible for the 2-2.5 point line move in favor of the Green Wave. While Houston comes in at 1-2, this is a program people are familiar with. They also got a big name head coach in Dana Holgorsen, a heisman contender in quarterback D’Eriq King and their two losses are both against ranked Power 5 teams.

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As for Tulane, this is not a program that gets a lot of national attention and for good reason. Green Wave have posted just 3 winning seasons the last 10 years (40-83 overall). The thing is, they have been on the climb under 4th year head coach Willie Fritz.

Coming into the season this looked like it would be Fritz’s best team yet and it’s definitely looking like that. They have dominated in both wins and clearly are not a pushover if they are only losing by 18 on the road to a Auburn team that is now No. 8 in the country.

Tulane is really strong up front and that’s evident by the fact that they are 28th in the country in rushing at 235.0 ypg and 49th against the run (115.5 ypg). The stat that really stands out to me is they held Auburn to just 20 rushing yards in the first half (wore down in the 2nd half with the offense not being able to get much going).

I know the numbers are a bit skewed for Houston’s defense having played two really good offenses in Oklahoma and Washington State, but they offered zero resistance against Jalen Hurts and the Sooners offense and the Cougars had 498 yards despite a very sluggish 1st half.

Even in their win over Prairie View they only outgained the Panthers they only had a 380 to 318 edge in total yards. The big thing to keep in mind is the defense wasn’t really expected to be great. They only had 4 starters back from a unit that gave up 45 ppg in the second half last year. Give me the Green Wave -5!