Tulane at Cincinnati
When and Where: Saturday, Oct. 6, Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio, noon EDT.
One of three unbeaten teams in the East Division of the American Athletic Conference, Cincinnati looks for its first 6-0 start in nine years Saturday when it hosts Tulane in a crossover conference clash.
The Bearcats (6-0, 1-0 AAC East) are in what appears to be a loaded division that also features 12th-ranked UCF and South Florida. This is Cincinnati’s best start since its stunning run to the 2010 Sugar Bowl in which a 51-24 loss to Florida ended a perfect season after 12 consecutive wins.
Green Wave offense rebounds with win over Memphis
After serving as sacrificial lambs in Urban Meyer’s return to the Ohio State sidelines and absorbing a 49-6 loss to the previously fourth-ranked Buckeyes, Tulane (2-3, 1-0 AAC West) impressively regrouped with a 40-24 home win over defending West Division champion Memphis on Sept. 28.
— Tulane Football (@GreenWaveFB) October 1, 2018
Darnell Mooney‘s catch-and-run 51-yard touchdown pass from Justin McMillan — who had just entered the game — on the final play of the third quarter triggered a 23-point outburst in a 6:04 span that opened a 40-14 lead for the Green Wave. They finished with a season-high 496 yards, including 318 on the ground as both Darius Bradwell and Corey Dauphine had lengthy scoring runs.
“It was a very big win,” said Mooney, who finished with four catches for 94 yards. “Throughout the week I was just walked around like, ‘this is a win or go home situation.’ We gotta play like we win or go home. We were saying, ‘this tells the whole season right here, this game right here, if we lose, we know what the season’s gonna be like. If we win, we know what the season is gonna be like.'”
There's always time for a celebratory crowd surf.
— Tulane Football (@GreenWaveFB) September 29, 2018
Bradwell finished with a season-high 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 19 carries while Dauphine chipped in 87 on 12 rushes and also found the end zone twice. The pair have combined for 755 yards and nine TDs, pacing a Tulane ground game that has averaged 204.2 yards.
Tulane’s defense, which had allowed 419 or more yards in all four of its previous games, clamped down in holding Memphis to 31 on the ground and 277 overall. The Green Wave is allowing 159.2 rushing yards per game and 451.8 overall.
Bearcats shake off early wobble to throttle UConn
Cincinnati (5-0, 1-0 East) scored 49 unanswered points after allowing Connecticut to take the opening kickoff 75 yards and continued its unbeaten start to keep pace with the Golden Knights and Bulls.
Desmond Ridder threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns while running for a third, and Michael Warren II added 106 yards and a pair of scores on just 13 carries as the Bearcats exceeded their win total for all of last season.
— Cincinnati Football (@GoBearcatsFB) September 30, 2018
Cincinnati has rolled up 21 touchdowns in its last three games, scoring at least 34 points in each victory. The Bearcats finished with 659 total yards versus the Huskies, rushing for 320 and passing for 339 while limiting the Huskies to 258.
While voters in both polls are begrudgingly giving Cincinnati attention — the Bearcats rank 29th in the latest AP Top 25 and 30th in the USA Today Amway Coaches Poll, Luke Fickell’s team was 59th and the lowest-ranked unbeaten FBS team in USA Today’s Re-Rank of all 130 schools.
Ridder has been a key to Cincinnati’s resurgence, completing 67 of 100 passes for 888 yards and eight touchdowns against only one interception while taking just five sacks.
“Improvement in decision-making, and believing he can throw the football,” Fickell told Cincinnati.com when asked about Ridder’s rapid improvement. “There’s a camaraderie with the receivers, trusting and knowing and playing with each other a little bit more, and getting a better feel for what you’re doing.”
Josiah Deguara has emerged as Ridder’s top option with 18 catches for 247 yards and three TDs. Warren is enjoying a breakout sophomore campaign with 541 rushing yards and is second among FBS players with 10 rushing TDs.
- 11-5 ATS in its last 16 games vs. sub-.500 teams.
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games after a straight up win by 20 points in its previous game.
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games.
- The under is 15-7 in its last 22 games following an ATS win.
- The under is 10-3 in its last 13 home games vs. teams with a sub-.500 road record.
- The under is 21-6 in its last 27 games vs. sub-.500 teams.
- 1-5 ATS in its last six road games vs. teams with an above-.500 home record.
- 1-5-1 ATS in its last seven road games.
- The under is 8-3 in its last 11 games as an underdog between 3.5 and 10 points.
- The under is 5-2 in its last seven road games as an underdog between 3.5 and 10 points.
- The under is 5-2 in its last seven games after totaling more than 200 rushing yards in its previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
While Cincinnati’s schedule is backloaded — the Bearcats do not play UCF or South Florida until mid-November — there is a sense Fickell’s team is not getting much respect. Cincinnati opened the season going across the country and beating UCLA and also blanked intrastate rival Miami of Ohio.
Warren has been one of the keys to the Bearcats exceeding their win total for all of last season already, helping them control the clock. Cincinnati has held the ball for 32:51 or more in all but one of its five victories and converted 47.1 percent of its third-down plays (32 for 68).
Tulane will pose an interesting challenge considering it snapped an 11-game losing streak to Memphis last time out, but the Green Wave have yet to really show out on the road — they’ve lost at UAB and Ohio State. Mike Fritz’s team must get its 1-2 running punch of Bradwell and Dauphine going early to stay in this contest in order to win for just the fifth time in its last 25 conference road games.
Prediction: Pick: Cincinnati -7 (-105)
Full-Game Total Pick
This is the first game between the teams in Cincinnati since 2001, and the teams comfortably hit the under last season in the Bearcats’ 17-16 victory as Marek Glover missed a 36-yard go-ahead field goal with 1:21 to play for Tulane.
With both teams looking to establish their respective running games early, this game could move quickly and limit possessions. Cincinnati is adept at long scoring drives, and that will be a key reason this game stays under.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 52.5 points (-110)
Full-Game Prop Bet
The Green Wave have yet to put together a complete effort on the road, committing three turnovers in their loss to UAB and getting completely outclassed at Ohio State. Cincinnati’s defense has held three of its five opponents to 101 rushing yards or less, and that should help it keep Tulane from piling up points.
Prediction: Pick: Tulane UNDER 20.5 points (-120)
Half-Time Side Pick
Cincinnati has trailed at halftime in just one of its five contests and led by at least one touchdown in the four games it was ahead after two quarters. Of the 41 first-half points the Bearcats have yielded this season, 24 came in one game, and they should be good value to be ahead against the Green Wave.
Prediction: Pick: Cincinnati -4 (-110)
Half-Time Total Bet
This will be a close call because the Bearcats have clicked offensively and averaged 48.7 points in their last three games. Tulane improved greatly game-on-game in the first half, going from giving up 42 to Ohio State to limiting Memphis to seven in its last game, and with the Bearcats lacking a big-play offense, the under feels like the better play.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 24 points (-105)
Half-Time Prop Prediction
The last three games Tulane has played, there has been a score inside the first six minutes, and Cincinnati has had a score in the opening six minutes in two of the last three, missing the third by 20 seconds. Both teams seem to struggle early defensively, so an early score would not be surprising.
Prediction: Pick: YES to score in first 6:00 (Even)