The Cincinnati Bearcats will host the Tulane Green Wave on Friday in an American Athletic Conference matchup. Both teams are 9-2 overall and tied for first with a 6-1 record in the conference. The winner of this game will reach the AAC championship game, and the loser will not be able to control their destiny.
Last season, the Bearcats beat the Green Wave 31-12 as a 27.5-point road favorite.
Tulane looking to reach AAC ChampionshipTulane suffered its only conference loss of the season, 38-31 to UCF two weeks ago but bounced back to beat SMU 59-24 last Thursday. The Green Wave did lose to Southern Miss 27-27 earlier this season in non-conference play, which came a week after they upset Kansas State 17-10 on Sept. 17.
The Green Wave are third in conference games averaging 35.9 ppg, and seventh picking up 413.7 yards per game. Quarterback Michael Pratt leads Tulane with 20 touchdown passes and only four interceptions while completing 65% of his passes. The defense is third holding AAC teams to 23.9 ppg, and fifth scoring 398.4 yards per game.
Senior Day in CincinnatiCincinnati is on a three-game winning streak after beating Temple 23-3 last Saturday. The Bearcats' two losses were on the road, first in the opener, 31-24 to Arkansas and 25-21 to UCF. Cincinnati's non-conference resume includes a win over Big Ten foe Indiana.
𝗨𝗣 𝗡𝗘𝗫𝗧 // Senior day.— Cincinnati Football (@GoBearcatsFB) November 21, 2022
📆 Friday, November 25th
📍 Nippert Stadium
📺 ABC pic.twitter.com/4RiWLlNW82
When looking at games against other AAC teams, the Bearcats are eighth averaging 25.6 ppg and 363.1 total yards offensively. The Bearcats' offense is led by quarterback Ben Bryant who has completed 61% of his passes with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Bryant is listed as questionable for this game with a foot injury he suffered last week in the win over Temple. Evan Prater came in to replace him and went 12 of 17 for 127 yards last week and could start in this one. On the defensive side, Cincinnati is first in the conference in total defense (332.6) and points allowed (19.3 ppg).
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
These teams are about as even as it gets. Tulane is coming into the game ranked 32nd in the College Football Power Index, and Cincinnati is 33rd, according to ESPN.
There are, however, reasons I give the slight edge here to Cincinnati.
Cincinnati's defense against the run has also been better this season. Also, these teams are close to dead even when it comes to the red zone offense, but the Bearcats' red zone defense has been better ranking 18th in the nation compared to Tulane's with his 59th. Then you have the experience factor. Cincinnati is the defending AAC champ, and Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell's big game experience exceeds that of Tulane's Willie Fritz. Fritz has done a terrific job of turning the Green Wave around after he led them to only a 2-10 record last season, but this will be a challenging game going into Cincinnati on senior day.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both of these teams are in the nation's top-35 in turnover margin, so I do not expect to see many costly errors that will lead to points for the other team. The Bearcats are also sixth in the nation in yards allowed per play and the Green Wave are 26th. With so much on the line expect a tight defensive battle, with the under cashing. I see this playing out 24-21 with the Bearcats getting the win, coming close to the total, but falling short.