Tulane vs. Houston NCAAF | 2020 NCAA Expert Analysis

There’s a good NFL game Thursday night featuring the Bucs at Bears, but if looking for an alternative or a parlay option, there’s also a solid college football matchup featuring Houston, finally taking the field this season after multiple games were postponed due to COVID-19, against Tulane American Athletic Conference action.

How to Bet Tulane at Houston NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

  • When: Thursday, 7:30 PM ET
  • Where: TEDCU Stadium, Houston
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: Houston -6.5 (total 59)

Last season

Houston visited Tulane in 2019 and the Green Wave were 38-31 winners. It was one of the most memorable endings of the season as Jalen McCleskey scored on a 53-yard catch-and-run with 3 seconds left, and Tulane rallied from a 21-point deficit. After Houston tied it at 31 with 21 seconds remaining, Tulane appeared to be content to go to overtime, but a fake kneel-down led to an 18-yard run by Amare Jones. One play later, McCleskey made a catch in traffic over the middle, broke a tackle and raced to the end zone.

Thursday will be the 25th all-time meeting. The Cougars lead 17-7.

Why Bet on Tulane?

The Green Wave (2-1) last played Sept. 26 and slammed Southern Miss 66-24. Tulane had 572 total yards and racked up 430 yards and seven touchdowns on eight yards per carry on the ground. In the second half, Tulane outgained the Golden Eagles 330-59 and limited Southern Miss to just six first downs. Cameron Carroll led the way with four touchdowns, including 163 yards and three scores on 15 carries to go with a 16-yard receiving touchdown. Stephon Huderson had 120 yards and one score on 11 carries, while freshman Tyjae Spears tallied 50 yards and two touchdowns on eight totes. Making his collegiate debut, freshman quarterback Michael Pratt had three touchdowns after taking over under center late in the first quarter. He passed for 142 yards and two scores while adding one more on the ground. He will start his first game here.

Tulane’s 66 points were tied for the most in the Coach Willie Fritz era (since 2016). The Green Wave’s 66-point outburst marked the third time the Green Wave have scored 60-or-more points since 2016. Prior to Fritz’s arrival in 2016, Tulane had not scored 60-or-more points since 1998.  The Green Wave won their second straight road game. Tulane has not won its first two road games to start a season since 1998. Since arriving at Tulane, Fritz’s teams have scored 40-or-more points 13 times. Tulane owns a 13-0 mark in those contests.

Carroll has rushed for no less than two touchdowns in every game this season and leads the nation with eight touchdowns. Tulane has rushed for at least 100 yards in 56 consecutive games dating back to the end of the 2015 season.

This will be the third straight year that Tulane and Houston meet on a Thursday night. Tulane will be in search of back-to-back wins over Houston for the first time since the 2000 and 2002 seasons. The Green Wave have not won at Houston since 2002. Tulane has not won its first three road games to start a season since 1998.

Why Bet on Houston?

No team arguably has been affected more by COVID-19 than Houston as this will be the Cougars’ season opener after three previous games were postponed/canceled. First it was an AAC opener vs. Rice. Then one vs. Memphis, which has been moved to Dec. 5. The teams originally were scheduled to play Sept. 18 in prime time before positive tests and contact tracing at Memphis forced the postponement on Sept. 12.

Then, Houston’s game vs. Baylor was postponed after Baylor did not meet the Big 12 Conference COVID-19 thresholds for playing. The Baylor game was quickly scheduled for Sept. 19 after Memphis was forced to postpone, only to have the Bears encounter their own issues and cancel the day before kickoff. The schools have agreed to honor their home-and-home agreement and monitor dates for future scheduling opportunities. Finally, a Houston game vs. North Texas was also postponed.

The Oct. 8 start to the season marks the latest season opener in UH program history. It is the first time Houston has started the season during the month of October. The latest start to a UH season previously came against Mississippi State on Sept, 29. 1956.

During his tenure as a head coach, Dana Holgorsen is 6-3 in season openers (0-1 at Houston; 6-2 at West Virginia). As a head coach, Holgorsen is 0-1 against Tulane, with the lone matchup coming a season ago. Houston has won four out of its last five season openers since 2015. Thursday marks the first time since 2015 that the Cougars have opened the season at TDECU Stadium. Houston is 39-33-2 all-time in season openers and 44-30 in home openers.

Senior wide receiver Marquez Stevenson ranks second among all returning American Athletic Conference receivers with 1,962 career receiving yards entering the 2020 season. Thursday’s game marks the 10th career start for junior quarterback Clayton Tune, but his first in a season opener. Tune threw for 1,533 yards and 11 touchdowns in seven starts a year ago.

Houston returns its 2019 statistical leaders in passing yards and touchdowns (Tune), rushing yards (Kyle Porter), rushing touchdowns (Mulbah Car), receiving yards and touchdowns (Stevenson), tackles (Grant Stuard), interceptions (Damarion Williams) and field goals made (Dalton Witherspoon).

Expert Prediction Tulane 31, Houston 30  

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