Thursday's Free Pick comes from Covers Expert Sean Murphy
Start: September 12, 2013 - 7:30 PM
Capper's Page: https://experts.covers.com/Handicapper/Sean_Murphy
Offered at: Pinnacle @ 7.5 -106 Tulane
A moneyline play on underdog South Alabama over Tulane just fell short of my Saturday college football card last week. Of course, the Jaguars went on to defeat the Green Wave 41-39 at the Superdome.
That result has only served to create value with Tulane this Thursday night, as the Green Wave travel to Ruston to take on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.
I don't think there's any question, Tulane is headed in the right direction as a football program, even if it is likely to take a while to get where it wants to be. For now, the Green Wave have tremendous talent at all three skill positions on offense with QB Nick Montana (yes, son of Joe), RB Orleans Darkwa, and WR Ryan Grant. Tulane also has an athletic, opportunistic defense that did a nice job rebounding after a miserable start against South Alabama last Saturday.
The common line of thinking here is that Tulane is taking a major step up in class after losing to South Alabama. However, the fact is, it isn't really with the Bulldogs in a rebuilding phase under new head coach Skip Holtz.
Louisiana Tech was throttled 40-14 at N.C. State back in Week 1 before bouncing back with a ho-hum 27-14 win over Lamar here in Ruston last Saturday. It's worth noting that the Bulldogs lost their best offensive player, RB Kenneth Dixon, to a knee injury in that contest, and he remains questionable to play on Thursday. Even if he can play, it's unlikely he'll be running at 100%.
The Bulldogs had to undergo wholesale changes on both sides of the football after a fantastic 2012 season that saw them rip through virtually every opposing defense they faced. It's a brave new world here in 2013, though, and I'm expecting some more growing pains along the way.
Ruston is still an awfully tough place to play, so I'm not ready to step out with a moneyline play on the Green Wave here - although I did consider it briefly. Look for a 60-minute battle in this Conference USA opener, as the Bulldogs have a tough time pulling away for good.
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