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NCAAF 2023 AAC Championship Game Betting Preview

SMU Over a FG Underdog at Tulane

The 2023 AAC Championship Game betting matchup is the swan song for Southern Methodist (10-2), who will leave the conference for the ACC starting next season. The Mustangs do come into Saturday afternoon’s game hot on the heels of an 8-game win streak, but they are playing a true road game in New Orleans.

Tulane (11-1) has plenty at stake in this matchup. They can match the school record in victories set last season and in 1998 but more importantly will be in a prime spot for a New Year’s Six Bowl game as the top ranked team outside the Power 5. The two did not meet this regular season, but SMU has won 7 of the last 8 head to head.

Why SMU Has Value at +3.5

There’s a lot of unknowns coming into the 2023 AAC Championship Game considering these two programs did not meet during the year. Tulane has the better record on paper, but the Mustangs’ two losses this season have come against a couple of Big 12 foes at Oklahoma (28-11) and at TCU (34-17). You can’t blame SMU for trying to see how they stack up against Power 5 foes.

Since the loss to TCU – who played for the National Championship last season (albeit poorly) – the Mustangs have won eight in a row while never scoring fewer than 31 points. Southern Methodist ranks 4th in the country scoring 41.8 ppg.

Tulane has won 10 in a row which is impressive, but they haven’t all been pretty. Of the Green Wave’s last six wins, four were by single digits even when Tulane was at least a -10 point favorite.

Why Tulane Has Value at -3.5

SMU has a great offense – 472.6 total yards (9th) and 292.5 pass yards (16th) – but that was also with Preston Stone at the helm. Stone threw for 3,204 yards with 28 TDs and 6 INTs this season, but also broke his fibula in last week’s blowout win over Navy and will obviously miss the rest of the season.

With Stone sidelined, the Mustangs turn to redshirt freshman Kevin Jennings. That has to give Tulane an obvious advantage on the offensive side of the football, especially considering Green Wave QB Michael Pratt completes 66.4% of his passes with 21 TDs to 4 INTs during the regular season. By the way, Tulane RB Makhi Hughes ran for 1,246 yards this year which is 12th most in the nation.

As diverse as their offense can be, it’s the Tulane defense (and a home field advantage) that can really let them cover the -3.5. The Green Wave give up just 18.3 ppg and are especially strong vs. the run surrendering just 86.0 ypg.

2023 AAC Championship Betting Free Pick

It’s unfortunate that Stone won’t be at the helm of SMU, but it was a tough task to go into New Orleans and beat the Green Wave regardless. Tulane has had a lot of close calls down the stretch, but with the Mustangs missing their QB you just can’t take Southern Methodist here – even if the line does seem curiously low.

Free Pick: Tulane -3.5



Carl Taylor

Every loss is a chance to learn a lesson. That being said, wins are so much more enjoyable. Follow along to tap into the wisdom I've learned from 20 years as a sports bettor. Follow along on Twitter for more picks and DFS news @dailydogsports.

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