This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
UCF at Tulane Best Bets for the AAC Championship
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For the first time since 2018, we've got an AAC Championship Game that doesn't feature the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Tulane Green Wave (10-2) are directly to thank for that, as they beat the Bearcats 27-24 at Nippert Stadium last Friday to punch their own ticket to their first conference championship game in program history.
The AAC is one of the few conferences that doesn't host their championship game at a predetermined neutral field, so Tulane earned the right to have Saturday's meeting with UCF at their own Yulman Stadium. The Knights beat both Tulane and Cincinnati during the regular season - so is Central Florida the low-key best team in this conference?
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Central Florida at Tulane Odds for AAC Championship
Spread: Tulane -3.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Total: 56.5 (BetMGM Sportsbook)
Moneyline: UCF +155 (FanDuel Sportsbook); Tulane -180 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
It would be interesting to see what this spread would be at a neutral site like Nissan Stadium in Nashville or Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, but you have to at least take into account the AAC #1 seed getting to host the conference championship game as a factor in the line. The Tulane fan base could be absolutely rabid here considering they've flipped their record from 2-10 last season to 10-2 in 2022.
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UCF at Tulane Betting Picks This Week
There's a lot going on with Saturday's AAC Championship Game, the first being that UCF will be playing their last contest as a member of this conference as they head to the Big 12 next season. The Knights also have some QB concerns, as starter John Rhys Plumlee injured his hamstring in the first half of last week's 46-39 win over South Florida, but backup Mikey Keene came in to go 15/19 with 2 TDs - but USF is also one of the worst teams in the country.
Gus Malzahn this week has said about Plumlee that "he's ready to go" and if so it's UCF for the upset.
AAC Championship Game Best Bet: UCF +3.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook
UCF at Tulane Prediction
Getting to host a conference championship game is huge, but interestingly enough both of Tulane's losses this season came at home (38-31 vs UCF in week 11, 27-24 to Southern Miss in week 4) and the Knights travel well with a 4-1 road record this year.
Make no mistake, Tulane has the talent to win and cover the -3.5 number, led by RB Tyjae Spears (1,174 yards, 14 TDs) who has run for 120+ in six straight games. Spears had 130 yards on just 8 carries in the first meeting with the Knights while QB Michael Pratt had 3 TD passes - and it still wasn't enough to get the win.
This Knights offense is just too good, leading the AAC in total offense (486.5 ypg) and having an underrated defense that is 4th in the conference in yards allowed. If anything the hook on the +3.5 is a bit too much, but the Knights could also very easily win this one outright.