Tulsa vs. Cincinnati Predictions, Odds

  • December 19, 2020
  • ByJonathan Willis
  • VegasInsider.com

The Cincinnati Bearcats have been yanked around by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee for the last couple weeks.

Cincinnati has fallen behind two different two-loss teams with inferior records, casting a serious shadow over college football’s decision makers.

All head coach Luke Fickell and the Bearcats can do is continue to win games though, and they can at least ensure a spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl with a win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in primetime on Saturday.

AAC Championship Betting Resources

AAC Championship Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: Cincinnati -14.5
  • Money-Line: Cincinnati -650, Tulsa +475
  • Total: 45

Odds Subject to Change

How to Handicap Tulsa vs. Cincinnati

This will be the third time these teams have been scheduled to meet this season. Tulsa was initially supposed to host Cincinnati on October 17, but that game was canceled due to COVID. The game was rescheduled for last week, yet more COVID issues cropped up leading to a second cancellation.


Cincinnati hasn’t played since knocking off UCF 36-33 back on November 21. The Bearcats have been one of the most impressive teams in the country though, winning their first seven games by at least 14 points prior to their first real test of the 2020 season. They are 5-2 ATS against FBS teams and those two ATS losses were by a combined 2.5 points.

The Bearcats were in position to cover the number against UCF. They were up three and had a second-and-goal from UCF’s one-yard line, but Gerrid Doaks decided not to go into the end zone on second down in order to run more time off the clock. Cincinnati was unable to get into the end zone on the next two plays, leading to a UCF cover.

It’s been a miracle season for Tulsa.

The Golden Hurricane have erased four double-digit second half deficits to remain unbeaten since their season opening loss to Oklahoma State. Their most improbable win yet came in their penultimate regular season game as Tulsa defeated Tulane 30-24 in double overtime.

Tulsa lost Zach Smith and Seth Boomer due to injury, forcing Davis Brin to take the reins of this offense. Brin played well, but the Green Wave led 14-0 with 10 minutes left. Brin led the Golden Hurricane back, but it seemed all was lost when Tulane took a 21-14 lead with under 100 seconds to play in the game.

That’s when it became clear that this was truly a miracle season for Tulsa. Brin found JuanCarlos Santana in the end zone on a Hail Mary as time expired to force overtime, and then superstar linebacker Zaven Collins ended the game with a 96-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Corey Taylor and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane will look to upset Cincinnati, covering the spread in six of seven games this year. (AP)

Betting Analysis – Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • 2020: 6-1 SU, 6-1 ATS, 2-5 O/U

Smith is healthy and will be under center for Tulsa this Saturday. He wasn’t great in his return against Navy two weeks ago though, completing just 10 of 25 passes for 168 yards with a touchdown. Seth Boomer suffered a season-ending injury earlier this year, so the only other quarterback with experience is Brin.

Shamari Brooks’ season-ending injury deprived Tulsa of its best running back before the 2020 campaign even started. In his place, Deneric Prince, Corey Taylor II, and T.K. Wilkerson have split the load. Prince and Wilkerson are listed as questionable to play this week due to injury, so Taylor could be in line for a heavy workload.

Keylon Stokes leads the Golden Hurricane with 35 receptions for 508 yards and two touchdowns, and Josh Johnson has 35 catches for 484 yards and six touchdowns. Santana and Sam Crawford Jr. have had decent seasons too, but it’s clear that Tulsa only throws to receivers. Tight ends have a total of four receptions in this system, while the three running backs have combined for three receptions.

Tulsa’s defense is ranked in the top 20 in scoring defense (19.9 PPG) and total defense (328.4 YPG). Most of that is due to the play of Collins.

Collins was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year earlier in the week, as he leads the team in tackles (52), sacks (four), interceptions (four), and forced fumbles (two). He is likely to be the first AAC player selected in the 2021 NFL Draft as his combination of size and speed make him an excellent playmaker.

Betting Analysis - Cincinnati Bearcats

  • 2020: 8-0 SU, 5-3 ATS, 4-4 O/U

Desmond Ridder has had a fantastic junior year for the unbeaten Bearcats. Ridder was named AAC Offensive Player of the Year earlier this week.

He has completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,821 yards (8.5 YPA) with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions on the season. Ridder is an electric runner with 526 yards (7.9 YPC) and 11 TDs to help make this offense the 23rd best in the country per Bill Connelly’s SP+.

Doaks leads Cincinnati with 660 yards (4.8 YPC) and seven touchdowns. He is a surprisingly nimble back for a player his size, and that has made him a decent receiver out of the backfield too. Charles McClelland is out for the season with a knee injury, but Jerome Ford has done a nice job carrying the load in his stead.

The Bearcats don’t throw the ball much, and they don’t have a true No. 1 receiver. Instead, Cincinnati has five players with between 200 and 300 receiving yards. Tight end Josh Whyle and wide receiver Michael Young Jr. were both Second Team All-AAC selections.

This defense is nasty.

Cincinnati is in the top five in most defensive categories. The Bearcats are allowing just 14.3 PPG and 301.7 YPG, and the pass defense is lights out.

Opponents are averaging just 5.5 YPA against this secondary and three Cincinnati defensive backs (Ahmad Gardner, Coby Bryant, and James Wiggins) were named First Team All-AAC.

Historically Speaking


Tulsa is 16-13-1 all-time against Cincinnati, but these teams have only played three times since 1997.

The Bearcats have won two of the three meetings where both teams were part of the AAC, and they have won six of the last seven dating back to 1980.

Last Meeting

The Bearcats took advantage of five Tulsa turnovers to beat the Golden Hurricane 24-13 last year.

Smith completed less than half of his passes and averaged 5.7 YPA, while Ridder was efficient in his role.

Notable Betting Trends

-- Tulsa has covered seven of its last eight games

-- The under is 10-4 in Cincinnati’s last 14 games

-- The under is 16-6 in Tulsa’s last 22 games as an underdog

AAC Championship Predictions

  • Score Prediction: Cincinnati 31, Tulsa 10
  • Best Bet: Cincinnati

AAC Betting History Results & Notes

Betting Results - Favorites vs. Underdogs - Total (Over-Under)
Wager Straight Up (SU) Against the Spread (ATS) Total (Over-Under)
Results 4-1 3-2 2-3

History - Betting Notes

  • Memphis has made the most AAC championships (3), but is 1-2 in those games
  • UCF has won the most AAC titles (2)
  • Home teams are 4-1 in AAC championships
  • Tulsa is making first appearance in 2020 edition
AAC Championship History
Year Matchup Line Score ATS Result
2019 Cincinnati-Memphis Memphis -9 (59) Memphis 29-24 Underdog-Under
2018 Memphis-UCF UCF -1 (65) UCF 56-41 Favorite-Over
2017 Memphis-UCF UCF -6.5 (81.5) UCF 62-55 (2OT) Favorite-Over
2016 Temple-Navy Navy -2 (60) Temple 34-10 Underdog-Under
2015 Houston-Temple Houston -5.5 (53) Houston 24-13 Favorite-Under

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