Tulane Green Wave vs. USC Trojans: Cotton Bowl Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 1/2/2023

by Chuck Sommers

Cotton Bowl

Time: 1 p.m. ET
Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Where to watch: ESPN

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: USC -2; USC -135, Tulane +115; O/U 63
FanDuel: USC -1.5; USC -126, Tulane +105; O/U 63.5
BetMGM: USC -2; USC -135, Tulane +110; O/U 63.5
Caesars: USC -2; USC -130, Tulane +110; O/U 63

Season record
No. 16 Tulane: 11-2
No. 10 USC: 11-2

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Tulane - USC preview, analysis and prediction

There are times in life where you should just take the underdog with no questions asked. There are times in life where you should just look at a game between 2 college football teams, understand that there is just some ridiculous way of fate that gives way for the underdog to succeed in this game and you just accept the fact that it is probably going to happen in some capacity.
And when I look at the Cotton Bowl this year, there is no other way to think about it. Destiny and everything aligned with the college football gods say that this is the time for the Tulane Green Wave to have one of the more astounding victories in its recent program history. This Cotton Bowl matchup against the USC Trojans is probably the biggest contrast in a major bowl game that we have seen in quite a long time period but you root for these stories like the ones that are happening with Tulane. You are rooting for the underdog, the team and the program that has not been to the mountaintop as much as those would think that they would be and you want them to succeed.
That also includes playing against the spread as well as outright. Because not only is Tulane 11-2 this year outright, Tulane is also a lemon dash two against the spread this year and every win that Tulane has garnered this year has included a cover. The two losses that they've had this year have not garnered a cover. So if you're looking for the most reliable team in college football this year in terms of on the books and outright if you're a money line player, Tulane absolutely fits that bill.
And all you have to do is look at the AAC championship game in which two lane 145-28 over Central Florida and you just realize the dominance that ensued in that game. Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt threw for 394 yards and four touchdowns in one of his best performances of the season, and Tyjae Spears was dominant in the ground game by running for 199 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown. Tulane had two receivers hit over 100 yards, with Deuce Watts reeling in 134 and a touchdown on 3 receptions, and Shae Wyatt reeling in 110 and two scores on five receptions.
You look at the offensive production that Tulane is getting, and you tack on a strong defensive outing against the run, and you have a very perfect formula as it pertains to Tulane in what they can do against a powerhouse like USC. And I totally understand if going with the underdog is not your cup of tea, but Tulane is absolutely going to have the home field advantage in this game and Tulane is going to have the southern advantage as it pertains to what USC will bring on the road.
The way USC ended things in the PAC 12 championship against Utah really stood out to me in that maybe USC isn't as dominant as I think many anticipated this year. USC still has more talent at the skill positions, but sometimes you just have to accept that there are teams that are going to pull the Boise State out of nowhere and get the upset of the century. Even though it's not really the upset of this century but it would be pretty close. Tulane 35, USC 31

Betting trends

Tulane is 13-4 ATS after 2 straight conference games the last 3 seasons.

Tulane is 8-2 ATS off a straight up win this season.

USC is 38-21 ATS after winning 6 or 7 of their last 8 since 1992.

USC is 34-19 ATS on the road after a loss since 1992.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Michael Pratt – 2,776 yards, 25 TD, 5 INT
Rushing: Tyjae Spears – 1,376 yards, 15 TD
Receiving: Shae Wyatt – 692 yards, 7 TD

Passing: Caleb Williams – 4,075 yards, 37 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Travis Dye – 884 yards, 9 TD
Receiving: Jordan Addison – 875 yards, 8 TD

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Tulane - USC prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily college football projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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