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No. 22 UCF vs. No. 18 Tulane picks, best bets for the American Conference Championship

The UCF Knights and Tulane Green Wave meet this week in the American Conference Championship. We break down all you need to know, including best bets, for the matchup.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 13 Temple at UCF Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2022 American Athletic Conference Championship Game will take place on Saturday as the No. 22 UCF Knights will take on the No. 18 Tulane Green Wave at 4 p.m. ET. The game will take place at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans and will air on ABC.

UCF (9-3, 6-2 AAC) will be playing its final game as a member of the AAC before bolting for the Big 12 next season and will be looking to pick up one last league title on its way out the door. The Knights enjoyed several highs throughout the year, including a victory over fellow Big 12-bound program Cincinnati and this very Tulane team three weeks ago. Sprinkled in there are a few lows, including a blowout loss to ECU and a loss to Navy that nearly cost them this this opportunity. Transfer quarterback John Rhys Plumlee has been the man under center for most of the season, but injuries and inconsistent play has thrown him off kilter at times. Running back Isaiah Bowser has punched in 13 touchdowns on the ground this season.

Tulane (10-2, 7-1 AAC) has undergone one of the biggest turnarounds in the entire nation this season, going from 2-10 in 2021 to the doorstep of a New Year’s Six bowl berth. The Green Wave showed that it was a serious contender with an early-season upset victory of Kansas State and carried those good vibes into AAC action for the rest of the seasons. That culminated last Saturday when downing Cincinnati 27-24 to clinch hosting duties in Saturday’s title game. The Wave’s only trip ups came against nearby rival Southern Miss and UCF, a game where they fell behind 24-7 early and had to fight their way back for the rest of the contest. Quarterback Michael Pratt has been deadly both through the air and on the ground, accounting for 30 touchdowns this season. Running back Tyjae Spears has also been deadly, going over 1,000 yards on the ground with 14 rushing touchdowns.

Here’s all the data you’ll want, and a pick for the game!

SP+ Rankings

UCF: 36 overall, 55 offense, 32 defense
Tulane: 28 overall, 47 offense, 29 defense

ATS/Total

Against The Spread

UCF: 7-5 ATS
Tulane: 10-2 ATS

Total

UCF: Over 5-7
Tulane: Over 6-6

Current lines at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Tulane -3.5
Total: 57
Moneyline: Tulane -180, UCF +155

Opening line: Tulane -3.5
Opening total: 58.5

Weather

79 degrees, cloudy and warm with a shower, 5 MPH winds SW

The Pick

Tulane -3.5

I’m picking the Green Wave to cover here and claim their first AAC title. This team will feed off a sold out Yuman Stadium and got a huge mental boost this week with news that they were able to hold off Georgia Tech to retain head coach Willie Fritz. Meanwhile, UCF flirts with danger too much and coughed away a 28-0 lead against lowly USF last week. Give me Tulane to roll at home.