Tulane Green Wave vs. USC Trojans Pick – Cotton Bowl January 2, 2023

The Tulane Green Wave and USC Trojans are featured in the second college football game of the New Year. This is an intriguing bowl matchup of a Group of Five team taking on a Power Five opponent. We have our top Tulane vs. USC prediction and Cotton Bowl best bets at AT&T Stadium.

It is always an interesting matchup to handicap when one of the best Group of Five teams takes on a highly regarded team from the Pac-12. USC had no plans of going to the Cotton Bowl, though. They controlled their own destiny to the College Football Playoff, but botched the chance in the Pac-12 Championship Game.


USC had to beat Utah for the Pac-12 Championship to receive an invite to the College Football Playoff. They failed with a 47-24 loss and regressed to 11-2 on the season. Two losses were not enough to get into the playoffs, opening up the door for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Caleb Williams suffered a hamstring injury and was spotted limping for most of the Pac-12 Championship Game. The injury early on essentially ended any chance that USC was going to match the Utes in scoring. As a consolation prize, the Trojans go to the Cotton Bowl in Texas.

This may not be the biggest game for USC, but Tulane is going to treat the Cotton Bowl like the CFP National Championship. The Green Wave have not been on this kind of stage in decades. They are unlikely to look past this opportunity and treat it like just another game.

Head below for our best Tulane vs. USC betting pick and Cotton Bowl best bets for January 2, 2023.

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Tulane Green Wave vs. USC Trojans Live Betting Odds:

Tulane vs USC Odds Courtesy of Bovada:
Tulane Green Wave+2 (-110)+110Over 62.5 (-110)
USC Trojans-2 (-110)-130Under 62.5 (-110)
Team DataTulane Green WaveUSC Trojans
Overall Record11-211-2
ATS Record11-2-08-5-0
Yards Per Game433.9499.8
Yards Against Per Game342.4415.1
Passing Yards Per Game236.8325.7
Rushing Yards Per Game197.1174.2

Tulane vs. USC Predictions

Lincoln Riley packed up his bags and took his quarterback with him to Southern California after a successful tenure at Oklahoma. If your barometer for success is a CFP National Championship then it wasn’t quite a success.

In his first season at USC, it looked like more of the same for Riley. Close, but not good enough. Caleb Williams will be back in college next year, so expectations are going to continue to be high for Riley.

Tulane is not going lightly in the Cotton Bowl. They are going to be one of the most amped-up non-playoff teams of the New Year’s Six bowls. The Trojans need to have some drive and focus, or they could get caught looking in this one.

Are The Trojans Interested In Tackling Tyjae Spears?

USC were certainly not interested in contact against Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game. That was a horrifically bad defensive performance from the Trojans.

Cameron Rising passed for over 300 yards with 3 touchdown passes, while two running backs carried the ball for at least 8 yards per carry. USC has not been good defensively this year, but that was something else.


USC is 101st in the nation on defense. They have allowed an average of 415.1 yards and 27.9 points per game. The concern for USC has to be Tyjae Spears and his 1,376 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 6.5 yards per carry.

Spears will run with a purpose on this national stage. There should also be openings for quarterback Michael Pratt in the secondary. USC is 112th in the FBS against the pass. Pratt has been steady, with 25 touchdowns and 5 interceptions this season.

Caleb Williams Expected To Start, But Key Cogs Missing

Williams is recovering from the hamstring injury, but his timetable has him playing in the Cotton Bowl. However, he will be without two starting offensive linemen. Andrew Vorhees did not play in the Pac-12 Championship Game and his absence was noticeable.


Vorhees is off to the NFL and will not be active in the Cotton Bowl. Center Brett Neilson is also going to miss this matchup against Tulane. Williams will not be completely healthy and is without his usual offensive line.

Star wide receiver, Jordan Addison, is passing on the Cotton Bowl to prepare for the NFL. This leaves USC short-handed against a Tulane defense that is going to Texas to hit. The Green Wave are 32nd with 342.2 yards allowed per game.

The secondary has been a strength of this team, with 188.5 passing yards allowed per contest. If USC is lazy and goes through the motions, they are going to be in for a dogfight against the Green Wave at AT&T Stadium.

Tulane vs. USC Betting Pick:

There is one team that is really going to be excited to be at this game. It is not USC, who probably checked out after getting blown out in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Tulane is thrilled to be in this spot after beating UCF, 45-28, for the AAC Championship.

The Green Wave have won eight of their last nine games, including a 27-24 win at Cincinnati on November 25 to go to the conference championship. Pratt is an underrated quarterback that should sling the ball around versus a bad USC secondary.

USC will shore up the tackling after a pathetic effort against Utah. However, Spears will still likely find running lanes. He will chew up yardage and keep the ball away from Williams. The Green Wave should be better than expected at the Cotton Bowl.

For our Tulane vs. USC prediction in the Cotton Bowl, we’re looking at a 30-27 win and cover for Tulane.


Tulane vs. USC Best Bet
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Kyle Eve
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Kyle Eve is a seasoned pro of The Sports Geek. Since joining the team in 2012, Kyle, has covered some of the biggest sporting events in the world. From the Super Bowl and World Series to March Madness, the NBA Finals, Kentucky Derby, and many more, Kyle has provided reliable analysis for millions of readers. After dedicating himself to hockey and football in high school, Kyle placed his first sports bet on his 18th birthday. Since then, he has spent his entire adult life devoting himself to becoming the best sports bettor and casino gambler possible. Kyle is from Windsor, ON, Canada

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