NCAA Football Picks and American Athletic Conference Week 1 Betting Report
by Dave Schwab - 8/27/2014
The American Athletic Conference began play last football season in what was a combination of teams from the old Big East Conference and Conference-USA, and it went on to attract some national attention from the betting public with teams such as Central Florida and Cincinnati turning in successful seasons.
In conjunction with Doc's Sports Unit Betting System , I released my top AAC pick of the week for the 2013 regular season and returned a profit of $2,480 for $100 bettors with an overall record of 11-4. My goal is to recreate that same level of success with this season's weekly free pick.
The following is a brief betting report for all the Week 1 games in the AAC as well as my top play of the week. All the lines quoted have been provided by BetOnline.
Thursday, Aug. 28
Tulane Green Wave vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (-5)
Total Line: 47
Both of these teams are newcomers to the AAC this season from C-USA and looking for a fast start in conference play. The Green Wave snapped an eight-game losing streak to Tulsa both straight up and against the spread last season with a 14-7 victory as three-point home underdogs. The total in this series has stayed "under" in seven of the last nine meetings.
Temple Owls vs. Vanderbilt Commodores (-13.5)
Total Line: 50.5
The Owls struggled to 2-10 SU record last season, but they went a profitable 8-4 ATS. They were 5-1 ATS on the road and 8-1 ATS as an underdog. The Commodores finished 2013 with a solid 9-4 mark SU, and they were 7-6 ATS. The total went "over" in eight of the 13 games. The last time these two teams met was in 2006, with Vanderbilt rolling to a 43-14 victory, but it could not cover the 32.5-point spread as a home favorite.
Friday, Aug. 29
BYU Cougars (-17) vs. Connecticut Huskies
Total Line: 50.5
Playing as a Division IA Independent, BYU went 8-5 SU in 2013 with a 5-7-1 record ATS. The Cougars were just 1-5 ATS in six road games, and they were 3-5-1 ATS as favorites. The Huskies struggled to just three SU wins last season, and they were not that much better ATS at 5-7. They did close out the season with a three-game winning streak.
UT-San Antonio Roadrunners vs. Houston Cougars (-10.5)
Total Line: 54.5
UTSA plays out of C-USA, and it comes into this season fresh off a 7-5 SU (7-4-1 ATS) campaign in 2013 in which nine of the 12 games stayed under the closing line on the total. Houston was 8-5 SU last season with a profitable 10-3 record ATS. One of those victories was a 59-28 romp over the Roadrunners as 2.5-point road underdogs. The total went well over the 62.5-point closing line in that game.
Saturday, Aug. 30
Austin Peay Governors vs. Memphis Tigers (OFF)
Total Line: OFF
The D-IAA Governors failed to win a game last season while never scoring more than 10 points in 10 of their 12 outings. Memphis went 3-9 SU last year with an even 6-6 record ATS. The Tigers dropped their last three games SU, and they were just 3-5 ATS in their last eight contests.
Western Carolina Catamounts vs. South Florida Bulls (OFF)
Total Line: OFF
Western Carolina is a member of D-IAA's Southern Conference, and it comes into a new season with nowhere to go but up after posting just one conference win and a 2-10 record overall in 2013. The Bulls were one of the doormats in the AAC last season with two SU conference wins as part of an overall record of 2-10. They went 5-7 ATS with a 1-6 ATS record at home.
NC Central Eagles vs. East Carolina Pirates (OFF)
Total Line: OFF
The Eagles play out of the D-IAA MEAC and they are coming off an overall record of 5-7. The Pirates are another new team to the AAC this season after coming over from C-USA. They wrapped up their final season in that conference with a record of 10-3 SU. While they were 7-6 ATS overall, they did cover in five of seven home games last season.
Sunday, Aug. 31
SMU Mustangs vs. No. 10 Baylor Bears (-33)
Total Line: 74
The Mustangs won just three games last season, but they did even their mark ATS at 6-6. The total stayed under in eight of the 12 games. They are definitely in over their heads against a Baylor team that is expected to seriously compete for the Big 12 title this season behind Heisman hopeful quarterback Bryce Petty. These two last met in 2012, with the Bears cruising to a 59-24 victory as seven-point home favorites. SMU is 0-10 both SU and ATS in its last 10 games against Baylor.
AAC Pick of the Week
Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Central Florida Knights (-2)
I had to go all the way to Dublin, Ireland, for this week's AAC pick. The Big Ten's Nittany Lions are still serving out NCAA sanctions that will keep them out of postseason play this season, but they should be a middle-of-the-road team at best in the conference after going 7-5 SU last year. James Franklin takes over the program as head coach, and with a number of starters lost from last year's team there are more questions than answers, especially on offense with the departure of wide receiver Allen Robinson.
Everyone knows that Blake Bortles is now playing in the NFL, but over the past few years the Knights have been building a dominant mid-major program under head coach George O'Leary. They come into this season ranked 23rd in ESPN's Top 25. UCF returns 10 starters on a defense that was ranked 17 th in the nation in points allowed. On the other side of the ball new starting quarterback Justin Holman has a number of receivers back that were instrumental in helping Bortles become Jacksonville's top pick in the draft.
3-Unit Play Take UCF (-2) vs. Penn State (Saturday, Aug. 30, 8:30 a.m. ESPN2)
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