NCAA Football Picks and American Athletic Conference Week 4 Betting Report
by Dave Schwab - 9/17/2014
The NC State Wolfpack rolled over South Florida this past Saturday 49-17 as two-point road favorites to take my record in the AAC this season to 2-1, but the biggest news in this conference was East Carolina's shocking 28-21 victory over then-No. 17 Virginia Tech as a 10-point underdog on the road. The Hokies first broke into the Top 25 following their stunning upset of Ohio State the week before.
The following is a brief betting report for all the games this week in the AAC as well as my top play for Week 4 of the season. All the lines quoted have been provided by BetOnline.
Connecticut Huskies vs. South Florida (-2)
Total Line: 46
The Huskies will open play in the AAC with a 1-2 straight up record in their nonconference schedule. The lone win came against Division IAA Stoney Brook, and they have failed to cover against the spread in all three contests. Connecticut is ranked near the bottom of the nation in scoring with 16.7 points per game.
The Bulls have not been much better with 1-2 start both SU and ATS. They have been slightly more productive on offense with 23.3 PPG, but their defense is well down the list in points allowed in giving up an average of 34.7 PPG.
Saturday, Sept. 20
Tulane Green Wave vs. Duke Blue Devils (-17)
Total Line: 56
Tulane opened its first season in the AAC after departing Conference USA with a 38-31 loss to Tulsa, which is also new to the conference via C-USA. The Green Wave split their next two games against Georgia Tech (38-21 loss) and Southeastern Louisiana (35-20 win) to go 1-2 SU and ATS in their first three games.
Duke has followed up its stunning 2013 ACC Atlantic Division title with a perfect 3-0 SU (1-1-1 ATS) start that includes a 41-3 romp over Kansas last week as an 11-point home favorite. The total has stayed "under" in its last two games. The Blue Devils' defense is allowing an average of just 11 PPG.
Delaware State Hornets vs. Temple Owls (OFF)
Total Line: OFF
The Division IAA Hornets play out of the MEAC, and they step up in class after posting a 0-3 record in their first three outings against other teams from D-IAA. They have been outscored 100-37 in those three games.
Temple started its season with a stunning 37-7 victory over Vanderbilt as an 8.5-point road underdog, but the Owls could not get past Navy in Week 2 with a 31-24 setback as three-point underdogs at home. They come off a bye week with an offense that is ranked 82nd in the nation in both passing and rushing yards per game.
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. East Carolina Pirates (-2.5)
Total Line: 66
The Tar Heels have won their first two games this season against D-IAA Liberty and San Diego State, but they failed to cover as double-digit favorites in either contest. Quarterback Maquise Williams has been a dual threat with 424 yards passing the ball and another 115 yards on the ground.
East Carolina could possibly be on the verge of cracking the Top 25 rankings if it can win this game with authority after losing to No. 14 South Carolina in Week 2 by 10 points as a 14.5-point road underdog followed by the huge upset of Virginia Tech. The Pirates are ranked seventh in the nation in passing yards behind quarterback Shane Carden.
Bethune-Cookman Wildcats vs. Central Florida Knights (OFF)
Total Line: OFF
The Wildcats are another team out of the MEAC, and they already notched a SU victory against a D-IA team with a 14-12 win over Conference-USA's FIU Golden Panthers as 2.5-point road favorites. They come into this game with a SU record of 2-0.
The Knights won the first-ever AAC title last season, but it has started this year off with back-to-back losses to Penn State and Missouri both SU and ATS. Justin Holeman has taken over the reins at quarterback for the departed Blake Bortles, and he has thrown for 413 yards and two scores while completing 31-of-50 passes.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. Memphis Tigers (-12)
Total Line: 63
Middle Tennessee renews an ongoing rivalry against a former C-USA foe with a trip to Memphis. The Blue Raiders are off to a 2-1 SU start with a 3-0 mark ATS. The have won the last three games in this series SU, but they have failed to cover in two of the three games as favorites against Memphis.
The Tigers played UCLA tough two weeks ago in a 42-35 loss as 22-point road underdogs. Paxton Lynch completed 27-of-41 attempts for 305 yards and one score and Memphis as a whole gained 469 yards of total offense against the Bruins, including 164 yards on the ground.
Miami (OH) Redhawks vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (-28)
Total Line: 60.5
The Redhawks are still looking for their first SU win of the year after losing to Marshall, Eastern Kentucky and Michigan. They did cover against the Wolverines as 32-point road underdogs. The total has stayed under in their last two games.
Cincinnati has just one game under its belt this season after getting off to a late start, but it was a solid 58-34 romp over Toledo as a 9.5-point home favorite. The total easily went over the 58-point closing line. Bearcat quarterback Gunner Kiel threw for 418 yards and six touchdowns in that game.
UNLV Rebels vs. Houston Cougars (-21)
Total Line: 60.5
UNLV is off to a 1-2 SU start, and it has failed to cover in all three games. Last Saturday the Rebels lost to Northern Illinois 48-34 as 10-point home underdogs after squeezing-by D-IAA Northern Colorado 13-12 the week before as 27.5-point favorites at home.
The Cougars fell to BYU 33-25 their last time out, but they did cover with the 17 points on the road. They are now 1-2 both SU and ATS. Houston has averaged 26.3 points a game this season, and its defense is allowing an average of 20 points through its first three games.
AAC Pick of the Week
Texas A&M Aggies (-32.5) vs. SMU Mustangs
Total Line: 61
The Aggies have worked their way to No. 6 in the latest AP Top 25 with a perfect 3-0 SU start that includes their stunning 52-28 victory over South Carolina as nine-point road underdogs on opening day. They went on to put up 73 points against D-IAA Lamar and 38 points against Rice in their last two games. Quarterback Kenny Hill has made an early name for himself with 1,094 yards passing and 11 touchdown throws.
The Mustangs gave up 43 points last week in a lopsided loss to North Texas after getting pasted by Baylor 45-0 on opening weekend. The prospect for any kind a dramatic turnaround against another offensive power does not look too good. The total went over the closing 45.5-point line against the Mean Green, and it has gone over in four of SMU's last five games as a home underdog.
3-Unit Play Take Texas A&M at SMU OVER 61 (Saturday, Sept. 20, 3:30 p.m.)
YTD: 2-1 (+270)
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