NCAA Football Picks and American Athletic Conference Week 5 Betting Report
by Dave Schwab - 9/24/2014
I went with the "over" 61 in SMU's home game against Texas A&M this past Saturday as my 3-Unit AAC "pick of the week," and luckily the Aggies did all the heavy lifting on their own in a 58-6 romp that raised my record on the year to 3-1.
One of the top teams in the conference continued its winning ways this past week when East Carolina crushed North Carolina 70-41 as a 1.5-point home underdog. This followed the Pirates' 28-21 upset of Virginia Tech the week before as 10-point underdogs on the road.
The following is a brief betting report for all the games this week in the AAC as well as my top play for Week 5 of the season. All the lines quoted have been provided by 5Dimes.
Saturday, Sept. 27
TCU Horned Frogs (-32) vs. SMU Mustangs
Total Line: 49.5
TCU is not even considered one of the top contenders in the Big 12 this season, but it comes into this mismatch looking to stay unbeaten through its first three games. The Horned Frogs defense has been at the top of its game so far by allowing a total of just 21 points in wins over Samford and Minnesota. The 0-3 Mustangs could easily have one of the worst offenses in the nation after tallying a grand total of 12 points in losses to Baylor, North Texas and Texas A&M.
Tulane Green Wave vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-11.5)
Total Line: 54
The Green Wave are off to a 1-3 start both straight up and against the spread, with the total going "over" in all four games. They have had their issues on defense with an average of 35.8 points allowed so far. Rutgers lost to Penn State in its first Big Ten matchup, but it's in good shape to close out the nonconference portion of its schedule a perfect 4-0 barring an upset this Saturday. The Scarlet Knights are 3-1 ATS this season, and the total has stayed "under" in their last two games.
South Florida Bulls vs. No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers (-34)
Total Line: 50
The Bulls won their AAC opener last week in a 17-14 victory over Connecticut as one-point favorites at home to improve to 2-2 both SU and ATS. They will have their hands full this week slowing down Wisconsin with a defense that is allowing an average of 29.5 points per game. The Badgers have outscored their opponents (Western Illinois and Bowling Green) 105-20 since suffering a 28-24 loss to LSU on opening weekend as 3.5-point underdogs. Wisconsin is ranked first in the nation in rushing with an average of 359.7 yards per game.
Temple Owls (-5) vs. Connecticut Huskies
Total Line: 45
The Owls are off to a promising 2-1 start SU and ATS after winning just two games all last season. They beat Vanderbilt and Navy as underdogs, with the total staying under in both games. Temple's defense is allowing an average of just 12.7 PPG. The Huskies (1-3 SU, 0-4 ATS) will look to rebound from last week's loss to South Florida, but it may not be easy with an offense that is generating a grand total of 16 PPG.
Memphis Tigers vs. No. 10 Mississippi Rebels (-19)
Total Line: 57.5
Memphis will once again go on the road to step way up in class after covering against No. 11 UCLA in a 42-35 loss on Sept. 6 as a heavy 22.5-point underdog. The Tigers offense could have the firepower to hang tough this time around as well with an average of 44.7 PPG in their first three outings. The Rebels continue to rise up the ranks with a 3-0 start both SU and ATS in which they have outscored their opponents (Boise State, Vanderbilt and UL-Lafayette) 132-31. They are ranked eighth in the nation in passing yards behind quarterback Bo Wallace.
Texas State Bobcats vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (-4)
Total Line: 64
The Bobcats fell to 1-2 SU with a 42-35 loss to Illinois last Saturday, but they covered as 10.5-point road underdogs to improve to 2-1 ATS on the year. The total has gone over in two of the three games behind an offense that is putting up 40.3 PPG. Tulsa is also off to a 1-2 start (SU and ATS) after getting crushed by Florida International 50-31 two weeks ago as a one-point road favorite. It gave up 52 points to Oklahoma in a 45-point loss after allowing 31 points in a seven-point win over Tulane on opening weekend.
AAC Pick of the Week
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (-15.5)
Total Line: 63.5
The Bearcats got off to a late start to their season, but they appear ready to go with SU victories over Toledo and Miami (Ohio) in their first two games. Gunner Kiel has led a passing attack that has tallied over 700 yards in those two games. He has already thrown for 10 touchdowns while completing an impressive 66 percent of his 76 attempts. Mekale McKay has been his favorite target with 12 receptions for 215 yards and three scores.
Ohio State bounced back from a stunning 35-21 loss to Virginia Tech as a 10-point home favorite with a crushing 66-0 shutout over Kent State on Sept. 13, but the jury is still out on this team without quarterback Braxton Miller at the helm. The Buckeyes will be leery of a letdown against a team it should easily beat, but they are just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games, while the Bearcats are 3-0 ATS in their last three road games as underdogs.
4-Unit Play Take Cincinnati (+15.5) over Ohio State (Saturday, Sept. 27, 6 p.m.)
YTD: 3-1 (+570)
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