NCAA Football Picks and American Athletic Conference Week 6 Betting Report
by Dave Schwab - 10/1/2014
Cincinnati's 50-28 loss to Ohio State as a 15.5-point road underdog this past Saturday dropped my record to 3-2 in my top weekly picks in the AAC, but I am already hard at work uncovering another solid play for this week's games. The top team in the conference this season, East Carolina, is back in action and poised to possibly fit the bill.
The following is a brief betting report for all the games this week in the AAC as well as my top pick for Week 6 of the season. All the lines quoted have been provided by 5Dimes.
Thursday, Oct. 3
Central Florida Knights vs. Houston Cougars (-3)
The Knights cruised to the AAC title in 2013 behind an overall record of 12-1, but losses to Penn State and Missouri right out of the gate this year have them looking to get back to .500 in Thursday's conference opener. The one thing we have learned so far is that quarterback Justin Holman is no Blake Bortles. He has thrown for 558 yards in his first three games while completing just 60.6 of his 61 attempts.
Houston evened its mark to 2-2 both straight up and against the spread with a 47-14 pasting of UNLV this past Saturday as a 20-point home favorite. The total stayed "under" the closing 63.5-point line, and it has now stayed under in all four games this year. The Cougars' passing game has also struggled to get off the ground with an average of 221.5 yards a game. John O'Korn has completed just 77-of-146 attempts for a dismal completion percentage of 52.7.
Saturday, Oct. 4
Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Colorado State Rams (-14.5)
Tulsa opened play in its new conference with a 38-31 victory over another AAC newcomer, Tulane, as a 4.5-point home favorite in its season opener. Since then the Golden Hurricane have lost their last three games both SU and ATS. They are allowing an average of 42.5 points per game, which is ranked near the bottom of Division IA, and their offense has come nowhere close to keeping pace with just 25 PPG.
The Rams are off to a 3-1 start both SU and ATS, with the only loss coming against Mountain West foe Boise State 37-24 as eight-point road underdogs in their conference opener. They are coming off a big 24-21 upset of Boston College as six-point underdogs last Saturday on the road. Colorado State has moved the ball well through the air behind quarterback Garrett Grayson. He has thrown for 1,261 yards and 10 touchdowns and the offense is averaging 32 PPG.
Memphis Tigers vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (-4.5)
Total Line: 65
The Tigers are coming off a 24-3 loss to No. 11 Ole Miss this past Saturday as 20-point road underdogs to fall to 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS. You have to give some credit to their defense for keeping the Rebels somewhat in check in that game. Memphis will look to return to form on the other side of the ball with an offense that is averaging 34.3 points, even with last week's three-point effort. The ground game has been the driving force with an average of 187.8 yards per game.
Cincinnati got a late start to the season after remaining idle for the first two weeks, and the rust showed in last Saturday's loss to Ohio State, especially on defense. The Bearcats are now 2-1 SU (1-2ATS) on the year after posting wins over Toledo and Miami (OH) in their first two games. The offense has been effective with 39 PPG, and the passing game is ranked ninth in the nation in yards (353.0) behind quarterback Gunner Kiel. The problem is a defense that has allowed 36 PPG so far.
AAC Pick of the Week
SMU Mustangs vs. No. 23 East Carolina Pirates (-41)
Total Line: 61
You would have to look hard to find another college team at any level as bad as SMU right now. In four previous outings the Mustangs have managed to score 12 points, while their defense has been torched for an average of 50.5 PPG. There are 128 programs in D-IA football, and these numbers have SMU ranked dead last in both categories. Former head coach June Jones suddenly quit just two games into the season as he must have known then that this team was a hopeless cause.
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum is East Carolina, which is the class of the AAC and ranked No. 22 in the latest AP Top 25. The Pirates are coming off a bye after burying North Carolina 70-41 as 1.5-point home underdogs their last time out. This followed an impressive 28-21 victory over Virginia Tech as 10-point underdogs on the road. East Carolina is averaging 43.3 PPG, and they should easily exceed that number in this game. making the current 41-point spread in this game a gift.
4-Unit Play Take East Carolina (-41) over SMU (Saturday, Oct. 4, 12 p.m.)
YTD: 3-2 (+130)
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