NCAA Football Picks and American Athletic Conference Week 7 Betting Report
by Dave Schwab - 10/8/2014
East Carolina rolled to a 45-24 victory over SMU this past Saturday to remain the top team in the AAC in its inaugural season in the conference, but it could not cover the huge 41-point spread as my pick of the week. This evened my mark on the year to 3-3 in my top plays for the AAC, but I am confident that I will poke my head back above .500 with this week's top play.
The following is a brief betting report for all the games this week in the AAC as well as my top pick for Week 7 of the season. All the lines quoted have been provided by 5Dimes.
Thursday, Oct. 9
BYU Cougars vs. Central Florida Knights (-3)
BYU was being touted as a possible playoff contender after a strong 4-0 start, but all those lofty expectations came to a grinding halt last week when the Cougars lost to Utah State. Even more devastating was the loss of quarterback Taysom Hill with a broken leg. He was a big reason for that early success.
Central Florida is coming off a key 17-12 win over Houston last week as a 2.5-point road underdog. This evened its record at 2-2 both straight up and against the spread. With Blake Bortles playing on Sunday's now, the Knights' offense is a mere shell of its former self behind a passing game that is ranked 108th in the nation with 178.5 yards a game.
Saturday, Oct. 11
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Miami Hurricanes (-14.5)
Total Line: 58.5
The Bearcats come into this AAC vs. ACC clash with 2-2 SU record and a 1-3 mark ATS after last Saturday's stunning 41-14 loss to Memphis as three-point home favorites. This is another team in the conference that has taken a major step backwards this year.
Miami has had its share of trouble this season, especially in conference play. The 3-3 Hurricanes started the season with a loss to Louisville, and last Saturday they fell to Georgia Tech 28-17 as 2.5-point road underdogs to go to 1-2 in the ACC. Miami still has a fairly potent passing game behind Brad Kaaya that is averaging 260.2 yards a game
Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Temple Owls (- 17)
Total Line: 58.5
Tulsa's first season in the AAC started off with a 38-31 victory over fellow newcomer Tulane as a 4.5-point home favorite, but it brings a four-game slide both SU and ATS into this matchup. The Golden Hurricane defense has allowed an average of 42.4 points a game this year.
Temple has been able to turn things around so far with a 4-1 start after winning just two games last season. Heading into last week's bye, the Owls were ranked 25th in the nation in scoring with 39 points per game, and their defense is ranked third in average points allowed (12.0).
Houston Cougars vs. Memphis Tigers (-9)
Total Line: 49
If Houston is going to rebound from last week's loss to UCF, it's going to need a much better effort from an offense that is ranked 82nd in the country in average passing yards complementing a running game that is averaging just 154.8 yards per game.
Memphis is another up-and-coming team in the AAC this season after going just 1-7 in conference play in 2013. Last week's rout of Cincinnati followed hard-fought losses to No. 3 Mississippi and No. 18 UCLA as 20+ point underdogs. The Tigers' defense is holding teams to 19.4 PPG.
Connecticut Huskies vs. Tulane Green Wave (-3.5)
Total Line: 45.5
The Huskies fell to 1-4 SU on the year and a costly 0-5 ATS with a 36-10 loss to Temple on Sept. 27 as six-point home underdogs. Connecticut has been dismal on the offensive side of the ball with an average of 14.8 PPG. This unit is averaging just 75.4 yards a game on the ground and 186 yards through the air.
Tulane is also off to a 1-4 start SU and ATS. It failed to cover as a double-digit underdog against Duke and Rutgers on the road in its last two games by getting outscored 77-19. On the year, the Green Wave is ranked 109th in scoring (21.2 PPG) and 102nd in points allowed (34.8 PPG).
AAC Pick of the Week
No. 19 East Carolina Pirates (-15) vs. South Florida Bulls
Total Line: 58
The Pirates have quickly become the cream of the crop in their new conference with a 4-1 start both SU and ATS that includes a tough loss to South Carolina and a thrilling upset of Virginia Tech. Last Saturday against SMU was the first time East Carolina failed to cover this season, but it still won the game with relative ease. Shane Carden has thrown for 1,879 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, and his favorite targets, Justin Hardy and Isaiah Jones, have combined for 75 receptions for 932 yards and nine scores.
South Florida managed to cover as a 33-point road underdog against Wisconsin two weeks ago in a 27-10 loss. The Bulls come off a bye with an overall record of 2-3 SU (3-2 ATS) behind a defense that is ranked 87th in Division IA in points allowed in giving up an average of 29 PPG. It is going to be extremely hard for South Florida to keep pace against a scoring machine like East Carolina given that its offense has failed to score more than 17 points in each of its last four outings.
3-Unit Play Take East Carolina (-15) over South Florida (Saturday, Oct. 11, 7 p.m.)
YTD: 3-3 (-270)
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