NCAA Football Picks and American Athletic Conference Week 8 Betting Report
by Dave Schwab - 10/15/2014
East Carolina remained at the top of the heap in the AAC by outlasting South Florida 28-17 last Saturday as my "pick of the week," but the Pirates failed to cover the 15-point spread as road favorites to drop my record on the year to 3-4. With a limited amount of matchups on the AAC slate this week, I was still able to unearth a pick that should get me back to .500 on the year.
The following is a brief betting report for all the games this week in the AAC as well as my top pick for Week 8 of the season. All the lines quoted have been provided by 5Dimes.
Friday, Oct. 17
Temple Owls vs. Houston Cougars (-8)
Total Line: 50
Temple won only two games last season, but this year it is off to a 4-1 straight up start with a 3-2 record against the spread. The Owls are coming off a 35-24 victory over Tulsa last Saturday, but they failed to cover as 16.5-point home favorites. It was just the second time in their first five games that the defense allowed more than 10 points. Overall, this unit is ranked fourth in the nation in points allowed (14.4).
The Cougars have followed up a loss with a win in their first six games for an even 3-3 SU mark on the year. They are also 3-3 ATS, and the total has stayed "under" in five of the six games. Last week they upset Memphis 28-24 as 7.5-point road underdogs, with the total going "over" the 48-point closing line. Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. passed for 188 yards and a touchdown while adding another 95 yards and a score on the ground to help pace the win.
Saturday, Oct. 18
South Florida Bulls (-2) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Total Line: 52.5
The Bulls loss to East Carolina last week dropped them to 2-4 SU on the year, but they have now covered ATS in four of their last five games. The total has also stayed under in four of the five contests. This is definitely not one of the flashiest teams in the AAC with an offense that is averaging just 19 points a game, and it has now failed to score more than 17 points in its last five games.
It has been a rough go of it for Tulsa in the AAC after leaving Conference USA with a five-game losing streak heading into this contest. It is 2-4 ATS this season, and the total has gone over in five of its six games. The Golden Hurricane have one of the worst defenses in Division IA in points allowed (41.2), and their offense has not been all that much better with an average of just 23.5 points a game.
Tulane Green Wave vs. Central Florida Knights (-20)
Total Line: OFF
Tulane is another team that jumped ship from C-USA after last season, and its initial year in the AAC is off to a 2-4 start both SU and ATS. The Green Wave evened its mark at 1-1 in conference play with last week's 12-3 win over Connecticut as 3.5-point home favorites. Tulane is another AAC team that has had its issues finding the end zone this season with an average of just 19.7 points a game.
UCF is coming off a 31-24 overtime victory against BYU in which it covered as a 2.5-point home favorite to improve to 3-2 SU and ATS. The total went over the 46-point closing line after staying under in its previous three games. The Knights' offense has struggled at times under new quarterback Justin Holman, but he did throw for 326 yards and two touchdowns in the win against the Cougars.
AAC Pick of the Week
Cincinnati Bearcats (- 14) vs. SMU Mustangs
Total Line: 61.5
The Bearcats current losing streak reached three games with last Saturday's 55-34 loss to Miami (FL) as 15.5-point road underdogs. They are now 2-3 SU on the year with a 1-4 record ATS. Quarterback Gunner Kiel has been a bright spot so far on an offense that is averaging 33 points a game. He has already thrown for 1,612 yards and 18 touchdowns, and the Bearcats' passing offense as a whole is ranked 11th in the nation.
SMU is still searching for its first SU win after a 0-5 start, and it has failed to cover in four of the five games. The Mustangs actually scored 24 points against East Carolina in a 21-point loss on Oct. 4 after tallying a grand total of 12 points in their first four games. This team is not only bad on offense; its defense is ranked dead-last in D-IA in average points allowed (49.4). Cincinnati is looking to take out its frustrations with a lopsided victory this Saturday afternoon, and the Mustangs certainly fit the bill.
4-Unit Play Take Cincinnati (-14) over SMU (Saturday, Oct. 18, 3:30 p.m.)
YTD: 3-4 (-570)
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