AAC Football: Evaluating the 2018 conference title odds

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

College football is around the corner, and preseason conference title odds are out. Which AAC football team should you be backing for a championship?

We’re in the heart of summer now, which means two things as far as college football is concerned: there are less than two months remaining until the opening kickoff of the season, and we are in peak offseason conjecture mode.

Accordingly, odds books are beginning to release their preseason betting lines for various teams. One of the latest batches comes from the Westgate Las Vegas Sportsbook, which has released odds for each American Athletic Conference team to win the conference title, which national college football reporter Brett McMurphy has kindly compiled here.

We’re here to tell you which AAC teams present the best value, and which you should actively avoid. Let’s dive in!

Go for it!

Temple 40/1 

These are by far the most inviting odds in the entire conference. After the Owls finished 2017 with a 4-1 record and wins over Navy and FIU, they’re justifiably being talked up as a bit of a dark horse in the East division. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them slot in second in the division in the upcoming AAC preseason poll, and while UCF is the runaway favorite, 40/1 odds for what could amount to the second-best team in the division is too good to pass up.

Navy 10/1

No one’s talking about Navy in the AAC West this season, which makes some sense, given that Houston and Memphis return a lot of key players after finishing in the top two spots in the division in 2017. But if there’s anything we’ve learned from Ken Niumatalolo‘s Midshipmen, it’s that they will always, always be a player in the title race, especially when we’re least expecting it. Compared to the Cougars and Tigers, the potential payout on Navy is way higher – enough to make them the best choice in the West.

Cincinnati 100/1

It’s a total shot in the dark, but if you’re looking to back a long shot for a chance at a massive reward, the Bearcats are probably your best bet. They’re obscenely talented in Luke Fickell’s second season in charge, and while much of that talent is probably too young to make much of an impact in 2017, we’ve seen how quickly a coach can turn around a struggling but talented squad in this conference after Scott Frost took UCF from zero wins to 13 wins in just two seasons. It’s a prayer, but it’s the best prayer available on the board.

USF 10/1

If you’re looking for long shots, always bet on teams that recruit better than the rest of their conference, as it’s much easier for them to get good in a hurry. No one’s expecting miracles from the Bulls in 2018 after they lost Quinton Flowers and a handful of other crucial players, but given that no one in the conference save UCF, Cincinnati, and perhaps Houston have matched them on the recruiting trail as of late, 10/1 isn’t terrible for a team that will probably just need to topple UCF for a chance to play for a conference title.

Stay away!

UCF 5/4

It’s tough to pass on UCF when they’re the odds-on favorite to take home the AAC title… but that’s just the thing: they are the odds-on favorite to take home the AAC title, and the oddsmakers realize that. 5/4 just isn’t enough value for any team, especially when the title comes down to a single head-to-head championship game. The potential reward just isn’t enough here.

SMU 40/1

In searching for teams with a good potential payout, it may be tempting to look at the high-powered Mustangs, who finished a respectable 7-6 last season and jump all over the long odds on the board. I’d stay away. Even if new coach Sonny Dykes turns out to be a good fit in Dallas, he’ll still be in his first year with the program and will have to best Houston, Memphis, Navy, and a rising Tulane team in a brutal West division. If you’re into the 40/1 odds line, stick with Temple.

Next: Preseason Top 25 rankings

Tulane 40/1

I love Tulane this season and think Willie Fritz could lead the Green Wave on a surprise run at six or seven wins. But this team’s got the same brutal route as SMU, and I don’t see either seriously threatening for an AAC title. I’d pass on this one.

UConn 100/1 

Do not bet money on UConn football.