Following a stellar 2013 campaign that saw them claim the American Athletic Conference’s inaugural title with a perfect 8-0 conference record, the University of Central Florida Knights start the 2014 season as 7-4 co-favorites to repeat as AAC champs in college football future betting.
The Knights joined the newly formed AAC in 2013 following eight seasons in Conference USA, during which they won two conference titles and made five bowl game appearances.
“The American” undergoes further changes this season with the departure of the Louisville Cardinals to the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to the Big Ten, along with the arrival of the East Carolina Pirates, Tulane Green Wave and Tulsa Golden Hurricane from C-USA.
The Cardinals’ departure following a strong 12-1 season has created opportunity for a number of teams in The American to improve their college football futures betting odds.
The Cincinnati Bearcats struggled down the stretch last season, dropping their last two games, including a 39-17 loss to North Carolina in the Belk Bowl, to finish the season at 9-4. But that has not kept Cincy from being pegged as a co-favorite in The American.
The Houston Cougars moved to the AAC from C-USA along with UCF a year ago. The Cougars posted a middling 5-3 conference record, but owned the second best defense in The American, allowing just 16 points per game against AAC competition. The Cougars start the 2014 season with betting odds of 5-2 to win the AAC title and are a 27-50 bet to win at least nine regular season games in 2014.
East Carolina completes the list of favorites to win The American conference title with betting odds of 7-1. The Pirates compiled a respectable 10-3 record in their last season in Conference USA, including a 37-20 win over Ohio in the Beef 'O' Brady’s Bowl.
The betting line on total regular-season wins by the Pirates is set at 6.5, with the over favored with a moneyline of 77-100, while the under is pegged at 9-10.
The Memphis Tigers lead the back of the pack with betting odds of 20-1 to finish atop The American this season. They are followed by the Southern Methodist Mustangs and Tulsa at 33-1, and the South Florida Bulls at 50-1.
Three teams share long-shot status in The American with the Connecticut Huskies, Temple Owls and Tulane all trailing at 66-1.
Tulane is first in action Thursday against Tulsa, and the Green Wave is a 6.5-point road dog, according to Odds Shark.