Expert Picks: 2013 American Athletic over/under win totals

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville are aiming at an undefeated season. (USATSI)
Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville are aiming at an undefeated season. (USATSI)

Media days will begin this month, kicking off the 2013 college football preseason. With 5Dimes releasing early over/under win totals recently, the Eye On College Football has decided to break down the wager for each major conference team. Remember, as always, this advice is for entertainment purposes only.

NOTE: The over/under totals listed by 5Dimes do not include any potential conference championship or bowl games. The number is for the 2013 regular season only. All lines current as of July 12.

Cincinnati, 9.5 wins (over +120, under -160)

Could Tommy Tuberville follow in Brian Kelly's footsteps and win 10 games in his first season with the Bearcats? The schedule will give him a shot -- win at Illinois and USF, and Cincy could start 9-0 before a Nov. 16 date at Rutgers. But with a lack of offensive playmakers (Ralph David Abernathy IV aside), the usual headaches of a coaching change on both sides of the ball and Tuberville's penchant for dropping games along the way he shouldn't, the guess here is that at least one upset defeat and a loss in Piscataway will leave the Bearcats at 9-2 heading into the season finale vs. Louisville. The Cards have the more talented team and should be plenty focused, meaning a Bearcat loss -- and the under -- is more likely than not. Verdict: Under

Connecticut, 5.5 wins (over -140, under +100)

After back-to-back 5-7 seasons and with Paul Pasqualoni's most experienced team yet, this should be the Huskies' return to the postseason, right? But the schedule isn't helpful, giving UConn just one "lock" win (at home vs. Towson, though they should also handle Memphis in Storrs) and handing them two likely home losses in Michigan and Louisville. A team with this little offensive firepower (one that scored more than 24 points in none if its final 11 games of 2012) and no Don Brown -- the star defensive coordinator that joined Steve Addazio at Boston College -- can't expect to win enough road games to hit this over. Verdict: Under

Houston, 5.5 wins (over -110, under - 130)

The Cougars are still just two years removed from their Kevin Sumlin/Case Keenum glory days, but it seemed much further than that during Tony Levine's 5-7 debut. A stacked offense led by quarterback David Piland should take a major step forward, but the defense remains a question mark. Southern, Temple, UTSA and Memphis should make four wins, but is there enough defense to grab two more from a group that includes Rice, USF, Cincinnati or SMU (all at home) or UCF or Rutgers on the road? The margin is razor-thin, but the guess here is: barely. Verdict: Over

Louisville, 10.5 wins (over -170, under +130)

The good news: The Cardinals will probably be favored in all 12 of their regular-season games. The bad news: That hasn't always guaranteed them a win under Charlie Strong, who's been upset six times in his three seasons at the helm, including losses to the likes of FIU, Marshall and UConn. (Not to mention the 45-26 thrashing in the Carrier Dome last year.) Expecting one loss, then, is easy, but is the schedule -- with road dates at Kentucky, USF, UConn, and Cincy, and home games with Rutgers and UCF -- tough enough to expect a second? With the under offering a much higher payout, that seems like the way to bet. Verdict: Under

Memphis, 4.5 wins (over -165, under +125)

It says something about the job Justin Fuente did in Year 1 that this line suggests the Tigers are due for a minimum of 5 wins in 2013 -- or as many as they claimed in 2009, 2010 and 2011 combined. Arkansas State, UT-Martin, and Temple at home should be three victories, but that still leaves two upsets to pull vs. Duke, UCF, SMU or Cincy (at home) or Middle Tennessee, Houston, USF, or UConn (on the road). With Fuente's offensive coaching and a veteran defense, that seems doable. Verdict: Over

Rutgers, 6.5 wins (over -130, under -110)

Kyle Flood enjoyed quite the debut season with the Scarlet Knights, posting a 9-4 record and claiming a share of the final Big East title. Repeating that trick with seven players taken in the draft will be tricky, though. The schedule is friendly, at least: Norfolk State, Eastern Michigan, Houston and Temple all at home should be four wins. Between road games at SMU and UConn and home dates with Arkansas, Cincy and USF -- all opponents against whom the Scarlet Knights will have a raw talent advantage -- two more wins should be there for the taking. Verdict: Over

South Florida, 5.5 wins (over -180, under +140)

No pressure, Willie Taggart, but this line says you're expected to step in and take a team that went 3-9 a year ago to a bowl game. The Bulls should be decisive favorites in four games (home vs. McNeese State, FAU, Memphis and SMU), but might in turn be underdogs in their other eight. A postseason game will likely hinge on winning two games from a pool that includes home games with Miami, Cincy and Louisville and road dates at UConn, Houston, UCF and Rutgers. That won't be easy -- and with the margin this close, paying -180 is too expensive. Verdict: Under

SMU, 5.5 wins (over +140, under -180)

No team may feel the sting of moving up from C-USA to the AAC more than the Mustangs, who play three of their four nonconference games against heavy BCS-level favorites in Texas Tech, Texas A&M and TCU. That will require June Jones' team to win five AAC games to make a bowl -- and do it without the dominant defensive line that made such a difference in 2012. Home games vs. Temple and UConn should be two such wins, but even at -180, it's too hard finding three more to play the over -- particularly for a team that's been so lousy on the road the past two years (3-8 against the spread). Verdict: Under

Temple, 4.5 wins (over +130, under -170)

Your humble blogger has already gone on record as loving Temple's under, and nothing's changing here. With an offensive scheme change and precious little in the way of offensive firepower in the wake of Montel Harris' departure, it's awful hard to see the Owls scoring enough points to beat anyone other than Idaho on the road. Meaning that even if Matt Rhule's team holds serve vs. Fordham and Army, it will still have to take two of three from Houston, UCF and UConn -- the first two of which should feast on the Owls' suspect secondary. Three wins seems more likely than five. Verdict: Under

UCF, 8.5 wins (over +125, under -165)

With Blake Bortles back under center and an array of quality receivers, the Knights should boast one of the best -- if not the best -- passing games in the AAC. But will that be enough to 1. upset one of the following -- South Carolina, Penn State or Louisville, the latter two on the road -- or 2. sweep their other nine games? Because if they don't do one or the other, they can't get to nine wins. The Knights will be good, but with their trademark defense likely taking a step back, it's tough to think they'll be that good. Verdict: Under

To review: Best bets: Temple under 4.5 (-170), UCF under 8.5 wins (-165), UConn under 5.5 (+100). Worth thinking about: Rutgers over 6.5 (-130), Memphis over 4.5 (-165). Only if you like danger: Cincinnati under 9.5 (-160), SMU under 5.5 (-180), Houston over 5.5 (-110). Stay away: USF under 5.5 (+140), Louisville under 10.5 (+130).

 
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