All dates/times are AEST. All lines, totals and prices correct at the time of posting.
Week 1 is now officially in the books. I started really well going 2 from 2 on the Friday games, but then unfortunately USF shut up shop in the last 4 minutes and didn’t cover and my best of the weekend (SMU v North Texas o71) missed by 3!
Learning from the weekend is that it doesn’t matter how much time I put in to the AAC teams…. these games against teams in other conferences aren’t easy!
Looking forward to getting into Week 2 already!
FRIDAY 31ST AUGUST
9am UCF @ UConn: As I mentioned in my AAC Team Totals preview, I will not be surprised with a 1 (maybe 2) win season for the Huskies this year (I rated the Under 3.5 wins a 9 out of 10). UCF on the flip side I feel will be out early in the season to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke. UCF are 23.5 point faves and the total points has been set at around 73. UCF actually weren’t explosive on offense on the road last year and I just can’t see UConn scoring enough to reach that total. On the off chance that the UCF offense really does explode and try sending a message, I’m taking UCF ATS.
Leaning Under 73 but my prediction is UCF -23.5 (1u at $1.91) = WINNER!
10am Tulane vs Wake Forest: Wake Forest will start 7 point faves to win this. I think Tulane will be a fairly solid team this year and actually have this as a bit of a danger game for Wake Forest. Offensively Tulane were about a 1 TD better team at home last year than they were on the road, and Wake Forest, whilst averaging more points on the road than they did at home, also gave up more points on the road. Tulane meanwhile, gave up less points at home and feel that the Total Points which has been set at 56.5 is just a bit high for this one.
I’m leaning Tulane +7 but my prediction here is the Under 56.5 (1u at $1.91) = WINNER!
SUNDAY 2ND SEPTEMBER
2am Houston @ Rice: Houston are 25 point faves in this VERY early Sunday morning (Saturday local time) match up with the total points being set at 55. Houston have some absolute stars in their team and will be solid this year – I don’t expect them to do anything but win this game. That being said, 25 points is a fairly large start for a team who hasn’t played a game yet, on the road to a team who has played a game already (and won 31-28, albeit against Prairie View) and has had an opportunity to iron out a few pre-season jitters. Rice ran the ball a lot (310 yards compared with 87 yards in the air) in their first game however don’t expect they will have it as easy against a much tougher Houston defensive unit.
Even with a fairly large 25 point start I’m leaning Houston -25. Given Rice only scored TD’s via the ground in their first game, I’m struggling to see where their points come from in this game and am leaning the Under 55 as well. No official prediction/bet in this game for me though.
2am Temple vs Villanova: Temple also kick off their 2018 campaign at the 2am Sunday morning timeslot (in Australia), and expect they will do so in winning fashion. As mentioned in my AAC Season Team Totals preview, I’m pretty keen on Temple this year with Frank Nutile at QB and expect they move to 1-0 without any problems. I think Temple win and probably win well. They have had a few key losses on the defensive side of the ball though and feel Nova could get a few points.
Unfortunately lines/totals for this game aren’t yet up. Depending on what the final numbers were, I was leaning Temple ATS (-points) and was pretty keen on making the Overs an official predition…. If totals/lines are posted and I get a chance to place the bet, I’ll update accordingly.
8am ECU vs North Carolina A&T: ECU host North Carolina A&T who are on the road for the first time this season after defeating Jacksonville State (20-17) at home in their season opener. This isn’t a game I can get overly excited about at all. This could be one of very few highlights for an ECU team who could struggle to win many games this year.
Unfortunately lines/totals aren’t up for this game yet either. Depending on what the final numbers were, I was leaning NCA&T ATS (+points) and the Overs (as I feel both teams have the ability to leak some easy points) however no matter what the line/total is, I just can’t get involved. No official prediction in this game for me.
8am USF vs Elon: Expecting more wins than loses from USF this season and Elon should be nothing more than a training run for them. Unfortunately line/totals aren’t up for this game yet either, however I’m expecting that this will be supported with betting agencies having USF set as quite big favourites. I’d expect that USF win and probably win well. I’m concerned with Elon’s ability to put points on the board in this one and as such, depending on what the final numbers were, was leaning Unders but was keen on making USF ATS (-points) an official prediction……. If totals/lines are posted and I get a chance to place the bet, I’ll update accordingly.
ADDED prediction via Twitter late (due to lines/totals not being up earlier) USF -26 (1.5u at $1.92) = Loss
9am Cincinnati @ UCLA: At home, UCLA are 15.5 favourites to beat Cincinnati in this season opener for both teams. There is a lot of talk around UCLA with their depth at QB and Coach Chip Kelly confirming it is very possible they will play multiple QB’s in games this season. Whilst this might seem exciting having so much depth, I feel this is a bit of a danger game for UCLA. I just wonder how much the chopping/changing/uncertainty at QB will affect them mentally in their first game, I have no doubt they work it out as the season goes on, but I feel Cincinnati have a real chance here if they show up on the day. Expect this could be a high scoring game (as supported by the total game points currently set at 61.5) with both teams able to score, and both likely to leak a few points.
Leaning Cincinnati +15.5 but my prediction is Over 61.5 (1u at $1.89) = Loss
9am Memphis vs Mercer: This appears to be yet another AAC team with a very favourable match up to start the season. I was really keen on Memphis this season (still am to a degree) however I do question their depth at QB with Moore leaving the programme altogether after White was named starting QB. I don’t have questions over White (I actually think he will be very strong for them), however from a season total perspective I was nervous about their depth should anything unforeseen happen to White. Given this is Game 1 of the season, I’d hope he plays it out in full and strongly. Expect Memphis start favourites (unfortunately lines/totals still aren’t up for this game either) and that this will be a training run for them. Similar to a few other games this week, I’m not sure where Mercer’s points will come from.
I was leaning Overs but was keen on making Memphis ATS (-points) an official prediction……. If totals/lines are posted and I get a chance to place the bet, I’ll update accordingly.
9am Tulsa vs Central Arkansas: Similar to the ECU vs North Carolina A&T match, this isn’t a game I can get overly excited about either. Also, another game where lines/totals haven’t yet been posted. As with ECU, this opening game could be one of limited highlights for Tulsa who I’ve predicted to only win 3 or 4 games this season. I do expect Tulsa probably start favourites here.
Depending on the final numbers, I was leaning Tulsa ATS (-pionts) and the Unders (as I feel both teams could have issues finding rhythm on offense) however no matter what lines/totals are posted, there will be no official prediction in this game for me.
9.30am SMU @ North Texas: These two teams met early last season when SMU (at home) defeated North Texas 54-32. With the total points set at 71 betting agencies are again expecting a likely end to end high scoring affair, which I can’t disagree with. North Texas (who are -4.5 point favourites) will have some serious fire power on offense and SMU did struggle on the road last year, but I have a sneaky feeling SMU could get 2018 off to a winning start here.
Leaning SMU +4.5 but my prediction is Over 71 (2u at $1.92). **This is my best bet for Week 1** = Loss
1pm Navy @ Hawaii: To round out Week 1 for the AAC teams, Navy travel to Hawaii who after a somewhat surprising road victory (43-34) against Colorado State, return home for their second game of the season. Navy are 10.5 point faves and I’m predicting them to be an improved team on last year, on both sides of the ball. I think Navy will be a much tougher opposition for Hawaii this week and whilst they will certainly come in full of confidence, I expect that Navy will do enough here. Game total is currently set at 62 points.
Leaning Navy -10.5 and Under 62 (as I feel Hawaii won’t get the opportunities against Navy that they did against Colorado State) however no official prediction in this game for me.