The Big 12 has poached the three best teams in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) in Cincinnati, Houston, and Central Florida, but they will not make the jump until next season. This season, they remain in the AAC, where either Cincinnati or Houston is the betting favorite — depending on the sportsbook.
Central Florida’s odds are not far behind, and there’s a sizable gap between them and the rest of the conference. But Cincinnati, Houston, and Central Florida (UCF) are not the only talented teams in the AAC this year.
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Odds to Win AAC Championship
Three teams are priced far ahead of the rest of the field in AAC futures odds.
|AAC Championship Odds-- 2022||DraftKings||BetMGM (Code TODAY)||FanDuel||Caesars (Code TODAY15)|
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It is not uncommon for a defending champion to open as the favorite the following year. Yes, the Bearcats lost several players crucial to last season’s historic run (i.e., Desmond Ridder, Jerome Ford, Alec Pierce, etc.). But there is plenty of talent coming back, including the entire offensive line and both tight ends.
As for the defense, while it has been one of the better units in the country in recent years, it may take a step back this season. Several of the most impactful players from last year’s squad have moved on, but several remain. Head coach Luke Fickell and his staff have done an excellent job on the recruiting trail.
However, Cincinnati is not a unanimous favorite to win the AAC. Caesars and FanDuel have Houston favored. The Cougars have a ton of talent coming back on one of the more explosive offenses in football last season, including quarterback Clayton Tune.
Central Florida lost its starting quarterback but found one with a ton of potential in the transfer portal, former Ole Miss quarterback John Rhys Plumlee. But he will have to beat out Mikey Keene for the job.
AAC Championship Betting Analysis
Cincinnati could run it back, but having a veteran quarterback behind center could be the difference maker for the Houston Cougars. The Bearcats may have the next great unknown QB on the roster in either Ben Bryant or Evan Prater, but there will be growing pains for the offense as whoever lands the job adjusts to the role.
Central Florida has a shot if whoever earns the QB1 job (John Rhys Plumlee or Mikey Keene) lives up to expectations. The starter will have an excellent group of skill position players in Isaiah Bowser, Ryan O’Keefe, Kobe Hudson, and Kemore Gamble.
SMU may have the best shot to win the conference, outside of the top three. Much like last season, expectations are high for an experienced and talented offense. While the front seven of the defense is solid, the secondary will need to be better than it was last season for SMU to win the conference.
The Mustangs’ defense allowed 278.1 yards passing last season (124th in the country).
Our Pick: Houston. Cincinnati needs to replace too many guys to have a shot at a three-peat. If you want to go with a sleeper, roll the dice on SMU. They’ll have a capable offense, but their defense is a question mark.
Season Win Totals For AAC Teams
Cincinnati, Houston, and Central Florida have the highest win totals in the conference; each has a total of 9.5 posted to at least one sportsbook. Bowl victories and the conference title game do not factor into a team’s final win total.
|Team||DraftKings||BetMGM (Code TODAY)||FanDuel||Caesars (Code TODAY15)|
|Cincinnati||9 (-140/+120)||9 (-140/+115)||9 (-160/+135)||9.5 (-115/-115)|
|Houston||9 (-125/+105)||9 (-125/+105)||9.5 (+115/-135)||9 (-125/-105)|
|Central Florida||8.5 (-150/+130)||8.5 (-155/+130)||8.5 (-160/+135)||9.5 (+110/-140)|
|SMU||7 (-105/-115)||6.5 (-175/+145)||7 (-120/+100)||6.5 (-155/+125)|
|Memphis||7.5 (+120/-140)||7.5 (+120/-145)||7.5 (+120/-140)||7.5 (+100/-130)|
|East Carolina||6.5 (+120/-140)||6.5 (+110/-130)||6.5 (+115/-135)||6.5 (+110/-140)|
|Tulsa||6 (+115/-135)||5.5 (-140/+115)||5.5 (-145/+125)||5.5 (-110/-120)|
|Tulane||6 (+100/-120)||5.5 (-175/+145)||6.5 (+130/-155)||6 (-105/-125)|
|South Florida||4.5 (+115/-135)||4.5 (+115/-140)||4.5 (+110/-130)||4 (-130/+100)|
|Navy||4.5 (+110/-130)||4.5 (+115/-140)||4 (-115/-105)||4 (-140/+110)|
|Temple||2.5 (-140/+120)||2.5 (-150/+125)||2.5 (-165/+140)||2.5 (-140/+110)|
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Here are some of our favorite picks:
Cincinnati: Under 9 at +135 (FanDuel)
Yes, the Bearcats have a ton of talent returning, but they lost quite a few crucial pieces off last year’s historic squad. Head coach Luke Fickell has done a solid job with the Bearcats in his five seasons, but has he proven he can reload a roster after losing players as valuable as Desmond Ridder was? Not really.
However, the schedule could make it easy to at least get a push. Cincinnati will probably lose to Arkansas but win their other three non-conference games. As for their conference opponents, other than SMU and UCF, it looks pretty easy.
Houston: Over 9.5 at +115 (FanDuel)
The Cougars ran the table against conference opponents last season, and since they do not face Cincinnati or Central Florida, they could do it again. They’ll probably go at least 2-2 in non-conference games with wins over Kansas and Rice (Texas Tech and UTSA could go either way).
To Win 10+ Games
Odds via FanDuel:
A relatively soft schedule does open the door for another 10+ win season. The Arkansas game will likely be a loss. But besides SMU and UCF, the conference slate is not that tough. East Carolina could potentially give them a run for their money, too.
Per our earlier recommendation, we’ll stay away from this one.
Central Florida +150
While not impossible, the Knights have a tougher road to 10 wins with games against Louisville, SMU, and Cincinnati. Memphis and East Carolina will probably not be pushovers, either.
There is a scenario where the Mustangs win 10+ games this season, but it will not be easy. They have a trio of tough games in-conference (Cincinnati, Central Florida, and Houston) and a pair of challenging ones out of the conference (Maryland, TCU). They’ll have a solid shot at beating Maryland and TCU, but need at least one against Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF.
They were a 6-6 team last season, but four losses were pretty close games. But to turn those losses into wins this season, they need to find a running game (it ranked 10th in the conference last season). The defense needs to take a big step forward as well.
It would take a lot to turn last season’s 2-10 team into a 10-win team this year. The Green Wave should be better this season, but not that much better.
AAC Odds History
The following are the winners of the AAC championship with odds (when available) dating back to the formation of the conference in 2013:
|Year||Winner||Odds Prior To Week 1|
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AAC Win Totals
The following table contains the win totals for AAC teams in 2021 and earlier years (when available):
|Cincinnati||10 (-110/-110)||7.5 (-140/+120)|
|Houston||8.5 (-105/-115)||7.5 (+100/-120)||9 (-150/+130)|
|Central Florida||9.5 (-110/-110)||9 (-130/+110)||9 (-130/+110)|
|East Carolina||5.5 (-145/+120)|
|South Florida||3.5 (+120/-145)||10 (-120/+100)|
|Navy||3.5 (-110/-110)||5.5 (+100/-120)|
Odds via SportsOddsHistory.com
Additional College Football Betting Odds
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AAC Futures Odds– FAQs
It depends on the sportsbook. DraftKings and BetMGM list Cincinnati as the favorite (+190 and +200, respectively), with Houston (+250 and +225) and Central Florida (+320 and +275) not far behind. However, FanDuel and Caesars have Houston listed as the favorite (+200), with Cincinnati (+250 and +240) and Central Florida (+250 and +260) close behind.
You can bet on the winner of the AAC in states where sports betting is legal (and you are physically located in one) and with sportsbooks licensed to operate in that state.
The Cincinnati Bearcats have won two outright conference titles (2020 and 2021) but shared the title with Memphis in 2014 (before the AAC had a conference championship game).
Take Houston to win at +250 via DraftKings, and you stand to win $250 if they do. If you wanted to bet on Temple, you’d take them at +25000 via BetMGM for a shot to win $25,000. Take Navy to win at +10000 via Caesars, and you could win a cool $10,000 if the Midshipmen win the conference.