The University of Houston reclaimed the No. 1 ranking in college basketball this season for the first time since 1983, when the Cougars earned that distinction during the famous Phi Slama Jama era. Their ranking has been disputed this year, due to being a part of the American Athletic Conference (AAC), but the Cougars are the betting favorites to win the NCAA Tournament, per 2023 March Madness odds. Of course, they see the shortest price in AAC Tournament odds as well.
With the spotlight being on the Cougars to go far in the tournament, an upset and potential wake-up call could be brewing. Despite the AAC’s less-than-stellar profile, multiple teams have shown they can compete on the big stage, which takes away any fear of the Cougars.
Below is a look into what’s on the horizon in the upcoming AAC Tournament, which tips off Thursday at Dickies Arena in Forth Worth.
Odds to Win 2023 AAC Tournament
Here are SEC tournament title odds from DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, and Caesars for all teams. We always recommend shopping around several sports betting apps for the best odds for your bets and also to take advantage of multiple sportsbook bonuses.
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AAC Betting Lines
The first round of the American Athletic Tournament is set for Thursday. The quarterfinals are Friday, followed by the semifinals and championship rounds on Saturday and Sunday.
Here are point spreads from top sportsbooks:
Betting Favorites To Win AAC Tournament
Houston is such a large favorite the BetMGM offers the Cougars vs. the Field, and if you want to bet them at other books, you’re laying more than 3-to-1 odds:
Houston (-310, FanDuel)
The Coogs are the betting favorites to win the 2023 NCAA Tournament, so the expectation is without a doubt for them to win the AAC Tournament. However, they have struggled significantly with their conference foes this year. One of their two losses this season came against Temple, and they just escaped an upset on the road against Memphis, thanks to a buzzer-beater less than a week ago.
That’s not enough to not believe the Coogs will not win the conference, but it is enough to be concerned.
Also read: Conference Tournament Betting Trends
Memphis (+460, FanDuel)
The Tigers have two of the most quality losses of any team in college hoops this year, which showed they can compete with tier one programs. They came within three points of defeating Alabama on the road, and Houston needed a buzzer-beater to escape the upset in Memphis. They also pulled off the upset against Texas A&M on the road earlier this season.
Senior guard Kendrick Davis is tied for the 10th best in scoring in the nation at 21.5 and gives Memphis a chance in every matchup. Scoring isn’t a problem for him, but efficiency is. He is shooting just 41% from the field and hasn’t topped 40% in his last three games. If he can maintain his scoring average and be a little more efficient from the field, Houston may be in for another nail-biter.
AAC Tournament Longshots
Here are a couple of longer shots bettors may consider:
Cincinnati (+1300, FanDuel)
The Bearcats are another team that nearly pulled off the upset against the Cougars this year. However, Houston’s defense proved to be too much in both outings. Since the last contest between the two, when Houston limited the Bearcats to 69 points, they have gone 7-2 and had some of their best offensive performances of the season.
If Cincinnati’s scoring output continues, Houston wouldn’t have much room for error on the defensive side. Any mental lapses can be the differentiator in a potential rematch between these two.
Tulane (+3100 FanDuel)
As great as Houston’s season has been, its offense is still a question mark, which makes the Cougars heavily dependent on above-average or great defensive performances every night. High-scoring offenses always have a chance, which is where this AAC dark horse fits in.
With the third seed in the tournament, Tulane is sitting in a great position to make a sneaky run at the championship round. Based on the bracket, Tulane would meet Memphis before it meets Houston. If they can get to the quarterfinals, the Green Wave have proven they can compete with Memphis, having swept the season series against them this year.
If they make it to the championship round, they will definitely be hoping someone pulled off the upset against Houston, as they haven’t fared well against them this season. If Cincinnati does pull off the upset, Tulane would have a much better chance and much more confidence, having scored more than 100 points and winning the last matchup between the two.
More Conference Hoops Tourneys: ACC Tournament odds | Big Ten Tournament odds | SEC Tournament odds | Big 12 Tournament odds | Pac-12 Tournament odds
AAC Tournament Prediction
It’s hard to pick against the Coogs losing the tournament, but it wouldn’t be too surprising if they do. Against quality teams, they are usually in low-scoring, defensive battles. Their biggest challenger will be the Memphis Tigers, who are one of the most dynamic scoring teams in college hoops. The Coogs have won tight games all year, but they don’t have the offensive firepower to take what they have accomplished for granted.
With that said, Houston over Memphis in the championship round in another thriller.
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