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Best AAC futures bets ahead of the 2021 college football season

Apr 10, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; UCF Knights running back Damarius Good (22) is congratulated for a touchdown by UCF Knights offensive lineman Mike Lofton (57) and tight end Zach Marsh-Wojan (85) during the first quarter of the UCF Knights spring Game. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Since the American Athletic Conference was founded in 2015, no team has repeated as conference champions. Going into 2021, however, Cincinnati is heavily favored to be the first AAC member to go back-to-back.

The Bearcats defeated Tulsa in last year’s conference championship game to cap off a perfect regular season and return almost everyone from last year’s team that rolled through the conference, including quarterback Desmond Ridder and several future NFL players on defense. Returning cornerbacks Ahmad Gardner and Coby White both graded as top-10 cornerbacks in the Group of Five last season, and edge rusher Myjai Sanders is one of our top-five returning edge rushers going into the year.

With Cincinnati’s 2020 success combined with returning production, you’re not getting any discounts on the Bearcats in the futures markets this season. Will the Bearcats cruise through the AAC yet again in 2021, or will we see a team rise up and keep pace with the defending champions?

Best AAC Futures Bets

Based on PFF Simulations
Team Win Total PFF Implied Conf. Odds PFF
Cincinnati 10.0 8.4 0.70 0.29
UCF 9.5 8.0 0.18 0.23
Tulsa 6.5 6.1 0.1 0.04
Memphis 8.0 7.8 0.09 0.16
Houston 8.0 7.0 0.08 0.10
Tulane 5.0 5.8 0.08 0.04
SMU 6.5 7.0 0.04 0.08
East Carolina 4.5 5.7 0.02 0.03
Navy 3.5 3.7 0.01 0.00
South Florida 3.0 3.3 0.01 0.00
Temple 2.5 4.8 0.01 0.01

Related: 2021 College Football Betting Guide: Best Bets by Conference via Ben Brown

Conference Title Odds

Best bets: Memphis +1,000

Although Cincinnati is expected to win the conference yet again, some teams show value to win the conference compared to our simulations. We give Memphis a 16% chance to win the AAC in 2021, compared to its price of +1,000, which implies a 9% probability. And with a 7% edge, Memphis is our biggest edge in the conference championship market.

In 2020, the Tigers fielded the third-highest-graded offense in the conference in coach Ryan Silverfield’s first year in charge. And while the program did lose quarterback Brady White after several years under center, there are candidates on the roster to replace him.

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