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2019 AAC Tournament Betting Odds, Preview: Which Top Four Seed Has Futures Value?

Mar 14, 2019 7:25 AM EDT
Credit:

Kareem Elgazzar/The Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK

  • The 2019 AAC Tournament tips off on Thursday in Memphis when eight teams will battle for the chance to play in the quarterfinals.
  • Top seed Houston (+125) enters as the favorite but the three other top seeds are likely tourney-bound and legit threats this weekend.

This year will mark the sixth-annual American Athletic Conference tournament. One of the top two AAC seeds have won it in four of the past five seasons, with the lone exception being No. 5 seed UConn in 2016.

A good trivia question for your friends: Which team has won the most AAC conference tournaments?

SMU. The Mustangs are the only team to win it twice.

It’s been a very top heavy year for the AAC, which has a great shot of getting four teams into the dance. Three are locks (Houston, Cincinnati and Central Florida) and Temple might still have work to do.

Let’s take a look at the future odds by focusing on which of those four likely tourney teams should prevail. We will also examine a potential sleeper this weekend.

2019 AAC Tournament Odds, Format

  • Who: All 12 AAC teams
  • Format: Top four seeds get a bye
  • When: March 14-17
  • Where: Memphis, TN
  • How to Watch: ESPN, ESPNU, ESPN2
  • Defending Champion: Cincinnati

Who Should Win?

Houston +125

The Cougars are clearly the best team in the AAC — although their semifinal opponent could be a UCF team that won in Houston, ending their 33-game home winning streak (the longest in the nation). Or they could play a road game against host Memphis.

However, no matter where you look, Houston is elite. The Cougars’ offense and defense are not only the best in the AAC, they both rank  in the top-20 nationally in Adjusted Efficiency, per KenPom. There are no holes in this team that will shoot (and make) a high number of threes, while doing yeoman’s work on the glass.

Let’s take a quick look at the other three top seeds, which are the biggest threats to Houston and will also enjoy a bye into the quarters.

UCF (+500) has the second-best defense in the league. The Knights have an outstanding veteran backcourt in Aubrey Dawkins and B.J. Taylor to go along with 7-foot-6 inside force Tacko Fall.

Their one real area of weakness is free throw shooting. UCF shoots less than 65% from the charity stripe (332nd in the nation). The Knights know they can beat Houston but their path is difficult, starting with that potential road game against Memphis before Houston in the semis and then potentially Temple or Cincy in the final.

Cincinnati (+250) probably has the easiest path to the final. The Bearcats are absolute snails (337th in Adjusted Tempo) and elite on the offensive glass. They are also excellent in the turnover department, as they take care of the ball and force other teams into plenty of mistakes, Cincy went 2-1 vs. UCF and Temple this year but lost both meetings with Houston.

Thanks to its outstanding length, Temple (+725) has the best perimeter defense in the conference. However, it really struggles on both ends in the interior, especially on the glass.

Temple did split with both Houston and UCF during the season, but it is in the same side of the bracket as Cincy, which won the only meeting in Philly. Temple will also in all likelihood face a rapidly improving Wichita State team that will be out for blood after it blew an 11-point lead in an overtime loss earlier this season.

UCF and Temple will likely get quarterfinal opponents that could cause upsets, while Houston and Cincy should have a much easier time booking a trip into Saturday’s semifinal.

Potential Sleeper