2023 AAC Win Totals & Futures | Action Analytics Betting Preview
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: E.J. Warner (Temple)
With Week 0 on deck, we're turning to the AAC. Not to be confused with the ACC, the American has been one of the most fun conferences to follow in the last decade. The Sun Belt has risen in prominence the last few years, but to me, the AAC has always been the premier G5 conference.
There's no way of sugar coating the downside: the conference was hamstrung when Cincinnati, UCF and Houston left for the Big 12 on July 1. Losing three of the G5 teams that could arguably make a run at the CFP (especially once we switch to a 12-team playoff) just hurts a conference. There's no two ways about it.
Despite the AAC coming off of one of the most exciting bowl wins in conference history (Tulane coming back against USC) and a 4-3 bowl record, there's a cloud hanging over this season.
However, the American tried to stop the bleeding by adding Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA. While these programs aren't going to increase the average quality of the American, you want to be the league adding teams in the days of realignment.
Will these additions and subtractions create any value? Read on to find out.
The Midshipmen start off the season with a tough trip to Ireland to take on the Fighting Irish on their (ancestral) home turf.
However, after that, the schedule opens up for Navy.
The only games we have the Midshipmen as underdogs in is at Memphis and at SMU, and those are essentially coin flips.
To be fair, one of the games they're a favorite in (Temple) is essentially a pick'em, as well.
That being said, that still leaves eight games where Navy is favored by more than a field goal.
At this point, if you've been reading these preview articles at all, you know what comes next.
That's right, it's time to talk about the returning production and strength of schedule. Navy is returning a ton of production on both sides of the ball and has the second-easiest schedule in the conference.
This is the beginnings of a great over.
But what else about this team indicates that it can win seven or more games? How about the fact that the Midshipmen run offense and defense will keep them in most games. Keep the ball on the ground and attack the opponents' line and good things tend to happen.
You can grab the over 5 at DraftKings, but at -150 odds, I don't think the juice is worth the squeeze. We have the Owls projected at 7.3 wins, so I feel comfortable picking up the 5.5 versus just the 5.
Temple is a very similar story to Navy. We already have the Owls favored in eight games, but three of those are by a field goal or less.
On the other hand, two of the games they're underdogs in are by less than three points, as well.
Now that we've looked at the schedule, you know where I'm going. That's right, returning production and strength of schedule.
And wouldn't you know it, the Owls have very strong returning production and a weak schedule.
Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf must build on the success E.J. Warner showed in the last game of the season against ECU, setting passing yard and touchdown records.
The good news is that, as a sophomore, one would like to assume Warner will make a leap from serviceable freshman to star sophomore.
Look for the Owls to drastically improve in the red zone this season, as Langsdorf recaptures the red zone magic he had with Colorado in 2021 (third nationally in red zone offense).