James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell
Cincinnati 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the National Title: +999999
- To win the AAC: +5500
- To win the AAC East: N/A
- Win Total: 5 (over -140, under +110)
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Cincinnati 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 3.8
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Cincinnati Win Total Under 5 +110
Throughout the offseason, I’ve tried to figure out why my projections are not as bullish on the Bearcats as other respected journalists who make point spreads. Cincinnati got upgrades for returning production on the offensive side, downgrades for the defensive losses, and a minor positive adjustment for 2nd Order Wins, meaning it played slightly better last year than its record indicated.
But I am still much lower on the season win total projection for Luke Fickell’s second year.
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No matter how much you adjust the power rating for Cincinnati, the Bearcats are in jeopardy of losing to two MAC teams (Ohio, Miami of Ohio) in September.
The good news is the Bearcats have a schedule that’s easy on the cross division games, missing Houston and Memphis. The bad news is the trenches on both sides of the football may rank dead last in the AAC. It is hard to keep wide receivers covered when your defense is 118th in adjusted sack rate.
I will trust my projections that say Cincinnati will have a hard time winning four games on this schedule. Assuming victories over the MAC schools and Alabama A&M, Cincy would need to take three games from UConn, Tulane, Temple, SMU, Navy, South Florida, and East Carolina. It is possible, but most of those teams have much better interior units. I will ride Cincinnati Under 5 (+110) and continue to fade until Fickell has developed his recruiting classes
What else you need to know about Cincinnati
Cincy plays UCLA in Week 1, and it’s impossible to know exactly what Chip Kelly is going to do with the Bruins, much less pick from one of the many talented quarterbacks he will have competing at the break of camp. We also don’t know if Kelly will have a vanilla package for the Cincy game with Oklahoma on deck for his team.
Cincinnati struggled with uptempo offenses in 2017. The Bearcats lost by 30 to South Florida (did not cover), 28 to Central Florida (did not cover), and 28 to East Carolina (did not cover). East Carolina was 10th in the nation averaging 79.1 snaps per game. I have not made an investment, but UCLA -16.5 is the side I likely will have some sort of money down during Week 1.