The 2020 American Athletic Conference (AAC) Tournament kicks off Thursday at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Tex. There are a few teams from the AAC which should be shoe-ins for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid, should they come up short for a championship bid. A few others are on the bubble, and need impressive showings, and help in other tourneys, to catch the eye of the selection committee. Below, we look at the futures odds to win the AAC tournament.
Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated Wednsday, March 11 at 11 a.m. ET.
2020 AAC odds: Houston Cougars (+200)
Regular-season record: (23-8, 13-5 AAC)
The Cougars will have a lot less pressure than some of the teams below them, as they’re a lock for a bid to the dance. They’re simply playing for seeding at this point and could use a couple of wins to bump them up. They could be on the 8-line right now, which would give them a coin-flip game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
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Houston scratched out a win and non-cover against a solid Memphis side over the weekend in the regular-season finale. The Cougars have the defense to make at least an Elite Eight run if they’re on top of their game. They ranked 12th in the nation in points allowed (62.1 points per game), and they ranked seventh in defensive field-goal percentage (38.3). While Houston isn’t the best scoring team, posting just 72.3 PPG on offense, checking in a middling 135th, it creates plenty of second chances, ranking second in the country in offensive rebounding.
The FAVORITE IS WORTH A BET AT +200, as the Cougars are the class of the AAC.
2020 AAC odds: Cincinnati Bearcats (+350)
Regular-season record: (20-10, 13-5 AAC)
The Bearcats stumbled down the stretch, going just 5-3 straight up and 1-7 against the spread across their final eight games. File that away if you bet their games individually going forward. As far as winning the AAC Tournament, the Bearcats are a talented team, especially defensively. While not as tenacious as Houston, Cincy did rank 31st in the country in defensive FG% (39.8). G Jarron Cumberland (15.5 points, 4.9 assists) is a talented scorer, and 7-foot-1 C Chris Vogt had 1.6 blocked shots per outing with F Tre Scott cleaning the glass to the tune of 10.5 rebounds per game with 1.5 steals per outing. CINCINNATI IS WORTH A SMALL-UNIT BET AT +350, but don’t get ridiculous.
2020 AAC odds: Wichita State Shockers (+400)
Regular-season record: (23-8, 11-7 AAC)
The Shockers certainly made plenty of waves, rising from mid-major power in the Missouri Valley Conference to an invitation to the AAC. After a brief adjustment period, the Shockers are doing what we’ve come to expect from them – win a lot of games. While they lost two road games to Cincinnati and Memphis down the stretch, a 22-point win in the final over a good Tulsa team snapped them back on track. WICHITA STATE IS A GOOD VALUE BET AT +400.
2020 AAC odds: Tulsa Golden Hurricane (+600)
Regular-season record: (21-10, 13-5 AAC)
The Golden Hurricane were humbled by 22 points at Wichita in the finale. Tulsa beat the teams they were supposed to beat, and were hammered by the good teams. A 33-point loss in Houston Feb. 19 was also alarming. They’ll be a good NIT team, and a loss Friday in their first game, potentially against Memphis, wouldn’t be surprising. AVOID.
2020 AAC odds: Memphis Tigers (+600)
Regular-season record: (21-10, 10-8 AAC)
The Tigers had a chance to get off the bubble with a win in Houston in the finale. While they covered, they faltered, and covers do not impress the committee. Memphis likely needs at least two wins, perhaps three, to feel comfortable on selection Saturday. If the Tigers still had James Weisman in the middle, their chances of winning here would be better. They’re a good defensive team, but offensively they’re rather bland. A SMALL-UNIT PLAY TO WIN THE AAC AT +600 is OK, as their defense is good enough, but they’re a better bet in individual games against the spread and on Under plays.
2020 AAC odds: UConn Huskies (+1500)
Regular-season record: (19-12, 10-8 AAC)
UConn is on the bubble, and likely needs at least a run to the final to have a chance at an NCAA bid. The Huskies are matched up with Tulane in the 5-12 matchup, a team they scraped by 80-76 in the regular-season finale. They won both meetings with Tulane, but went 0-2 ATS. The good news is UConn enters this tournament on a five-game winning streak. Still, the Huskies are a mediocre team, and their odds are rather inflated based upon that. Not a good value, so AVOID.
2020 AAC odds: SMU Mustangs (+2500)
Regular-season record: (19-11, 9-9 AAC)
The Mustangs looked like a certain NCAA team, but they ended the regular season on a 1-5 SU/ATS slide, including shocking road losses to Tulane, UCF and South Florida. There’s a reason UConn is a 19-win team and just +600, and SMU has a better record but are long shots. What have you done for me lately? AVOID.
2020 AAC odds: Temple Owls (+5000)
Regular-season record: (14-17, 6-12 AAC)
The Owls could spring a mild upset over a skidding SMU in the first round, but that’s as far as they go. They enter on their own five-game slide. It seems like regular-season wins over USC, Texas A&M and Wichita State were in another century. AVOID.
2020 AAC odds: UCF Knights (+5000)
Regular-season record: (16-14, 7-11 AAC)
The Knights won their final two regular-season games, and they won at Cincinnati Feb. 19. They split with first-round opponent South Florida, so they could win one game, but they’re not going far. AVOID.
2020 AAC odds: South Florida Bulls (+8000)
Regular-season record: (14-17, 7-11 AAC)
The Bulls won’t be on parade. They did top SMU in the regular-season finale and won in Memphis Feb. 8, but their opening game vs. UCF is a toss-up. If they win that one, they go no further. AVOID.
2020 AAC odds: East Carolina Pirates (+10000)
Regular-season record: (11-20, 5-13 AAC)
The Pirates lost their final three games of the regular season, and are the only 20-loss team in the AAC. They beat SMU Jan. 11 but also lost by 20 to the Mustangs. That’s a microcosm of their season, and how inconsistent, and awful, they can be. AVOID.
2020 AAC odds: Tulane Green Wave (+10000)
Regular-season record: (12-18, 4-14 AAC)
The Green Wave opened 7-1 SU/6-2 ATS, and looked like they were in line for a big season, including a win in Utah. They also beat Cincinnati and SMU at home, but this game isn’t in New Orleans, and they dropped five of their last six away from their home floor. The Green Wave will crash early in this tourney. AVOID.
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