VSiN’s 2021 College Football Betting Guide is now available for order. Get access to over 300 pages of information, including over/under picks for all 130 FBS teams and our experts’ favorite season win total bets right here.
Here is the 2021 CFB betting guide preview for the American Athletic Conference.
Cincinnati represented the Group of 5 in the New Year’s Six last season, but the Bearcats ended their year in disappointment. They led No. 9 Georgia 21-10 going into the fourth quarter, but couldn’t make the lead stand up as Georgia kicked a 53-yard field goal with three seconds left to win the Peach Bowl 24-21. That spoiled Cincinnati’s unbeaten season, but the Bearcats earned their first outright conference championship since 2009, when they went 12-1 under Brian Kelly, won the Big East and made their previous appearance in a BCS/New Year’s Six bowl game at the Sugar Bowl.
This year, Cincinnati returns QB Desmond Ridder, who posted career bests in completion percentage (66.2), passing yards per game (229.2), passing yards per attempt (8.2), rushing yards per game (59.2) and total touchdowns (31). He should be able to improve those numbers with four of his top five receivers returning. On defense, Cincinnati returns over two-thirds of its tackle, sack and forced-turnover production. New defensive coordinator Mike Tressel spent nearly a decade and a half with Mark Dantonio at Michigan State and takes over a defense that was ranked No. 2 nationally by Football Outsiders. Cincinnati is the clear favorite to win another AAC title, but if the Bearcats want to return to the New Year’s Six or even be a live dark horse for the College Football Playoff, they must prove themselves in major road tests Sept. 18 at Indiana and Oct. 2 at Notre Dame.
LIVE DOGS: UCF and HOUSTON
Gus Malzahn was not exactly seeking a new coaching gig with a $20 million buyout coming after being fired at Auburn. But when Josh Heupel took off for Tennessee, new UCF athletic director Terry Mohajir called his old friend with whom he had worked at Arkansas State. Malzahn saw UCF’s potential firsthand when the Knights defeated his Auburn team in the 2017 Peach Bowl to cap an undefeated season. UCF has gone 2-1 in New Year’s Six games, so this program has proved it can compete with and even defeat Power 5 teams.