2018 AAC Football Championship Futures Odds and Picks

July 5, 9:20 AM EDT

Central Florida was the toast of the AAC last season with a perfect 13-0 run right through bowl season. The futures odds at BetOnline suggest that the Knights are the team to beat again this season, but they also pinpoint Memphis as a worthy contender to the throne.

The American Athletic Conference was formed from the remnants of the old Big East and several defections from Conference USA, and it has quickly been able to establish itself as one of the most competitive Mid-Majors in college football.

AAC Championship Top Favorite

When any team wins all of its games one season and returns some key talent on both sides of the ball for the next, it stands to reason that it would be favored to win its conference again the following season. That is the case with UCF as a +140 favorite to win a second-straight AAC title. This has always been a successful program under the guidance of head coach Scott Frost, but he has left for greener pastures at Nebraska. In his place, Josh Heupel will have the task of keeping this program moving forward.

He should get some significant help this season from quarterback McKenzie Milton and some crucial other skill position players back from last year's squad. Milton threw for 4,037 yards and 37 touchdowns against just nine interceptions in that undefeated run. A deep core of running backs enabled the Knights to average 5.2 yards a carry. The one concern on defense is a transition to a 4-3 scheme so it could take some time before things gel.

Playing out of the East Division, UFC will open the season on the road against Connecticut. Its biggest test of the season in the AAC will come on Oct. 13 when the Knights go on the road to face the Memphis Tigers. They will close things out against in-state rival South Florida in what could be another tough test on the road.

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AAC Championship Top Contender

The futures odds suggest a two-team race to this year’s conference title game with the West Division Memphis Tigers listed as +175 second-favorites to win the AAC. They made it all the way to the conference title game last season after going 7-1 in AAC play. They also gave the Knights a serious run for their money in that matchup which turned into a wild 62-55 shootout. The heart-breaking loss as a 6.5-point favorite should act as motivation for revenge all season long.

Memphis will first have to find a way to replace the potent duo of quarterback Riley Ferguson and wide receiver Anthony Miller. The leading candidates at the quarterback position are David Moore and Brady White. Damonte Coxie could emerge as the top target for either of these signal callers. Memphis will also have to beef up a defense that was ranked 121st in the nation in total yards allowed while also allowing 33.4 points per game.

The betting odds to win the AAC really fall off from there with South Florida and Houston next on the list at +1000. Navy and Temple could also be considered contenders at +1200 betting odds.

AAC Championship Top Longshot

If you are looking to really stretch the odds with a bet on the ‘best of the rest,' then Tulane would be my pick at +2500. The Green Wave went 3-5 in conference play last season as part of an overall record of 5-7. They finished last season on an encouraging note with a stunning 20-17 upset over Houston as 9.5-point home underdogs before covering against SMU on the road in a 41-28 loss as 7.5-point underdogs.

Head coach Willie Fritz has Tulane moving in the right direction. His team’s fortunes this season could rest on the arm of quarterback Jonathan Banks, who is poised to be one of the rising stars in the AAC this season.