UCF Knights at South Florida Bulls: Free Pick

Daniel GimenezCollege Football, Football

The No. 8 UCF Knights (-15) aren’t traveling far to battle the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. This important conference game starts at 4:15 p.m. ET and fans can catch the action by tuning in to ESPN. When these two programs faced each other a year ago, UCF knocked South Florida off by a touchdown 49-42.

Betting Preview: South Florida Bulls vs. UCF Knights

South Florida is a big home underdog in this AAC game and is currently getting 15 points. The Knights are also receiving -840 moneyline odds while the Bulls are +550. Oddsmakers have set the over/under (O/U) at 68.5 points, and if one side gets out in front early, it would probably produce a solid betting opportunity in-game.

Sharp bettors are apparently siding with the Knights. The opening line was initially set at 13.5 and the game’s over/under was originally 68.

The profitable Knights have gained 5.0 units so far in 2018 and are 7-3 against the spread (ATS). They’ve been a good under bet and have posted an O/U record of 3-7.

The Bulls are up 0.1 units this season. The team is 4-7 ATS and has an even O/U record of 5-5.

The Knights are 10-0 straight up (SU), including 7-0 SU against AAC opponents. The Bulls are 7-4 SU overall and 3-4 SU in conference play.

The Knights are looking to stay unbeaten after a 38-13 win over Cincinnati last week. McKenzie Milton completed only 13-of-25 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Adrian Killins Jr. (four receptions, 82 yards, two TDs) and Dredrick Snelson (three catches, 56 yards) shared the receiving duties in the win.

South Florida just fell 27-17 to Temple. The defensive secondary let the Owls air it out for 264 yards. Ryquell Armstead had a productive showing, recording 64 rushing yards and a score on 26 attempts for Temple. For South Florida, Blake Barnett completed 14-of-23 passes for 82 yards and two interceptions. Jordan Cronkrite (83 rushing yards on 17 attempts, two TDs) and Johnny Ford (58 yards on 14 carries) spearheaded the running game while Ryeshene Bronson (four receptions, 25 yards) and Tyre McCants (three catches, 32 yards) led the receiving attack in the loss.

UCF has run the ball on 59.0 percent of its offensive possessions this year while South Florida has an overall rush percentage of 53.8 percent. The Knights have produced 257.7 rush yards/game (including 254.6 per game against American Athletic Conference opponents) and have 31 scores on the ground this year. The Bulls are averaging 202.6 rush yards per game (183.1 in conference) and have 26 total rushing TDs.

It appears that the Knights should own the advantage in terms of RB effectiveness. Their running backs has logged 5.8 yards per carry while their defense is allowing a YPC of 4.5 to opponents. The Bulls have tallied 5.1 yards per carry and given up a YPC of 4.8 to opponents.

The Knights offensive scheme has averaged 271.2 yards through the air overall (261.1 per game against conference opposition) and has 25 passing TDs so far. The Bulls have put up 253.8 pass yards per contest (228 against AAC competition) and have 14 total pass scores.

Defensively, UCF has allowed 213.2 rush yards and 205.9 pass yards per game. The South Florida D has allowed 200.0 yards per game to opposing passers and 231.4 yards per game on the ground. The Knights are giving up an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of only 4.85 to opponents, while the Bulls have allowed a 5.47 ANY/A.

Offensively, Milton is up to 2,377 passing yards this year, and has completed 58 percent of his 258 attempts with 22 scores through the air and only five interceptions. Milton’s got a sparkling 9.48 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number sits at 11.12 over the last two outings.

We’re looking for Knights to control the pace by pounding the defense with their running backs. Dredrick Snelson (412 yards, three TDs) has gotten looks recently, but backfield mates Adrian Killins Jr. (490 rush yards, four rush TDs, 364 receiving yards, four receiving TDs) and Greg McCrae (613 rush yards, four rush TDs, 74 receiving yards, one receiving TD) have been focal points in the offensive game scripts for UCF.

For the home team, Chris Oladokun has completed 12-of-27 passes for 190 yards, two TDs and zero INTs. Oladokun’s ANY/A sits at 6.25 for the season and 6.96 over his past two games.

The Bulls will also try to control the game’s pace by turning to their backfield. Ryeshene Bronson (177 receiving yards) has gotten involved lately, but Johnny Ford (554 rush yards, eight rush TDs) and Jordan Cronkrite (1,029 rush yards, nine rush TDs) have gotten a multitude of touches recently.

UCF Knights at South Florida Bulls Free Pick

SU Winner: Knights, ATS Winner: Knights, O/U: Over

Betting Trends

  • The Knights offense has produced eight pass plays of 40 or more yards, while the Bulls have accounted for 11 such plays.
  • The UCF defense has allowed three pass plays of 40 yards or more, while South Florida has given up six such plays.
  • The UCF offense has created 24 rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while South Florida has created 19 such runs.
  • The Knights defense has allowed 14 rushing plays of 20 yards or more, while the Bulls have given up 27 such runs.
  • The South Florida defensive unit has recorded 28 sacks on the year while UCF has just 21.
  • UCF has averaged 5.7 yards per rush attempt across its last three contests and 4.9 over its last two.
  • South Florida has averaged 3.3 yards per carry over its last three games and 3.4 over its last two.
  • Over its last three matchups, South Florida is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
  • The Over/Under for UCF’s previous game was set at 60. The under cashed in the team’s 38-13 win over Cincinnati.
  • In its last three contests, UCF is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
  • The O/U for South Florida’s previous match was 62.5. The under cashed in the 27-17 defeat to Temple.