NCAA Football Free Pick – UCF Knights at Tulsa Golden Hurricane

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The UCF Knights (-17) are heading north to take on their conference rival Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Fans can catch the action live on ESPN2 and kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.

Betting Preview: UCF Knights vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane

In this Friday American Athletic Conference game, UCF is projected as the heavy favorite and is currently giving up 17 points. If they want to take the moneyline, gamblers would currently need to lay down $1,400 in order to net $100 back on the Knights (-1400). The Golden Hurricane are getting +780 moneyline odds. Vegas has set the over/under (O/U) at a sky-high 70.5 points, and it appears that there should be some good live betting opportunities for this game.

Early action has slanted toward the Knights, as the line opened at 16. The game’s O/U has not moved after being initially set at 70.5.

The Knights are down 2.8 units so far and 4-5 against the spread (ATS). The team has posted an O/U record of 5-4.

The Golden Hurricane are down 4.2 units this season. The team is 5-4 ATS and has an O/U record of 4-5.

The Knights have gone 7-2 straight up (SU), including 4-1 SU against conference opponents. The Golden Hurricane are 2-7 SU overall and 0-5 SU in conference play.

UCF enters this matchup on a zero-game winless streak while Tulsa has won zero in a row. The Knights want to keep things rolling following a 44-29 victory over Houston last week. Dillon Gabriel completed 21-of-30 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. Adrian Killins Jr. (just 26 yards on nine rush attempts) and Bentavious Thompson (65 yards on seven carries, two TDs) mounted the ground attack in the win while Marlon Williams (six receptions, 31 yards, one TD) and Tre Nixon (six catches, 123 yards, two TDs) shared the receiving duties.

One game ago, Tulane took care of this Tulsa team by a score of 38-26. The Golden Hurricane defensive unit allowed the Green Wave to eat up the clock by running for 290 yards on 46 rush attempts, including three rush TDs. Stephon Huderson put up a solid outing in the win, recording 100 rushing yards on seven attempts for Tulane. For Tulsa, Zach Smith completed 17-of-33 passes for 270 yards and one touchdown. Shamari Brooks (65 yards on 17 rush attempts) and Corey Taylor II (49 yards on 11 carries, one TD) handled the ground game in the defeat as Josh Johnson (five receptions, 57 yards) and Keenen Johnson (four catches, 60 yards) led the pass-catching corps.

UCF has run the ball on 55.9 percent of its offensive possessions this year while Tulsa has a rush percentage of 52.4 percent. The Knights have produced 226.1 rush yards/game (including 220.4 per game versus American Athletic Conference opponents) and have 25 scores via handoffs this year. The Golden Hurricane are averaging 131.6 rushing yards per game (152 in conference) and have 13 total rush TDs.

It seems like the Knights ought to hold an edge in terms of effectiveness in the ground game. Their running backs has logged 5.3 yards per carry while their defense is allowing 3.5 YPC to opponents. The Golden Hurricane have tallied 3.1 yards per carry and given up 4.9 yards per rush attempt to opponents.

The Knights offense has logged 324.9 yards per contest through the air overall (324.2 per game against conference opposition) and has 29 passing TDs so far. The Golden Hurricane have recorded 272.2 pass yards per contest (284 against AAC competition) and have 12 total pass scores.

On the defensive side of the ball, UCF has allowed 138.3 rush yards and 209.8 pass yards per game. The Tulsa defense has allowed 202 yards per game to opposing passers and 205.3 yards per game to opposing runners. The Knights are allowing an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of only 4.30 to opponents, while the Golden Hurricane have given up a 7.4 ANY/A.

Passing-wise, Gabriel is up to 2,298 yards on the year. He’s connected on 142-of-231 attempts with 20 passing scores and only five interceptions. He has a pristine 9.82 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number sits at 12.15 over the last two games.

We’re looking for Knights to control tempo by pounding the defense with their running backs. Along with Tre Nixon (592 yards, six TDs), Otis Anderson (338 rush yards, two rush TDs, 162 receiving yards, one receiving TD) and Bentavious Thompson (380 rush yards, five rush TDs) have been focal points in the offensive game scripts for UCF.

Zach Smith has completed 163-of-301 passes for 2,131 yards, 11 TDs and six INTs for Tulsa. His ANY/A stands at 5.70 for the year and 7.25 over his last two outings.

The Golden Hurricane also prefer to keep their backfield featured. In addition to Keylon Stokes (644 receiving yards, five receiving TDs), Shamari Brooks (597 rush yards, four rush TDs) and Corey Taylor II (265 rush yards, two rush TDs) have seen a multitude of action recently.

These two AAC foes did not get a chance to play one another last year.

UCF Knights at Tulsa Golden Hurricane Free Pick

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

Team Betting Notes

  • The O/U for UCF’s last game was 73.5. The under cashed in the team’s 44-29 victory over Houston.
  • UCF has averaged 6.1 yards per rush attempt over its past three games and 7.3 over its last two.
  • Tulsa has averaged 3.8 yards per carry over its last three outings and 4.1 over its past two.
  • The Tulsa offense has lost seven fumbles this season while UCF has lost six.
  • Over its last three matches, UCF is 1-2 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
  • The Over/Under for Tulsa’s last matchup was set at 59.5. The over cashed in the team’s 38-26 defeat to Tulane.
  • Over its last three matchups, Tulsa is 2-1 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
  • Tulsa has lost seven of its last eight games SU, with a three-point victory over Wyoming on September 21st representing the only win over that stretch.
  • The Knights offense has tallied 15 pass plays of 40 or more yards, while the Golden Hurricane have put up eight such plays.
  • The UCF defense has allowed two pass plays of 40 or more yards, while Tulsa has given up seven such plays.
  • The UCF offense has created 25 rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while Tulsa has created eight such runs.
  • The Knights defense has allowed 12 rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while the Golden Hurricane have given up 20 such runs.
  • The UCF D has 24 sacks on the year while Tulsa has just seven.