|Temple Odds||+25.5 [BET NOW]|
|UCF Odds||-25.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+950 / -2000 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||76.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday evening and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today.|
Central Florida likes to go fast. I’m talking historically fast. What’s even more remarkable is the efficiency in which the Knights run their plays.
On the other side of the ball, the UCF defense is not what one would call equally bad, but it’s not that good.
On Saturday, UCF hosts a Temple team that plays with tempo and gives up points in bunches. This game has to go over the total, right? Maybe it depends on which total we’re talking about.
How is this Temple defense going to keep Central Florida off the scoreboard? The Owls have problems stopping the run (209.6 yards per game allowed on the ground) and don’t do a great job against the pass (9.0 yards per opponent’s pass attempt is near the bottom of FBS), either.
Additionally, it’s going to be a perfect November day for football in Orlando; the temperature is forecasted to be in the mid-70s with a seven mph wind. Suffice to say, those weather elements aren’t going to do the defenses any favors.
This long season for Temple, which has amassed a 1-4 record while giving up 38.8 points per game, has the possibility of getting much longer here. Unfortunately for Temple, the Owls’ banged-up defense will be facing its toughest test.
I suppose Temple will try to match UCF point for point in this game. However, its uptempo style (20th in FBS, with 77.6 plays per game) may only play into the hands of one of the fastest, most dynamic offenses in recent history.
Whether once-promising Anthony Russo is back from injury or dual-threat sophomore quarterback Re-al Mitchell gets the start, the Owls should move the football against a porous UCF squad. However, it’s Temple’s below-average yards per attempt numbers that are giving me pause when staring at this total.
After all, this is an offense ESPN only ranks 96th in the nation, according to its SP+ number.
The Knights are averaging 92.8 plays and 652.5 yards per game. Unsurprisingly, this is translating to a lot of points (45 per game), and a great deal of this production comes from Dillon Gabriel.
The UCF quarterback has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s thrown for 21 touchdowns in just six games, with only two interceptions. His interception-to-attempt ratio (0.14) is on pace to be the lowest in school history.
The only quarterbacks who have thrown for more yards than Gabriel’s 2,506 are SMU’s Shane Buechele (2,581) and BYU’s Zach Wilson (2,511). Of course, Buechele and Wilson have also played two more games than Dillon.
One would think there wouldn’t be enough footballs to go around, but the Knights also boast two running backs in the top 40 in rushing yards.
When Greg McCrae (496 rushing yards) was banged up early, shifty senior Otis Anderson (480 rushing yards) more than picked up the slack. Now that McCrae is fully healthy, he has also been gashing opposing defenses. Look for this one-two punch to each surpass the 100-yard plateau against Temple.
Why, then, has this team lost two football games? Simply put, the defense is not holding up its end of the bargain.
The Knights rank 64th in opponent yards per rush attempt and 87th in opponent yards per pass attempt, yielding 8.1 yards per pass. To make matters worse, the defense will be without four players who were counted on at the beginning of the season.
Starting safety Antwan Collier, linebacker Eric Mitchell, and defensive linemen Kenny Turnier and Randy Charlton were dismissed from the team. This stemmed from an off-the-field incident prior to the Houston game.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Since 2017, UCF has played 11 regular-season games with totals in the 70s. All those games featured totals closing at a bigger number than the opening line. In fact, the totals rose an average of 3.3 points per game.
Backing the total going over the number is the only way to look in this game. However, I would be doing a disservice to suggest going over a very high total that has risen four points at the time of writing (it opened at 72.5). What’s worse is that it will probably rise more before kickoff.
Instead, we’re going to attempt to find a better number sometime in the first quarter that’s more reasonable and bettor-friendly.
UCF has Cincinnati on deck. In this obvious lookahead spot, would anyone be surprised if its offense starts the game with sloppy play? If this occurs, the in-game line is going down. Similarly, what if Temple starts with the ball, gets a few first downs and then has to punt? The in-game total will go down.
We’re thinking over on the total, but 76.5 has become too rich. Let’s use our heads and try to get a better number. If it doesn’t work out, then there will be other opportunities in the future.
This is a time when having more than one out becomes beneficial. Monitor competing sportsbooks like FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM for better numbers. Sportsbook liability seemingly causes its in-game numbers to vary, sometimes by multiple points. I want you to get the best of it.
Sports betting is a game of thin margins. The better your number, the better your chance of being successful.
Pick: Temple-UCF Over live wager if available (play up to 73)