UCF Knights at Temple Owls Expert Betting Picks with Odds and Predictions
UCF Knights at Temple Owls, Saturday Nov. 18, Noon ET
There are just four college football teams that remain undefeated now that Georgia has lost. Alabama should be a surprise to no one. Miami and Wisconsin both face challenges from feisty-but-beatable opponents this week. And then there is Central Florida. Scott Frost is proving just how good he is as a coach this year - especially when you consider that the team has had two games cancelled due to hurricane issues and had to throw in a quick makeup game. To have a realistic look at a major bowl game in the face of those kinds of distractions is remarkable. But they have to get past a Temple team that is feisty and improving coming off two very solid wins over Navy and Cincinnati. They will be eager to get the win that will secure them bowl eligibility.
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UCF at Temple Betting Storylines
The first thing the Knights need to be sure of is that they aren't looking past Temple. Their final game is against rival, and talented squad, South Florida. They are understandably excited about that game and likely imaging what winning it to go 11-0 will feel like. The team has had plenty of easy games this season - games they could win at less than full focus - but this is not one of them. Temple is probably their second-toughest game of the season - no worse than third depending on your view of Maryland - so they absolutely need to be present for this one. So, as game time nears, if you have any indications that UCF isn't fully engaged it would become tougher to back them.
I love strength-against-strength matchups that will decide games, and that is what we have here. UCF ranks first nationally in points scored, with 48.6 per game, and fifth in total yards. They are offensively explosive led by sophomore QB McKenzie Milton and a well balanced supporting cast. Milton operates behind an offensive line that has allowed just one sack per game - eighth best in the whole country. Temple doesn't have an elite defense overall, but what they are very good at is getting to the QB - they average almost three sacks per game, which is second best in the conference. If Temple can make Milton uncomfortable then they have a chance to disrupt this offense - and that is their only real chance in this one.
Another thing that Temple will absolutely have to do is keep the ball out of the hands of the Knights. Obviously, they can't score if they don't have the ball. Temple is a decent ball control team - their time of possession is top-third of the AAC and top half nationally. The more they can slow down this game, the fewer chances UCF has to score, and the more of a chance Temple has. Combine that with getting to Milton early and often and you have at least a road map to success for the Owls. The question, then, is whether you believe that they can effectively read and follow that map on home field in this one.
UCF at Temple Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with UCF favored on the road by two touchdowns. It dipped slightly to 13.5 but has climbed back to 14 as I write this. Sixty percent of bets have been on UCF, so we are unlikely to see significant line movement without news. The total opened at 58 and has since fallen to as low as 55.
UCF is 0-4 ATS in their last four November games and 0-3-1 ATS in their last four overall. They have failed to cover in their last four games following an ATS loss. The Owls are 7-0 ATS in the last seven November games and 22-6 ATS in their last 28 conference games.
UCF at Temple Predictions and Picks
I've spent this whole article trying to convince myself that Temple can keep it close. That they are strong enough to at least cover and perhaps pull off a shocker. It hasn't worked. Temple is mediocre defensively aside from the pass rush and worse offensively. The offense will get some opportunities against a pretty average UCF defense, but they just don't have enough tools to keep this one close. Milton and company are going to be able to score, and as long as the weather isn't too vile - the forecast at this point is for reasonably mild weather for Philadelphia in November - they are going to be able to run away with this one. UCF is the comfortable pick against the spread here.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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