- UCF is ranked No. 18 in the nation after five weeks of play.
- Cincinnati could really use a home win against a ranked, conference opponent.
- Central Florida quarterback, Dillon Gabriel, is having a fantastic season as a true freshman.
CINCINNATI, Ohio – Tonight in college football two teams from the AAC will battle it out at Nippert Stadium at 8 p.m. EST. For the UCF Knights, they have been without their starter, McKenzie Milton, since the end of 2018. It hasn’t made much of a difference, though, as the Knights have played their way into a 4-1 record in 2019. The Cincinnati Bearcats, playing at home tonight, are looking to build on a two-week win streak.
Central Florida is nothing short of a college football miracle this season. Just a few years removed from their 2017 undefeated season and after losing their respected coach, Scott Frost, the Knights are right back in the thick of things in college football. Freshman Dillon Gabriel has come in and immediately filled Milton’s shoes. The Central Florida offense has been nearly unstoppable due in part to Gabriel’s 1,338 passing yards and 14 touchdowns to just two interceptions.
While Gabriel has been able to keep the offense in sync, senior linebacker Nate Evans (who leads the team with 29 total tackles) leads the Knights' stacked defensive unit. Between both the offense and defense, it doesn’t look like home-field advantage will keep UCF from covering and securing a win as well.
The Cincinnati Bearcats, likewise, have also maintained to come out on top more than not this season. After a solid season-opening win against the UCLA Bruins, the Bearcats were completed exposed week two after being blown out by the Ohio State Buckeyes, 42-0. Since the embarrassing loss, Cincinnati has played well for two straight weeks, putting up 87 points in blowout wins against Miami (OH) RedHawks and the Marshall Thundering Herd. Central Florida will be a different test though.
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The Bearcats have given up an enormous amount of sacks in their first four weeks and UCF’s defense is stingy enough to take advantage of those weaknesses. Starting quarterback, Desmond Ridder, has played admirably this season throwing for eight touchdowns to only three interceptions. However, the passing yards week in and week out are not eye-popping and Ridder will definitely need to be playing at his best to compete with Central Florida.
Even with the Bearcats (+160) hosting the game against UCF (-180) tonight, the Knights are better in almost every category when it comes to the team comparisons. Aside from being 3.5-point road favorites, the Knights are 3-1 ATS and SU in their last four meetings. And it doesn’t stop there. UCF has been 14-6 ATS and 18-2 SU in their last 20 games as well as 10-1 SU in their last 11 road games. At nearly 570 yards of offense put up a game with a better defensive and offensive unit, expect UCF to cover, win and go slightly over the 61.5 point total at USA online sportsbooks.
Joshua has been a die-hard Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan since 2007, joining the sports betting world not long after. If he’s not talking or writing about the Bucs, you’ll likely find him in a park somewhere hiking.