The Central Florida Golden Knights (3-2, 1-1 AAC) get a crack at the third-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats (5-0, 1-0 AAC) Saturday afternoon in front of a national audience on ABC. Cincinnati narrowly defeated the Golden Knights, 33-30, last season in Orlando.
Saturday’s American Athletic Conference showdown kicks off at noon EST inside Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. The Bearcats are a 21-point favorite, and the over-under total is at 59 points.
What to Know – Central Florida Golden Knights
Central Florida bounced back last week after back-to-back losses, taking down East Carolina, 20-16 at home. UCF’s two losses this season have come by a combined 11 points.
Offensively, Central Florida is scoring 36.8 points per game behind an offense that generates 469.0 yards of total offense. The defense holds opponents to 27.4 points and 365.8 yards of offense per game.
With starting quarterback Dillion Gabriel sidelined with a shoulder injury, it’ll be up to freshman Mickey Keene to lead the Golden Knights on Saturday. This year, Keene has seen action in three games, completing 43-of-68 passes for 427 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.
UCF has a strong rushing attack, using running backs Johnny Richardson and Isaiah Bowser to churn out 214.0 yards per game. Richardson is averaging 7.1 yards per carry, while Bowser is producing 5.3 yards per attempt.
In their last seven games, the Golden Knights are 1-6 against the spread but 4-1 ATS in their last five games against Cincinnati.
What to Know – Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati is one of just 13 remaining undefeated teams in the nation and is a legitimate threat to become the first Group of Five schools to make it to the College Football Playoffs. The Bearcats have key victories over Notre Dame and Indiana, with a favorable slate of games remaining on their schedule.
The Bearcats average 41.0 points and 438.6 yards of offense per game. Cincinnati’s defense is one of the best in the nation, holding teams to 12.2 points and 294.4 yards of offense per game.
Desmond Ridder has thrown 12 touchdown passes and rushed for three. The senior quarterback has only turned the ball over twice this season, the last coming three weeks ago against Indiana.
Alabama transfer Jerome Ford has shined in the backfield for the Bearcats. The junior rusher is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and has already found the endzone eight times this season.
Cincinnati is 5-1 ATS over their last six contents and 4-1 ATS in their previous five games played in October.
The Pick is In
On paper, this was a game many fans circled before the start of the season. The loss of Gabriel puts a damper on the matchup, but you can bet UCF is going to come in and treat it as their game of the year.
Through the first six weeks of action, the Bearcats appear to be a top-10 team. A blowout victory over UCF would further cement their top-5 ranking as we reach the midway point of the season.
It is hard to see a freshman quarterback coming into Nippert Stadium and having a whole lot of success against this defense. Three touchdowns are a lot, but the Bearcats take care of business in this one.
Betting Pick: Cincinnati Bearcats -21