One of two big hurdles awaits for the #7 team in the nation coming into the Cincinnati at Central Florida pick. The Bearcats have ascended to the top 10 at 7-0 on the season, but have a very tough matchup with the Knights’ #1 passing offense in the country on Saturday and then a meeting with #25 to close out the year in three weeks.
As expected, undefeated Cincinnati is favored here, but only slightly at -4 points. UCF has some value too though, as winners of 3 of the last 4 in the head to head series. The Knights potent offense has also scored 44+ points in three of the last four this season, and UCF comes in on a 3-game win streak. 62% of the public likes the Bearcats here.
Cincinnati Has the Target On Them in 2020
The Bearcats made the most of their moment after upsetting then #18 ranked Central Florida 27-24 as +3.5 home underdogs. Cincinnati social media went hard after the UCF program, including some Disney themed trolling. Luke Fickell’s team finds themselves in Orlando for the Cincinnati at Central Florida pick, getting set to face an angry Knights team.
Revenge factors aside, the Bearcats have two advantages that can help them get this essential road win – the ability to run the football and a very stout defense. QB Desmond Ridder has upped his play and the Cincinnati offense has followed suit scoring 42+ in 3 of the last 4. Ridder had 103 of Cincinnati’s 342 yards on the ground vs. Houston and had 327 yards passing and 3 TDs in last week’s 55-17 win over East Carolina.
The Bearcats have the #1 rushing offense in the American Conference with 247.1 ypg, and combined with UCF’s top ranked passing attack in the whole country, Saturday’s betting total of 65.5 seems like it will soar towards the ‘over.’ The Cincinnati defense is the x-factor in the total play though, ranking 10th in the country in total yards allowed and 4th in scoring (12.4).
Gabriel Ready For Revenge
Dillon Gabriel has been great at QB for UCF this season, throwing for 2774 yards in 7 games (396 ypg) with 23 TD to just 2 INT. Gabriel has 14 TDs to 0 INT the last four games, and the UCF offense that averages 619 ypg is right on pace of the record from Andre Ware and the 1989 Houston Cougars (624 ypg).
Despite the gaudy numbers, Gabriel still has something to prove vs. Cincinnati after last year’s three point loss to the Bearcats. The freshman Gabriel threw 3 INTs, one that was returned for a TD and two inside the Cincinnati 10-yard line. Gabriel also botched a handoff inside of his own 20-yard line that led to another Bearcats score. That loss snapped UCF’s 19-game win streak in the conference.
Despite that horrid performance from Gabriel, UCF was still within a field goal in last year’s defeat. The Knights also averaged 44.5 ppg in wins over Cincinnati in 2017 and 2018. The big question is if the Cincinnati defense figured out UCF last season, or if that was a fluke loss because of turnovers?
Free Cincinnati at Central Florida Pick
This meeting could turn into a nice showdown between Gabriel and Ridder. Both teams have shown the ability to score at will lately, and a total in the 70s would still be ripe for wager on the over.
Central Florida 44 – Cincinnati 34
Free Pick: Over 65.5