#10 UCF Knights (5-0) at Memphis Tigers (4-2)
NCAA Football: Saturday, October 13th, 2018 at 3:30 pm (Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium)
Line and Odds: UCF Knights -4.5 Over/Under 78
Free NCAA Football Pick UCF Knights vs. Memphis Tigers
Two AAC title contenders meet as the UCF Knights face the Memphis Tigers.
The UCF Knights are ranked #10 in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 Poll. They enter this game riding an 18-game win streak going back to 2017. The Knights played Memphis twice last season. They beat Memphis 40-13 early in the regular season and beat Memphis 62-55 in the conference championship game. There was some speculation about how the UCF program would handle the departure of Scott Frost. However, new head coach Josh Heupel has been able to keep the program’s momentum going. For example, UCF ranks 6th in the nation in scoring offense with 48.6 points per game. In 2017, they scored 48.2 points per game. Central Florida is currently ranked 3rd in total offense as they’ve averaged 574.4 yards per game. Their 7.16 yards per play rate puts them 10th in the FBS. UCF ranks 2nd in the nation in 3rd down efficiency, converting 59.09% of their 3rd down attempts. Their offense is explosive, but it is also well-balanced. The Knights are 9th in rushing offense and 19th in passing offense.
There are 6 UCF Knights who have rushed at least 20 times and have an average of at least 5.3 yards per carry. It is rare to find that combination of balance and production within a team’s running game. On the passing side, QB McKenzie Milton leads the AAC in pass yards per game. He’s gone 102 for 171 with 1,501 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. McKenzie Milton also has a passer rating of 157.7 this year. The Knights’ defense gives up 17.4 points per game and 4.75 yards per play. Those numbers rank 2nd and 3rd in the AAC, respectively. The UCF Defense excels in pass defense, especially. They rank 11th nationally in pass yards per attempt allowed. They have 6 defenders who have gotten at least 1 interception. DB Richie Grant leads the way with 3 picks. Their ball-hawking secondary is a key reason why they rank 10th in the FBS with a +7 turnover margin. One more amazing fact about this UCF team heading into this match-up is that they don’t have anyone on the injury report this week. They are remarkably healthy through 5 games.
The Memphis Tigers have had this game circled on their calendars since the schedule came out. They are looking for revenge for the 62-55 loss they suffered at the hands of UCF in last year’s conference championship game. The Liberty Bowl will be filled with excited, raucous fans hoping to erase the memory of last season’s heartbreaking loss. Statistically, Memphis has an offense that’s just as productive as UCF. The Tigers rank 6th in the FBS with 547.2 yards per game. More impressively, they average 8.57 yards per play which is good for 3rd in the country. Memphis scores slightly fewer points than UCF, averaging 46.2 points per game. The strength of their team is their rushing attack. They are 1st in the nation with 7.73 yards per rush attempt. Running back Darrell Henderson is the man that makes the Tigers’ rushing offense go. He leads the entire nation with 11.82 yards per carry and he’s 2nd with 155.7 rush yards per game. Henderson is also 2nd in the FBS in rushing touchdowns.
The most amazing part of Henderson’s season is that he’s accomplished all of his numbers in just 13 carries per game. The Tigers have done a good job of pairing a productive running game with an efficient passing attack. QB Brady White has a 69.2% completion percentage with 1,549 yards, 15 touchdowns, and just 1 interception. Memphis converts 50.77% of their 3rd downs, making them 2nd in the AAC (behind only UCF). On defense, Memphis is 4th in the AAC in yards per game allowed (348.7), scoring defense (24.5 ppg) and yards per play allowed (4.91). However, they rank 9th in the conference in opponent’s 3rd down conversion percentage. They’ve allowed opponents to convert 43.16% of their 3rd down attempts. LB Bryce Huff ranks 2nd in the AAC with 5.0 sacks and 11.0 tackles for loss. In fact, Huff is 6th in the entire nation in tackles for loss.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Central Florida’s last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Central Florida’s last 6 games when playing Memphis
Central Florida is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games
Memphis is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Central Florida
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Memphis’s last 6 games when playing Central Florida
Memphis is 11-1 SU in its last 12 games at home
Free NCAA Football Prediction Memphis Tigers vs. UCF Knights
I’m taking the under in this match-up. There is a reason why the over/under (78) is so high. These are two of the most explosive offenses in college football. However, I have questions about whether Memphis will be able to put up points on UCF. In Memphis’ four games vs. weaker opponents, the Tigers have scored over 50 points in each of them. In their 2 games vs. tougher opponents, they’ve scored under 25 points. I believe Memphis’ scoring is a byproduct of an extraordinarily easy schedule.
They’ve struggled against teams who are familiar with their system. I’m more confident that UCF will be able to score their share of points, but Memphis’ defense will be looking to make amends for last year’s 2 poor performances vs UCF. The Tigers defense will play as good of a game as they can play. I’m envisioning a score along the lines of 36-31. I like the under at 78 points.