UCF Knights vs. USF Bulls Odds, Analysis, College Football Betting Pick

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2018

Members of Central Florida's Marching Knights perform before an NCAA college football game against Tulsa on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Since becoming conference rivals, Central Florida is 3-2 straight up in the series with South Florida. But the Bulls are 4-1 against the spread over that span and nearly pulled off an upset in last year's AAC championship game.

Who's the smart bet for the 10th edition of the War on I-4 on Friday afternoon in Tampa?


College football point spread: The Knights opened as 14-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 47.8-26.6 Knights (College football picks on every game)

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Why the UCF Knights can cover the spread

UCF extended the nation's longest current winning streak to 23 in a row with a surprisingly easy 38-13 victory over Cincinnati last week.

The Knights handed the Bearcats the first six points of the game but led 21-6 by halftime. They then scored the first two touchdowns out of the locker room, cruising to the cover as 6.5-point favorites.

Central Florida outgained Cincinnati 402-379, won the turnover battle 3-1 and blocked a Bearcats field goal. UCF is now 15-7-1 ATS during its winning streak, scoring at least 31 points in every game.

At 7-0 in conference play, the Knights have already clinched a spot in the AAC championship game. But they also moved up to No. 9 in this week's College Football Playoff rankings, and while they're still longshots to make the CFP, they should try to blow out every opponent possible, just in case.

Why the USF Bulls can cover the spread

USF started 7-0 this season with two wins over Power 5 opponents, Georgia Tech and Illinois, but now seeks to stop a three-game losing streak after falling at Temple last week 27-17.

South Florida actually drove its opening possession of the game 60 yards to a touchdown, led 17-0 at the half and 17-13 with 10 minutes to go. But the Bulls gave up one touchdown on a punt return and another on a fumble in the end zone, leading to the loss.

South Florida outrushed the Owls 184-74 but lost the turnover battle 5-2, resulting in at least a minus-seven point differential. Still, the Bulls hung on for the cover as 14-point dogs.

Two weeks ago, South Florida led at Cincinnati in the third quarter, lost 35-23 but covered at plus-16. In fact, the Bulls are 3-1 ATS as underdogs this season.


Smart betting pick

Central Florida beat South Florida in a wild AAC championship game last year 49-42, but the Bulls covered as 10-point dogs.

However, while the Knights are just as good now as they were that day, USF has taken a step back. Also, playing on the road means the spread is a smidge friendlier toward UCF.

The smart money here gives the points with the Knights.


College football betting trends

The total has gone under in seven of South Florida's last 10 games at home in November.

South Florida is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 games versus its conference.

The total has gone under in five of Central Florida's last six games versus its conference.


All college football odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.