Gasparilla Bowl 2021: Odds, Daily Fantasy Tips for UCF vs. Florida

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 22, 2021

Central Florida running back Johnny Richardson (25) celebrates his 17-yard touchdown pass against Connecticut with teammates Jaylon Robinson (1), Lokahi Pauole (77) and Alec Holler (82) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The UCF Knights drew the ideal matchup in the Gasparilla Bowl.

The American Athletic Conference program was paired with the Florida Gators for an in-state showdown set to take place inside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. 

UCF should relish its opportunity to play one of the state's three major programs, and it is facing the Gators at the perfect time to spring an upset. 

Florida is in a transitional period after Dan Mullen was fired and Billy Napier was hired as head coach. The Gators' bowl motivation could be questioned because they finished 2-3 and struggled to become bowl-eligible. 

The Gasparilla Bowl serves as a Florida farewell for quarterback Emory Jones, who is set to enter the transfer portal. Jones' impending departure adds another layer to a contest in which the Gators are favored but could easily lose outright. 


Gasparilla Bowl Info

Date: Thursday, December 23

Start Time: 7 p.m. ET 


Live Stream: ESPN.com and ESPN app


Game Odds

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Spread: Florida (-7)

Over/Under: 55.5

Money Line: Florida (-275; bet $275 to win $100); UCF (+225; bet $100 to win $225) 


Daily Fantasy Tips

Use Caution With Emory Jones

The Gasparilla Bowl will test the motivation of the Gators. 

Some of the players could be checked out and waiting for the new coaching staff to take over.

Emory Jones is the most fascinating case when it comes to motivation because Thursday marks his final game as a Florida quarterback. Anthony Richardson is set to take over next season, but he is injured. Florida also gained a commitment from Ohio State's Jack Miller in the transfer portal. 

Jones had an average season by Florida's high standard. He had 2,563 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while splitting snaps with Richardson.

The two-quarterback approach did not work, and it was one of the many factors that cost Dan Mullen his job.

Jones is going up against a UCF defense that allows 213.3 passing yards per game and is flying high right now. 

UCF earned its last four victories by holding opponents under 20 points. Although the Knights beat some of the worst FBS squads during that stretch, their defense showed up regardless. It could wreak havoc on Jones throughout the Gasparilla Bowl.

Jones' roster status in daily fantasy football contests should be questioned. 


Roster UCF's Ryan O'Keefe

UCF's passing attack experienced change throughout the season.

Dillon Gabriel was supposed to lead the Knights offense to plenty of success, but freshman Mikey Keene stepped in and Gabriel eventually transferred to UCLA.

Ryan O'Keefe has been Keene's top target all season, and he should put the Florida secondary under pressure with every route he runs. 

O'Keefe has at least five receptions in each of his last eight games. He does not have the high yardage of other top Group of Five wide receivers, but he is a consistent target in the UCF passing game. 

He could be utilized in a lineup stack with the team's top two running backs. Johnny Richardson and Isaiah Bowser both had over 100 carries this season, and while neither running back eclipsed the 700-yard mark, their high volume suggests the production could be there on Thursday. 

Florida will be without three key defenders, including leading tackler Mohamoud Diabate, adding further motivation to lean on the Knights offense. 


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