November 24, 2017
There is one pick today.
Take South Florida +10 spread (buy the half point) against Central Florida for 3% of the bankroll.
This afternoon's contest between the South Florida Bulls and UCF Knights have been building up for a majority of the season and the winner of this matchup puts themselves in the driver's seat for the conference championship game. This should be a classic, back and forth matchup between the conference's two best teams this season and the fact that the Bulls are over a touchdown underdog, is simply too much value to pass up.
The battle between these two quarterbacks should be an entertaining one as its pits last year's AAC Offensive Player of the Year, Quinton Flowers against (likely this season's) in Knight's sophomore QB, McKenzie Milton. Flowers has taken somewhat of a step back this season as a passer, however, he has still accounted for 26 total touchdowns and has rushed for at least 100 yards four times. Flowers rushed and passed for 152 yards last season while accounting for two touchdowns in a 48-31 win over the Knights. Milton, on the other hand has been one of the biggest surprises in the conference. He ranks second nationally in yards per attempt (10.6 yards), completion percentage (69.6%) and passer rating (186.2) behind only Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. For the year, Milton has accounted for 31 touchdowns and is leading a UCF offense that is No. 1 in the nation in scoring. Milton has just five interceptions this year, but did struggle last season against a South Florida defense that is currently tied for second in the FBS in that category with 17 on the season. This should be a highly entertaining chess match between two of the conference's best.
The quarterback battle is likely the more highly publicised, but there is no shortage of skilled offensive players around them. For South Florida, the Bulls have an absolute stable in the backfield. While Flowers leads the team in rushing, Darius Tice and D’Ernest Johnson each have more than 700 yards on the ground this season. Tice is averaging a team-best 5.6 yards per carry and leads the Bulls with 10 rushing touchdowns. At wide receiver, Marquez Valdes-Scantling gets involved both as a pass catcher and a rusher. For UCF, the guy to watch is junior wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith. Smith has 850 receiving yards this season on 19.3 yards per reception and 12 total touchdowns. In the backfield, Adrian Killins Jr. is a home-run threat. The small sophomore may be listed at less than 160 pounds, but is averaging 7.5 yards per carry to go with nine total touchdowns. As good as both defenses have been this season, this matchup could turn into an offensive shootout and could come down to which defense makes the critical stops late in the game.
As good as both offenses have been this season, the defenses have been just as solid, especially when it comes to focing their opponents into mistakes. When it comes to turnover margin, UCF is tied for the FBS lead with Miami at plus-16 on the year. Redshirt junior cornerback Kyle Gibson leads the Knights with four interceptions this season while stud senior linebacker Shaquem Griffin has two forced fumbles and one recovery to go with his team-high 7.5 tackles for a loss. The Bulls, on the other hand rank fifth nationally in average turnover margin and are plus-11 for the year. Senior safety Devin Abraham’s four interceptions lead the team, but Deatrick Nichols and Mazzi Wilkins aren’t far behind with three each. Linebacker Auggie Sanchez has returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns. Taking the ball away this week could be a real challenge for both teams as neither quarterback has been turnover-prone this season. Turnovers could certainly decide this meeting and it's important to note that USF was plus-two in that category in last season’s victory. The winner of the turnover battle will likely win this matchup as well.
There is no question that UCF has been steam rolling their competition this season, winning each home game by an average of 36 points this season while not scoring under 40 at home in Spectrum Stadium. South Florida on the other hand has appeared to simply be going through the motions since their loss to Houston, winning narrowly against both Uconn, Tulane and Tulsa. That being said, this is the biggest game on the Bulls schedule this season and there is no question that we beleive they will be ready. While their last couple of performances have been less than inspiring, there should be no reason for them not to come into this matchup motivated. We don't beleive we haveseen the best that USF has to offer, but it will be on full display this afternoon. Given UCF's track record this season, they had to make this a rather larege spread, but we believe the Bulls have the firepower both on offense and defense to keep up with the undefeated Knights. UCF has the advantage of playing at home in this contest, but South Florida will give them all they can handle in this contest. While the Knights likely find a way to win this game, it will be closer than the oddsmakers expect as the Bulls managed to keep this within a single possession. The value is with the points in this contest.
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