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Missouri vs UCF Odds, Picks | Saturday NCAAB Betting Guide

Missouri vs UCF Odds, Picks | Saturday NCAAB Betting Guide article feature image
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Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Darius Johnson & Johnny Dawkins (UCF)

  • Missouri and UCF face off in the Orange Bowl from Sunrise, Florida.
  • This game is the first of a doubleheader from the Florida Panthers' arena.
  • Keg breaks down the game and offers up his best bet.

Missouri vs UCF Odds

Saturday, Dec. 17
12 p.m. ET
Bally Sports
Missouri Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+1.5
-115
141.5
-110o / -110u
-102
UCF Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-1.5
-105
141.5
-110o / -110u
-118
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

It’s been a long week since Missouri dropped its first game of the season, losing in blowout fashion, 95-67, to Kansas in the Border War.

And after seven long days to think about that loss, the Tigers will now head to the AutoNation Orange Bowl Basketball Classic to take on a team that’s been just as impressive as the Tigers to start the season.

UCF will look to extend its winning streak to four on Saturday, and while it might not technically be a home game for the Knights, Saturday’s matchup will be just a short three-hour trip down to Sunrise.

The Kansas defense locked down Missouri, holding the Tigers to just 67 a week ago. It was the first game so far this season that Missouri had scored less than 80 points.

UCF is no blue blood, but its two losses this year have come by just five points combined. The Knights have also held opponents to just 60.4 points per game.

Can Mizzou get back in the win column? Or will it be another humbling experience for the nation’s second-best scoring team?


Missouri Tigers

The biggest question when it comes to Mizzou: what specifically did Kansas do so well that held a team that had been averaging 90 points per game to just 67?

The biggest factor was eliminating Missouri’s transition offense. The Tigers average 21 fast-break points per game on the year. Against Kansas, they had only 10.

To make matters even worse, Kansas was dominant in transition, racking up 22 points against the Tigers on the break.

Mizzou had also been one of the best teams in the nation when it came to creating turnovers, forcing opponents into 20.3 per game and racking up 26.2 points per contest off of those turnovers.

Once again, Kansas was able to flip the script, giving up only 14 turnovers. Mizzou only scored 15 points off of those turnovers. Meanwhile, the Tigers gave the ball up 21 times, and Kansas scored 28 points as a result.

I don’t see UCF completely flipping things the Tigers have been best at, but it should be able to limit Missouri in transition to a degree. The Knights play at one of the slowest paces in the nation — ranking 352nd in tempo — and teams have averaged just 12.2 fast-break points per game against them.

UCF Knights

Kansas gave the Knights the perfect layout of what they must do to stop this Missouri team. But can they execute that plan?

UCF’s defense has been one of the top 25 in the nation in scoring, holding teams to just 60.4 points per game.

The Knights have also been elite around the rim, an area that could be one of the biggest factors against the Tigers, who, in their loss to Kansas, allowed the Jayhawks to score 46 points in the paint (nearly half of their points).

UCF has posted an effective field goal percentage of 50.6% on the season. In its last five games, it’s improved considerably when it comes to shooting in the paint, hitting 43.5% in its last five vs. 38% overall on the season.

The Knights have also limited opposing teams to just 19.9 defensive rebounds per game, which ranks 21st nationally.

Offensive rebounding, however, will be the deciding factor in this game. Whichever team can find more success on the offensive glass will likely come away with the win here.

On the season, UCF is posting an offensive rebound on 36.2% of opportunities. Mizzou, meanwhile, is at 31.9%. Both have struggled when it comes to limiting opponents to offensive rebounds — each allow 9+ a game and rank outside the top 275.

One area of concern for the Knights against Mizzou will be their struggles with turnovers on the year.

UCF ranks outside the top 300, with 21.6% of its possessions ending in a turnover. Mizzou ranks in the top five, forcing a turnover on 26.8% of opponent possessions. The Tigers are also in the 100th percentile when it comes to points off turnovers per game, averaging 26.2 per contest.

Limiting turnovers alone could be enough for the Knights to win this game.

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Missouri vs. UCF Betting Pick

As I’ve mentioned, both turnovers and controlling the boards will be deciding factors in this game.

I expect Missouri to have success forcing turnovers against UCF, which has struggled consistently in that area. But I also think this UCF defense can challenge Mizzou — much like Kansas did — around rim.

Outside of that, there is one other major factor that will be enough to propel the Knights past this Tigers team: 3-point shooting.

The Knights have been massively underrated as a threat from beyond the arc, and will be even more dangerous when matched up against a Mizzou team that has allowed opponents to hit 36.7% from 3 on the season.

Mizzou is allowing teams to make 39.2% of 3-pointers above the break over its last five games. UCF ranks in the 92nd percentile over its last five games, hitting at a rate of 39.4% above the break.

Back UCF as high as a six-point favorite over the Tigers, thanks to its ability to win both at the rim and from the perimeter.

Pick: UCF-6 or Better

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