UCF-Cincinnati Betting Preview: Can Knights Grab a Quadrant I Road Win?

UCF-Cincinnati Betting Preview: Can Knights Grab a Quadrant I Road Win? article feature image

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tacko Fall

Thursday brings us a big American Athletic Conference battle with regular season title ramifications.

Let’s take a deep dive on UCF at Cincinnati.

>> All odds as of 6 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

Betting Odds: UCF Knights at Cincinnati Bearcats

  • Spread: Cincinnati -8
  • Over/Under: 130
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2

UCF (19-5) faces a critical battle at home against second-place Cincinnati. The Knights are one game behind Cincy and 2.5 behind first-place Houston. UCF is 13-2 overall at home and has covered the spread in three straight games.

Cincinnati (21-4) wants to keep pace with Houston and has won 14 consecutive home games. However, the Bearcats are only 11-13-1 ATS, including a pedestrian 7-7 ATS at home.

UCF has been playing it’s best basketball of the season. The Knights won at SMU and enjoyed big home wins over South Florida and Memphis.

They are also one of the few teams in the country that can match the Bearcats defensive tenacity, ranking 16th in the country in effective field goal percentage allowed and 2P% allowed. UCF is stout against the 3P, allowing opponents to only shoot 31.8%.

The Knights have also drastically improved their offense since conference play began.

They are second in the AAC in 2P efficiency at 53.2%. Leading scorer B.J. Taylor (16.9 ppg) has scored 21 or more points in three of his last five games while shooting 47.6% (10 of 21) from 3P during that time. Fellow guard Aubrey Dawkins (15.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg) has also been hot from deep, shooting 50% (11 of 22) from 3P in his last three games.

Cincinnati has failed to cover in three of its last four home games, and its hallmark defense has shown vulnerability. The Bearcats rank last in AAC conference play in defending the 3P, allowing opponents to shoot a remarkable 37.5%. They also rank ninth in the conference in effective field goal percentage allowed.

On offense, the Bearcats have surprisingly struggled within the arc. They are only shooting 46.5% from 2P in conference play. They are one dimensional, with junior Jarron Cumberland (19.3 ppg) being their only consistent offensive threat.

UCF has yet to play Cincinnati this year, which makes this line even more peculiar. The Knights have the defensive ability to limit Cincinnati on offense, and their hot 3P shooters will get quality shots against a poor 3P defending Bearcats team. Grab UCF and the points in a game the Knights may even win outright.

The Pick: UCF +8