Central Florida 2018 Betting Preview: Hard Pass on the Heupel Hype


Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton

Central Florida 2018 Betting Odds

  • To win the National Title: +25000
  • To win the AAC: +120
  • To win the AAC East: N/A
  • Win Total: 9.5 (over -105, under -115)

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Central Florida 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds

The Action Network Projected Wins: 9.4

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Central Florida Win Total Under 9.5 -115

UCF will try to follow up a self-proclaimed national championship after a 13-0 season that included a New Year’s Six victory over Auburn in the Peach Bowl. However, key players on both sides of the ball have left the team, as has coach Scott Frost, and that should have a significant effect during the 2018 season.

Defensively, Shaquem Griffin led a linebacking corps that ranked 14th in Havoc. The other defensive units ranked 70th or lower in the same category. Griffin, who was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, led the team in tackles for loss and sacks. He singlehandedly elevated the other 10 defenders, and regression is expected for this unit.

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The loss of defensive coordinator Erik Chinander to Nebraska will be felt. Randy Shannon takes over the defensive coordinator role, and will change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme. If that change isn’t enough to worry UCF backers, also consider that Shannon has never coached at a school that had a lightning tempo on offense. During his stint at Florida, the Gators consistently ranked in the bottom-30 in snaps per game.

The loss on offense will be just as tough to overcome, as Josh Heupel takes over for Frost, who is off to Nebraska. Hiring a coach who likes to run up-tempo was important, but Heupel hasn’t had the easiest path to UCF.

Missouri ranked only 48th in points per game in 2016, Utah State was 102nd in offensive efficiency in 2015, and Oklahoma fired Heupel after the 2014 season. Last season actually may have been a fluke for Heupel, as Missouri beat — and covered against — seven teams that didn’t make a bowl, and lost every game against a team that qualified for the postseason.

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There are five potential bowl teams on the UCF schedule. The Knights are projected as a favorite in every game this season, but a 2nd Order Win total of -1.3 (meaning they overperformed last year) may result in upsets in revenge spots at Memphis and South Florida.

What else you need to know about Central Florida

Looking for an underdog to beat Central Florida and contend for the AAC? Look no further than Temple. The Owls outgained the Knights 397 to 384 yards last year, but were sunk by five turnovers. Take Temple at any double-digit number, as Geoff Collins is 8-1 straight up after a bye week dating back to his defensive coordinator days at Mississippi State.

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