Cincinnati-UCF Betting Guide: Are Knights Undervalued?

Cincinnati-UCF Betting Guide: Are Knights Undervalued? article feature image
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USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Charles McClelland and McKenzie Milton

Cincinnati at UCF Betting Odds, Pick

  • Odds: UCF -7
  • Over/Under: 61
  • Time: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET
  • TV: ABC

>> All odds as of 11 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets


In a week without much Power 5 drama expected, let’s hope UCF and Cincinnati keep things lively.

The Group of 5’s top spot is up for grabs with the Knights riding a 22-game winning streak into this contest. Cincinnati has exceeded expectations at 9-1, but has no top-50 wins.

Teams like UCF have typically been successful in this spot. The favorite in games between ranked teams covers 55% of the time, per our Bet Labs data. And when the underdog is getting the majority of bets, like Cincy is, the favorite hits at a 61% clip.

Market Moves for UCF-Cincinnati

By Danny Donahue

After opening as an 8-point favorite, Central Florida has drawn only 39% of bettors, which would be its smallest backing of the season if it holds. The Knights have also generated only 38% of dollars wagered on the game, which has contributed to the line move from -8 to -7 (see live data here).

As for the total, the over has been one of the most popular bets of the week. It’s attracted 86% of bets and 89% of dollars, moving this number from 58.5 to 61.

Trends to Know for UCF-Cincinnati

By Evan Abrams

— During UCF’s 22-game winning streak, it is 14-7-1 against the spread (66.7%) and has only played five games prior to Cincinnati with a spread under double-digits. The Knights are 4-1 ATS in those games, covering by 13.1 points per game.

— Cincinnati’s margin of victory is 20.1 entering this game, and yet, the Bearcats are touchdown underdogs. Since 2005 (regular season only), 14 teams have entered a game in November or later with similar qualifications. Those teams are a dead-even 7-7 ATS, but only three have been able to pull off the upset.

  • 2013 Oklahoma State (+7.5) defeated Bryce Petty and Baylor
  • 2012 Texas A&M (+13.5) and Johnny Manziel defeated Alabama
  • 2010 Nevada (+14) and Colin Kaepernick defeated Boise State (which included this missed FG by Kyle Brotzman that still haunts Boise fans to this day).

Barkley: What I’m Betting in UCF-Cincinnati

By Ken Barkley

I never thought we’d get this late in the season and I’d be able to type something like this, but here goes nothin’: I really like UCF at this number (-7).

Let’s start with some basics. UCF has an advantage in every single area of this game. Its defense is better than Cincinnati’s offense. The Knights offense is better than Cincinnati’s defense. They have a huge advantage in special teams. They have a huge advantage in coordinators and coaching.

The home-field advantage is baked into the number, but you couldn’t really ask for more here, even if some of the margins between units aren’t THAT significant.

In terms of market opinion, normally this is where I’m always weary of backing UCF. But they’re coming off a Navy game where they didn’t cover.

This number isn’t even stretched very far. UCF was favored by 10 at home against Temple, and the Owls match up very evenly with the Bearcats in a bunch of areas. Now I get another team in that tier, and have to lay three fewer points? Neat.

Lastly, in terms of scheduling, UCF was obviously hurt by the UNC game getting cancelled, because it could have honestly run up the score against that Tar Heel team at that point in the season. But even teams like Pitt and Memphis were reasonable tests for the Knights, and they passed.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, is just skating through a schedule that’s softer than a newborn kitten. To say the Bearcats haven’t faced a balanced team would be an understatement.

The best offense they’ve played this year in terms of S&P+ rank heading into that game is Ohio (by far), and Ohio has about the worst defense in the country not counting UConn. The ONLY good defense Cincinnati has faced — and by good I mean “not abysmal” — is Temple, and Cincy could only score 17 in that game.

When a team has this many advantages and their market perception isn’t being stretched to the maximum, I am interested.

I’ll be betting UCF at -7.

Whose Schedule Is Worse?

By Steve Petrella

It’s exhausting to argue about UCF’s College Football Playoff chances, because the arguments go nowhere.

“22 STRAIGHT WINS.”

“STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE.”

“22 STRAIGHT WINS.”

“STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE.”

And so on. It’s the literal definition of “they ain’t played nobody.”

But while we tear down UCF for its weak schedule — which is very weak; they don’t have a compelling CFP case — we’ve been building Cincinnati up all year for doing the same thing against a schedule that’s somehow worse. But since the Bearcats have exceeded preseason expectations, while UCF’s were sky high, it’s totally fine.

Per S&P+, UCF’s strength of schedule ranks 104th, and Cincinnati’s ranks 117th.

UCF is averaging 7.06 yards per play, seventh nationally, against a similar schedule to Cincy. The Knights offense is the best unit in this game, and I think they score enough to cover this number.

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