Bettors Fading UCF for First Time This Year After McKenzie Milton Injury
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Darriel Mack Jr.
- Despite losing quarterback McKenzie Milton to injury last week, UCF is still favored to beat Memphis in the AAC Championship.
- Bettors, however, don't feel confident in the Knights' chances, making it the first time since last season that UCF has not had a majority of bets.
For college football fans outside of Ann Arbor, the saddest news to come from Week 13 was the gruesome leg injury to Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton.
Milton helped guide UCF to 24 straight wins, and was two away from consecutive undefeated seasons.
While his Heisman chances have been squashed — as they have been for the past few weeks now — oddsmakers still seem to like the Knights’ chances to put together consecutive undefeated seasons with Milton out.
UCF is a three-point favorite at home in the AAC Championship Game against Memphis. A consensus moneyline of around -165 implies that oddsmakers are giving the Knights about a 62% chance of winning the game straight up.
Bettors, on the other hand, aren’t so optimistic.
To this point, 61% of bets on the spread and 63% of moneyline wagers are behind Memphis. That means this week will be the first time in more than a year that UCF has not had a majority backing (Nov. 24, 2017 vs. USF).
Considering UCF was forced to score 17 unanswered points to pull off a one-point win the last time these two teams played, it shouldn’t come as a shock that bettors would be happy to take the points with Milton on the sidelines.
Further influencing the public’s decision is the fact that Milton’s replacement, Darriel Mack Jr., went just 5 of 14 for 81 yards in his two-plus quarters of action on Saturday.
Our Action Network power ratings have even dropped the Knights from No. 29 to No. 55, which puts them slightly behind Memphis at 49. Of course, home field advantage would still give UCF a slight edge with ratings as close as those, but bettors don’t seem to want to hear that.
Historically, fading the public has been the way to go in conference championships, and in most games — since the public tends to flock to favorites — that means taking an underdog. In this case, however, the brave souls looking to go against the masses will get the rare opportunity to do so by laying points with a backup quarterback.