UCF vs. Tulsa Betting Odds & Pick: How to Play a Contentious Over/Under (Saturday, Oct. 3)

Credit:

Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Dillon Gabriel (11).

  • The total for Tulsa at UCF rose 5.5 points from its 67-point opening line before settling around 70.5 at most books. Is this total too high?
  • UCF's uptempo offense always makes the over an interesting play, but Mike Calabrese wonders if bettors are overlooking Tulsa's defensive improvements.
  • Check out his full betting preview below for odds, picks, and comprehensive analysis for UCF vs. Tulsa.

UCF vs. Tulsa Odds

UCF Odds -21.5 [BET NOW]
Tulsa Odds +21.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -1300/+800 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 72.5 [BET NOW]
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN2

Odds as of Friday and via FanDuel. Get up to a $1,000 risk-free bet at FanDuel today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Central Florida is now 2-0 on the season behind superb play from Dillon Gabriel (856 total yards, 8 TDs) and nine takeaways from its aggressive defense.

Tulsa, despite playing just one game, already has some impressive tape on defense, limiting Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace while taking Oklahoma State down to the wire on the road.

The main difference in this matchup is that while Tulsa has all the pieces to put a strong offensive product on the field, UCF has already proven that it can light up scoreboards. The Golden Hurricane returned the fourth most offensive production in the country, but couldn’t string together enough successful plays against a middling Oklahoma State defense to score more than seven points.

Will Tulsa’s offense pop against this ranked opponent or will its long layoff only create more rust?


Check out our free NCAAF odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.


Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Tulsa’s 16-7 defeat in Stillwater was noteworthy because it may have been the program’s best defensive performance of the entire Phillip Montgomery era (2015-). To put its  performance in perspective, after registering just 61 tackles for loss in all of 2019 (109th), the Golden Hurricane defense spent the entire afternoon in the Cowboy backfield, finishing with 14 TFLs.

In most cases, disruption of this kind comes at the expense of allowing big plays. It takes a lot of blitzing to create those negative plays and opens a defense up to long plays from scrimmage. Not Tulsa. By the end of the game, Tulsa had allowed just 10 plays of 10-plus yards, and only a single play longer than 30 yards.

This was against one of the nation’s most explosive offenses from last season. The Pokes ranked in the top-10 in plays from scrimmage that exceeded 30 (8th) 40 (5th), and 50 yards (1st).

I am bullish on Tulsa putting things together offensively in the long term, but I’m not sure its offense is in a position for a bounce-back performance this week.

Making matters worse for TU, Shamari Brooks tore his ACL in the game against Oklahoma State. Two postponements in the month of September haven’t been favorable for Tulsa’s players or staff, and UCF is a bad matchup for a team down its starting running back.

The unfortunate loss of Brooks and the expected game-flow in this contest will put the ball in harm’s way when Tulsa has the football. The Knights have the kind of defense to take advantage of a one-dimensional offense.

Central Florida Knights

The Golden Knights’ defense has been good to great in every havoc metric thus far here in 2020. From TFLs and passes defended to forced fumbles and interceptions, UCF pressures opponents into negative plays. Randy Shannon’s defense has forced seven fumbles through two games and is unafraid to send pressure from the back seven.

Last season, UCF’s secondary produced 18 TFLs, but wasn’t particularly disruptive in terms of passes defended, forced fumbles, or interceptions. Through the first five weeks of the season, UCF now ranks 23rd in its overall defensive havoc rate and the secondary has taken a massive step forward with three forced fumbles and seven pass breakups.

Offensively, UCF has been an absolute juggernaut and Dillon Gabriel has inserted himself into the Heisman discussion. The Knights’ tempo and team speed were too much to handle for Georgia Tech and East Carolina. UCF has cranked up its tempo and plays per game from last season and now sits fourth nationally with 90.5 offensive snaps per game.

The Golden Hurricane won’t be shocked to see the uptempo spread given that they practice against it every week and dealt with it last year during their shocking 37-34 upset of UCF. I foresee a slight regression for the UCF offense that has been white-hot when they collide with a confident and disruptive Tulsa defense.


Check out our new CFB PRO Report, where we highlight factors that provide betting edges — like large wagers, historically profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks — that when combined with sharp money can powerfully detail the smartest bets on a given slate.


UCF vs. Tulsa Betting Pick

It’s hard to pick against UCF, even when they’re laying north of three touchdowns to a team that beat them last season, but I’ll be passing on this point spread. Instead, I’m interested in playing under 72.5, a total that has already risen precipitously from its open of 67. Tulsa effectively mucked up their opener against Oklahoma State and I see them repeating the feat against the AAC’s top dog.

Pick: Under 72.5

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