UCF-Memphis Betting Guide: How to Handicap the Knights Without McKenzie Milton

Dec 01, 2018 05:32 AM EST

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Darriel Mack Jr.

AAC Championship Betting Odds for UCF-Memphis

  • Odds: UCF -3
  • Total: 64.5
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ABC

Memphis should be incredibly motivated in this game after losing three times in the past two years to UCF, including once earlier this year by a single point at home.

The other two losses came last year in Orlando, where this game will be played. The first was a blowout. The second came in heartbreaking fashion in the 2017 AAC Championship Game, when UCF won 62-55 in double overtime.

But for the first time during that three-game stretch, UCF will be without star quarterback McKenzie Milton, who suffered a gruesome, season-ending leg injury last week against South Florida.

The line has shifted dramatically with Milton out, but has this actually created some value on the Knights? Let’s dive in.

Odds Movement for UCF-Memphis

By Danny Donahue

With McKenzie Milton out for UCF, the Knights are getting less than 50% of bets for the first time all season. They’ve also been seeing their odds to win this game decrease throughout the week.

The 59% of bets and 70% of dollars that have hit Memphis have caused oddsmakers to drop the Tigers’ line from +7.5 to +3.

The Milton injury seems to have affected betting on the total, as well. At the time of writing 66% of bets and 72% of dollars have hit the under this week, and oddsmakers have reacted. After opening the total at 70, they’ve now dropped it as far as 64.5 thanks to the lopsided action.

Key Metrics

By Stuckey

Memphis averages 6.2 yards per rush, which ranks third nationally — thanks to stud running back and nation’s second-leading rusher Darrell Henderson, who averages a silly 8.6 yards per carry. That’s somehow less than he averaged in 2017 (8.9).

Henderson ran the ball 31 times for 199 yards against UCF in the Tigers’ first meeting and I expect a similar workload against a UCF defense that allows 4.5 yards per rush (78th in the country). If you have never seen Henderson, tune in on Saturday because it’s a treat. There’s a reason Memphis ranks No. 1 in rush explosiveness.

Memphis Finished Strong

By Steve Petrella

Memphis had some baffling results this season — a 16-point loss at Tulane and a loss against Navy. But the Tigers definitely finished strong.

Memphis had a postgame win expectancy of at least 94% in their final four games, meaning they deserved to win all those game handily, and averaged at least 6.0 yards per play in all of them. The only game the Tigers finished with fewer than 47 points was a 28-18 win over SMU.

Perhaps more importantly — because we know how good Memphis’ offense is — the Tigers allowed fewer than 4.7 yards per play in each of their last three games. The competition wasn’t great, but it’s a big improvement for a team that gave up 6.9 yards per play to South Alabama and 6.1 to East Carolina.

Pace, Big Plays Without Milton

By Stuckey

The Memphis defense has struggled to contain explosive plays (101st IsoPP+), which would normally spell trouble against one of the most explosive offenses in the country in UCF. However, it’s hard to gauge how explosive the Knights will still be without Milton.

Similarly, it’s hard to know if UCF will go at its same pace (No. 2 in Adjusted Pace) without Milton. I can confidently say that Memphis will still play fast, as it ranks in the top 20 in Adjusted Pace.

Bet to Watch

By Collin Wilson

The Action Network projection on this game would have been Central Florida -9 before the Milton news, but a full touchdown was deducted from the Knights’ power rating after the quarterback’s gruesome injury.

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