Central Florida Knights vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Pick 10/4/19
Central Florida Knights (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS)
College Football Week 6
Date and Time: Friday, October 4, 2019 at 8PM EDT
Where: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
Point Spread: UCF -3.5/CIN +3.5 (Bovada)
Over/Under Total: 60
The Central Florida Knights take on the Cincinnati Bearcats on Friday in AAC action from Nippert Stadium. Both teams are coming off successful Saturday wins, with the UCF Knights pouring it on in an easy win over Connecticut, 56-21. After seeing their long winning streak end at the hands of Pitt in a one-point loss the previous game, they got back on the winning note and will look to continue it this week. It just might not be so easy against a Bearcats team that besides getting beaten by Ohio State, has looked pretty good in winning and covering the spread in their three other games, including a rollicking 52-14 road-smashing of Marshall last week. Who can cover the spread this week in Cincinnati?
Cincinnati Not Messing Around
Last week offered a portal into what Cincinnati can do at their best. Against a decent Marshall team on the road, the Bearcats were installed as mere 4-point favorites. With both sides of the ball clicking, however, the final score was 52-14, with Cincy bettors already counting their cash early in the second half. Losing to Ohio State is expected. That’s out of this team’s range and probably out of UCF’s too. But with an offense that can hit some really high notes, along with a defense that is allowing an average of fewer than 14 points a game, the Bearcats look to have a little extra bite this season. And even at home in a conference setting, they’re going to need all of it this week.
There are guys on both sides of the ball for the Bearcats who remember last season’s 38-13 loss at Central Florida. Whereas the Knight run wild at home, Cincy is hoping that offense deadens in the bog of Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats got off to a fast start when they recovered a fumble in the end zone to take a quick lead, but it was all downhill from there, as Cincinnati’s offense managed one score for the remainder of the game. And they hope what looks like an improved defense can curtain a high-octane UCF offense this time around.
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The High Flying UCF Act
After losing the previous week, it was clear that the UCF offense wanted to re-establish its dominance and that’s just what they did against UConn. They took a 42-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the second quarter and were utterly explosive. Granted, that came against a beleaguered opponent, and at the end of the day, some late garbage TDs made it, so UCF missed covering the spread. Still, it was an electric night and the offense was something to behold. They have a lot of youth on the team, with some significant player-turnover on both sides of the ball on a team that was unbeaten last season. But it’s apparent the talent is still abundant.
Can Cincy Stop the Freight Train
The Knights’ offense is something to behold. They can get you in a variety of ways. The offense is simply a powerful one, capable of quick bursts and putting up points in a hurry. The running backs get vertical really quickly in this offense. They hit you with that play-action and defenses are trying to make sense of it all. With big splash plays in the pass and run game, they go for it, and when betting on a team like UCF, you’ll like seeing an offense that really pushes the envelope.
Freshman UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel has been very good and will only get better. He has 14 TD throws and just two picks. He has struck up some great rapport with receiver Gabriel Davis, who already has eight touchdowns and almost 500 yards. With other targets like Tre Nixon and Jacob Harris, there is a wealth of options. But the run-game is a real monster, with Greg McCrae, Adrian Killins, Jr., Bentavious Thompson, and Otis Anderson. And that’s not all, as there are any number of different weapons that can inflict damage.
But maybe a home Cincinnati defense can help curb some of these UCF fireworks. They’ve been playing well in certain spots and have a lot going for them, with defensive innovator Luke Fickell now in his third season as head coach. They have a big defensive line that comes hard all game long. At linebacker are big physical players who have a tremendous sideline-to-sideline presence, led by a real good one in Bryan Wright, along with Perry Young. We see them cutting down on mistakes more as the year carries on to the mid-stages. One thing is for sure, UCF will face more resistance than they saw last week.
Can the Cincy Offense Keep Pace?
We have seen some good things from the Cincinnati offense that could pay off here. After a bad game in this spot last season, there is reason to expect an upsurge from QB Desmond Ridder, who has shown a better knack behind center this season. Also looking to break out is RB Michael Warren, II., who didn’t have a good game last season in this matchup. With Alec Pierce and Josiah Deguara as viable targets, Ridder looks to flex his greater accuracy in an effort to notch a signature win for what they’re hoping is a resurgent squad.
Take the Home Dog
This is not an indictment on Central Florida, as they are a powerful team that doesn’t get the respect they deserve for what they’ve been doing under head coach Josh Heupel. I’m just not sure their high-flying ways will register as vividly on this field, against this opponent. I think the Central Florida defense will be put to the test a little bit, while an improving Cincinnati defense does enough to prevent this from becoming a track meet. I’m taking the points in this one.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Cincinnati Bearcats plus 3.5 points.
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