UCF Knights vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Pick 10/16/21
When: Saturday, October 16, Noon
Where: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati
Point Spread: UCF +21/CIN -21 (Reduced Juice Betting >>> Bet on games at -105 odds instead of -110! Making the switch will save you TONS of cash!)
Total: O/U 57.5
Two years ago, this would have been a tight battle in the American, with conference supremacy on the line. However, the year is quickly spiraling out of control at UCF, as the Knights don’t really have a solution at quarterback ever since Dillon Gabriel fractured his clavicle in the loss to Louisville. On the other side of the coin, Cincinnati seems to be on a glide path toward the American title and a possible undefeated season.
The big question for the Bearcats is how well they can handle the role of the hunted against a team that’s used to being on top of the heap. So far, Cincinnati has shown no issues with handling expectations, as the Bearcats have drilled their lesser competitors and handled both Indiana and Notre Dame. Cincinnati rolled through Temple while Central Florida was trying to escape East Carolina. If the Bearcats can keep doing what they did against the Owls, they’re likely to get a sixth win and get themselves in a solid position to eventually earn no worse than a New Year’s Six bowl.
How the Public is Betting the UCF/Cincinnati Game
The public now believes in Cincinnati and keeps pushing the spread higher. Bearcats bettors have seen the line jump from -20 to -21, and the total has increased along with the spread. The O/U number has increased from 56 to 57, and 68 percent of tickets have come in on the Bearcats.
Defensive lineman Kalia Davis (knee), running back Isaiah Bowser (knee), quarterback Dillon Gabriel (collarbone), and running back R.J. Harvey (knee) are out. Wide receiver Dionte Marks (leg), wide receiver Jaylon Robinson (undisclosed), and defensive lineman Ricky Barber (undisclosed) are questionable.
Wide receiver Jadon Thompson (undisclosed) is questionable.
When UCF Has the Ball
So what do the Knights do now that Gabriel is likely out for the season and certainly out for the foreseeable future? So far, the answer hasn’t been all that great. Turning to Mikey Keene has resulted in a weak showing, even if the Knights did win the game against East Carolina in the Bounce House. Keene didn’t do much other than not lose the game for the Knights by taking what was available, but that isn’t going to work against a Bearcat defense that knows how to limit opponents’ ground game and can focus on keeping Johnny Richardson from beating them.
Richardson ripped off 6.5 yards per carry against East Carolina, but it’s highly unlikely that he comes anywhere close to that against Cincinnati. The Bearcats are almost certain to load up the box and make Keene win the game with his arm. Based on what he’s shown so far, that looks like an unlikely proposition. The Knights do have a reliable pass catcher in Ryan O’Keefe, but he’s been used more for nickel-and-diming opponents, not for the deep shots that have historically been part of the UCF attack.
When Cincinnati Has the Ball
Desmond Ridder knew the way to beat Temple was to just let Jerome Ford go to work and help out when necessary, and that’s precisely what Cincinnati did in blasting the Owls by a 52-3 count. Cincinnati is so dangerous because Ridder can make plays with both his arm and legs and has a talented running game behind him to back him up and keep drives moving.
The question with Cincinnati is complacency. The Bearcats have already gone through the most challenging part of their schedule, and they’re now facing a team that no longer looks capable of staying with them or providing much resistance on defense. UCF has historically opted with the mantra that the best defense is their offense, which has enabled them to slow Cincinnati down in most years. The Bearcats have only topped 30 points twice against this team, which should be a solid motivator for Cincinnati to keep their foot on the gas.
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The past two years have had a similar result: Cincinnati by three points. The Bearcats bested the Knights 27-24 the last time the teams met at Nippert and won again in the Bounce House last season. Prior to that, none of the games had been close, with the winner getting a result by at least three touchdowns.
As of late, betting on UCF has been akin to lighting your money on fire, as the Knights have just one cover in their past seven contests. On the other hand, Cincinnati has five covers in six games, has four straight covers in October, and has gone 6-2 ATS in its past eight home games. Another factor favoring the Bearcats: the home team has covered in five of the past six matchups.
We’re finally on our way to football weather, with temperatures hitting 60 degrees at kickoff and a passing shower in the forecast for southeastern Ohio. Wind will blow at nine miles per hour to the west-northwest.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
With UCF down its leader and Cincinnati rolling, I really can’t see the Knights keeping this thing all that close. The Bearcats have done a great job avoiding complacency to this point, and I think they’ll be just as motivated to put up a big number against a rival that hasn’t always been the easiest for them to face.
I’ll take Cincinnati to get the job done and cover. Make the Bearcats a -1 favorite by inserting them into a massive 20 point college football teaser found at Wagerweb Sportsbook!
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