AAC Championship on ABC Odds: Memphis Tigers at (8) UCF Knights

College Football Betting

Memphis at (8) UCF
Time: 2:30 PM CT, ABC
SPREAD: UCF -3
Total: 64

Odds c/o Bovada

The No. 8 ranked UCF Knights won last week, but it suffered its worst loss of the season, paradoxically. Starting quarterback McKenzie Milton was lost for the season, and now the Knights turn to backup quarterback Darriel Mack Jr. for the remainder of the year. It has already impacted oddsmakers, as the line is set just 3-points in favor of UCF as it hosts conference rival Memphis.

UCF finished last season undefeated and is 11-0 this year, but respect has been hard to come by, as it still polls at “just” No. 8 in the AP rankings and will definitely miss out on the playoffs of college football once again.

UCF

It is a tragedy, to be sure. The Knights have been dominant in 2018, ranking with one of the best defenses that allows just 19.5 points per game while the Knights rack up 43.1 points per game, running circles around a schedule that most all experts just deem “soft.” The Knights are explosive on the ground and in the air, averaging 269.8 rushing yards and 261.7 passing yards per game. It remains to be seen if the team shifts to a more ground-heavy attack since it is starting its backup quarterback, but what that really does is give bettors an interesting game to sink their respective teeth into with the spread at just 3-points for this affair.

Mack has thrown 43 passes this season and completed 21 (48.8 percent) while averaging just over four yards per attempt. It is a small sample size to base anything on, but Gabriel Davis, Dredrick Snelson, and Tre Nixon are going to miss having Milton’s arm in the lineup. That trio has caught for 500 yards or more each, and between them, they have scored 15 of UCF’s 26 reception TDs. Expect running back Greg McCrae to see plenty of touches this week in light of the QB situation.

UCF’s No. 1 running back has rushed for 895 yards on 99 attempts, averaging better than nine yards-per-carry and ranking second to only Milton (9) in touchdowns with eight. Adrian Killins Jr. and Taj McGowan both should see more touches too. Killins leads the team in carries with 133, but he averages just 4.8 yards-per-carry and has a long-run of 26 yards. McGowan has 457 yards on 67 attempts with seven rushing TDs. The Knights have scored 35 rushing TDs to its 25 receiving TDs, so the end zone plan should be mostly similar, but it will be a tough bet that UCF can muster 500-plus all-purpose yards unless Mack is a much better thrower than we have seen thus far.

MEM

The Memphis Tigers are 8-4 and won the American Athletic West division. It now collides against the reigning Conference Champions, but it has a better chance than most would have figured in light of the aforementioned injury to Melton. Memphis holds opponents to 29.5 points per game and scores 43.8 itself, and its defense will be put to the test by UCF’s strong players at its skill positions, the QB position weakening, notwithstanding.

Like UCF, Memphis averages better than 500 yards per game, balancing it well between the rush and pass attack. The Tigers average 254.3 passing yards per game and 275.9 rushing yards per game, and it has won four straight games since its loss to Missouri five weeks ago. These teams have already met once this season and the Knights prevailed 31-30 in Memphis.

Brady White has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards on the season for the Tigers with a 63.7 percent completion ratio. He has 25 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions.

White’s top receiver Damonte Coxie has had a phenomenal year. Coxie has caught for 1,062 yards with a team-leading seven receiving TDs. The Tigers’ top running back Darrell Henderson is very effective too. He averages 8.6 yards-per-carry and has 19 of the team’s 42 rushing TDs this season. Patrick Taylor Jr. is No. 2 in rushing attempts and yardage, and he has 14 touchdowns to his name. This game could become a heavy ground affair with both teams grinding it out and making the most of their respective defenses, and one can expect the Memphis defensive pressure to run high given UCF’s starting an inexperienced quarterback.

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