College Football AAC Betting Picks: UCF Golden Knights at Houston Cougars

Central Florida Knights at Houston Cougars
Houston Football Stadium – Houston, Texas

Thursday, October 2, 2014, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Houston -1
Current Line: Houston -3
Opening Total: 50
Current Total: 52
Opening Money Line: Houston -142 / UCF +128
Current Money Line: Houston -160 / UCF +140

Houston is a 3 point favorite at home against UCF Thursday in the AAC opener for both schools.
Houston is a 3 point favorite at home against UCF Thursday in the AAC opener for both schools.

The 1-2 Central Florida Knights and 2-2 Houston Cougars open up American Athletic Conference play against each other Thursday night in the Lone Star State. Central Florida leads the series 4-1 including 1-1 in Houston. The Knights won last year’s meeting in Orlando 19-14 en route to an undefeated conference record and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl.

UCF is coached by George O’Leary. The Knights opened the season with losses to Penn State 26-24 in Dublin, Ireland and at Missouri 38-10. Two weeks ago, Central Florida finally got into the win column with a 41-7 trouncing of Bethune-Cookman. The Knights were off last week. UCF is 1-2 ATS and the total is 1-2. The Knights were 23 point favorites against Bethune-Cookman and the total was 50.5.

Houston is coached by Tony Levine. The Cougars have a home loss to UTSA 27-7 and at BYU 33-25. Houston has home wins over Grambling State 47-0 and two weeks ago against UNLV 47-14. Houston was also off last week. The Cougars are 2-2 ATS and all four games have gone under the total. Houston was a 21 point favorite against UNLV and the total was 64.5.

Central Florida is outscoring teams 25-24 this season. The Knights are averaging 298 yards per game on offense including 204 passing and 94 rushing yards per game. UCF is #90 or worse in all offensive categories. On defense, the Knights are allowing 335 yards per game including 233 passing and 102 rushing yards. UCF is #20 nationally in rush defense and #35 in total defense. The Knights are -1 in turnovers with 4 takeaways. UCF is averaging 58 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 91. The Knights are 18/42 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 24/48. UCF has forced 9 sacks and allowed 9 as well. The Knights are 11/13 scoring in the red zone with 7 touchdowns, and opponents are 9/10 including 4 touchdowns. UCF has allowed a defensive touchdown this season.

UCF quarterback Justin Holman has completed 60.7% of his passes for 558 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 32 carries for 49 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Running back William Stanback has 30 carries for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 4 catches and a touchdown. Dontravious Wilson has 29 carries for 62 yards. Breshad Perriman has 8 catches for 206 yards and a touchdown. J.J. Worton has 9 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown.

Houston is outscoring teams 32-19 this season. The Cougars are averaging 382 total yards per game including 222 passing and 165 rushing yards. On defense, Houston is allowing 335 total yards per game including 161 passing and 175 rushing yards. Houston is #13 in pass defense nationally.  The Cougars have 10 turnovers and forced 13 of their own. The Cougars are averaging 68 penalty yards a game and opponents are averaging 116 per game. Houston is 23/68 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are  30/79. The Cougars have allowed 7 sacks and forced 9 this season. Houston is 18/22 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns and opponents are 12/14 with 9 touchdowns. The Cougars have one defensive touchdown this season.

Houston quarterback John O’Korn has completed 52.7% of his passes for 846 yards with 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, plus a rushing touchdown. Running back Kenneth Farrow has 37 carries for 271 yards with 2 touchdowns along with 7 catches for 48 yards. Javin Webb has 18 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Jackson has 29 carries for 196 yards and has 2 touchdowns, along with 7 catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Deontay Greenberry has 18 catches for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns. Daniel Spencer has 21 catches for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Greg Ward, Jr. has both a receiving and a rushing touchdown.

UCF is 4-0 ATS in Thursday games, 6-1 on turf, 7-3 after a straight up win, 9-4 after allowing 20 points or less, 35-16-1 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 5-12 after a bye week, and after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 1-4 in AAC games, 2-8 after allowing less than 275 total yards, and 0-5 after scoring more than 40 points. The over is 4-1 in this series recently.

Houston is 4-0 ATS after a bye week, 9-1 after rushing for more than 200 yards, 5-1 after scoring more than 40 points, 17-5 after a cover and against teams with losing road records, 10-3 in October, 16-5 after a straight up win, 6-2 in AAC games, and after allowing 20 points or less, 12-4 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 20-7 against teams with losing records, 14-5 overall, 2-5 at home, 3-10 on turf, and 1-4 after passing for less than 170 yards.

Houston finally got their rushing game going by rushing for almost 400 yards. Still I don’t know how good either of these teams are. Neither has beaten a good team yet, but had respectable performances against good teams in Penn State and BYU. I think this will be a low scoring game, and I like the Knights to pull off the mild upset on the road.

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