College Football Against the Spread Picks: UCF Knights at FIU Golden Panthers

UCF Knights at FIU Golden Panthers
Saturday, 9/17/11, 6:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN3
Opening Point Spread:  UCF -4.5
Current Betting Line:  UCF -6
Opening Total:  53
Current Total:  51
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The UCF Knights have won six-straight games, including a masterful 30-3 win over Boston College last week

UCF has not allowed a touchdown in a school-record 12-straight quarters and has outscored its first two opponents by a sizeable 92-3 margin.  The Knights have out-gained Charleston Southern and Boston College by an incredible 722 combined yards.  The team currently leads Conference USA in rushing offense and scoring, averaging 275.5 yards and 46 points per game respectively.  This is virtually a homecoming of sorts for the roster, as 27 players call the Miami area home.  UCF is a dominating 21-6 ATS over the last two-plus seasons and the ‘under’ is 14-11 in those contests.

The Knights six-game winning streak has seen them outscore opponents by a 217-47 margin and they will look to even up their record against teams from Florida.  UCF is 14-15 lifetime against programs from the Sunshine State and 16-11 when facing the Sun Belt Conference.  Controlling the clock has been a major strength for this team, averaging 34:52 this year.  Quarterback Jeff Godfrey has become a star, as the sophomore went 20-for-25 for 187 yards against Boston College.  He is also dangerous on the ground in tallying 15 rushing touchdowns in 16 career games.

Florida International is off to its best start in program history, tallying a 24-17 road win over the Louisville Cardinals in front of a national audience last time out.  The Golden Panthers know this is a huge game that will be played in front of a packed house Saturday night.  “Our guys are extremely fired up,” commented FIU head coach Mario Cristobal.  The team has made great strides under his direction, picking up its first win over a Big East school in six tries last week.  FIU is 12-14 ATS over the last two-plus campaigns.

The Golden Panthers are guided by quarterback Wes Carroll, who broke nearly every school record last year, including passing yards, touchdowns and total offense.  FIU also has a major playmaker in wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who has scored on four plays of over 60 yards already this season.  He is the school’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards and racked up a record 201 receiving yards versus the Cardinals in front of a national audience last week.

Bettors will likely back the Golden Panthers due to their 4-1 ATS mark as a home underdog, while the Knights are just 3-5 ATS as a road favorite of 3.5 to 7 points.

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