Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:00 PM EST.
UCF +6 over BYU
Boca Raton Bowl - FAU Stadium – Boca Raton, FL
7:00 PM EST, With the emergence of several Cinderella sides in Group of Five play in this unusual season, the market has seemed to have forgotten about good old UCF. In the not too distant past, it was the Knights that were spitting out money after crushing the number with regularity while winning at will. We can speak of the accolades of the University of Central Florida all day but this year the Knights have come back to orbit, as they have been a liability against the spread and the market despises liabilities.
On the flipside, BYU was one of the early success stories of 2020, as they were a yard away from a perfect season when they fell on the road against undefeated Coastal Carolina after taking the assignment on two days worth of notice. There are some experts who have dubbed the Boca Raton Bowl as a consolation prize for the Cougars to close out their campaign, as they can eclipse the 11-win mark for the first time in a decade. It’s also a showcase for their stud quarterback, Zach Wilson to impress NFL scouts, as he prepares for the draft. All the media wants to discuss is BYU and Zach Wilson and it has a big influence, especially this time of year when even casual bettors like to get in on some Bowl Game action.
To our delight, there is much that can be said about Central Florida that goes beyond simply playing this contest in their own backyard. UCF, though just 6-3 on the year and 3-6 against the number, could very well be sitting in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game right now had they not been on the bitter end of some nasty losses. The Knights blew leads against both Memphis and Tulsa to obtain their first two defeats on the year. They also managed to do the same against undefeated Cincinnati when the two parties met in November. Against that trio that consists of the defending AAC champion of 2019 and the two participants in the 2020 AAC Championship Game, the Knights lost by a combined 12 points. As quickly as UCF is 6-3, they could easily be 9-0 but we are not here to conjecture, we are simply demonstrating how results and ingredients are two different animals.
The fact that UCF has become an afterthought leaves us with extra value. The Knights surely have to be insulted by the price they are being offered. After all, UCF is a program that hangs its hat on being the best of the bunch in the Group of Five pyramid but they are being treated as if they are fortunate to be on the same field with BYU. Furthermore, BYU had its sights set on a New Year’s Six Bowl Game when all they had to do was beat Coastal. One has to wonder if this appears more like a weak consolation prize for the Cougars. Chances are, we get the more motivated team. For sure, we’re getting the team with a chip on its shoulder after being disrespected in this price and when one puts it all together, there’s enough ammo to move in on the dog that opened as a +4½-point choice before the efficient market got a hold of it.
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UCF +6 -105 (Risking 2.1 units - To Win: 2.00)