Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:48 AM
UCF vs. BYU Predictions, Odds
- December 22, 2020
- By Jonathan Willis
One of the historic mid-major programs in college football will take on an upstart in the Roofclaim.com Boca Raton Bowl this Tuesday night.
The BYU Cougars were seen as a potential New Year’s Six team before their loss to Coastal Carolina in one of the most interesting games of the season.
Meanwhile, the UCF Knights have been a perennial thorn in the side of the sport’s powerbrokers for the last few years, specializing in causing chaos.
That will make this postseason pairing an interesting clash.
Boca Raton Bowl Betting Resources
- Bowl Matchup: AAC vs. IND
- Expert Picks: Vegas Insiders
- Venue: FAU Stadium
- Location: Boca Raton, Florida
- Date: Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020
- Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Bet: BetMGM | BetRivers | FanDuel | PointsBet | All
Boca Raton Bowl Betting Odds
- Spread: BYU -7
- Money-Line: BYU -250 UCF +210
- Total: 73.5
Odds Subject to Change
How to Handicap UCF vs. BYU
The Knights were somewhat underwhelming considering what we have seen with this program over the last five years.
Head coach Josh Heupel couldn’t lead UCF past Tulsa, Memphis, or Cincinnati, but the Knights lost those three games by a combined 12 points.
Only two UCF games had totals of less than 70 this year, and both of those games ended up going over the total. UCF and Georgia Tech teamed up for 70 points in the season opener, while the Knights and Bearcats combined to put up 69 points in the penultimate regular season game.
BYU started the season with a 55-3 blowout of Navy on Labor Day. The Cougars followed that victory up with blowouts of Troy and Louisiana Tech in their next two games, and they were largely double-digit favorites in their remaining games.
They easily covered the number on the road against Houston and Boise State, but BYU hasn’t been as sharp in December.
The Cougars lost outright to Coastal Carolina as a 10-point favorite in Conway at the start of the month, and they didn’t cover the number in a 28-14 win over San Diego State in their season finale. The Aztecs had a 14-7 lead at one point, but the Cougars scored the rest of the points to secure the victory.
Betting Analysis – Central Florida Knights
Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)
- 2020: 6-3 SU, 3-6 ATS, 6-3 O/U
Quarterback Dillon Gabriel continues to thrive in this offense.
Gabriel came into his own as a freshman, and he has posted even better numbers in 2020. He is completing 61.7 percent of his passes for 9.1 YPA with 30 touchdowns and four interceptions.
His play led to veteran McKenzie Milton deciding to transfer to Florida State next season, as Gabriel can make all the throws needed in this offense and probably has better pro prospects than Milton.
UCF has one of the best offenses in the nation. The Knights are averaging 44.3 PPG and 585.6 YPG, and this offense plays at breakneck speed.
Unfortunately, leading receiver Marlon Williams has announced he won’t play in this game as he looks to assess his pro prospects.
Tre Nixon is finally healthy again though, and that gives Gabriel one of his top targets.
Jaylon Robinson stands a good chance of surpassing 1,000 receiving yards for the season in this game, while Jacob Harris (18.2 YPR) and Ryan O’Keefe (20.2 YPR) are big play threats.
Running back Otis Anderson is listed as questionable to play in this game due to injury.
Anderson is the second-leading rusher on UCF with 614 yards (5.6 YPC) and four touchdowns. Greg McCrae is the Knights’ leading rusher with 681 yards (5.2 YPC) and nine touchdowns, and Bentavious Thompson is also averaging at least 5.2 YPC. UCF throws the ball a ton, but it’s nice to have a reliable run game to fall back on.
The Knights don’t have a great kicking game with Daniel Obarski making just 68.8 percent of his field goals, none longer than 38 yards. The return game is solid though with some great speed and elusiveness.
This defense has had some issues in 2020. UCF is allowing 31.4 PPG and 473.7 YPG, ranking in the bottom 20 nationally in the latter category.
There are no real stars aside from playmaking safety Richie Grant, and the depth in this unit leaves much to be desired.
QB Zach Wilson and BYU closed the season with a 0-2-1 record against the spread for bettors. (AP)
Betting Analysis - BYU Cougars
- 2020: 10-1 SU, 6-4-1 ATS, 5-6 O/U
For the first month of the season, it looked like BYU QB Zach Wilson might claim the Heisman Trophy.
Wilson repeatedly dazzled, but BYU’s loss to Coastal Carolina snuffed out those hopes. Still, he is completing 73.2 percent of his passes for 10.8 YPA with 30 touchdowns and three interceptions for the Cougars in 2020.
Dax Milne is the best receiver on the roster. He leads the team in almost every receiving category with 63 receptions for 1,118 yards and eight touchdowns.
Gunner Romney is the second-leading receiver on BYU, but he is questionable to play due to a head injury that kept him out against SDSU. Isaac Rex has 32 receptions for 333 yards and 10 touchdowns, solidifying his status as a red zone weapon.
A mere 43 yards separates RB Tyler Allgeier from a 1,000-yard season. Allgeier has been excellent, averaging 7.3 YPC with 12 touchdowns on the year. He is reportedly dealing with an illness, yet he is considered probable to play. If for some reasons Allgeier can’t go, Lopini Katoa will be the top option on the Cougars.
The Cougars are allowing just 14.7 PPG and 304.5 YPG.
BYU is known for its stout defensive linemen that can stuff the run, but the secondary has been sharp too this year. There are a few key injuries to watch in the lead-up to the game though, especially involving Tyler Batty.
This is the third meeting between these two schools.
BYU knocked off UCF in Provo 24-17 back in 2011, and the Knights returned the favor with a 31-24 victory in Orlando in 2014.
This will be their first postseason meeting.
The Knights overcame four turnovers to beat the Cougars 31-24 in overtime back in 2014.
Quarterbacks Justin Holman and Christian Stewart both underwhelmed with their play, but UCF benefited from some big special teams plays.
Notable Betting Trends
-- The over has cashed in four straight non-conference games for UCF
-- BYU is 1-5 ATS in its last six bowl games
-- The over has hit in four of BYU’s last five bowl games
Boca Raton Bowl Predictions
- Score Prediction: BYU 41, UCF 30
- Best Bet: BYU -7
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