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Fiesta Bowl Betting: Against the Spread Pick

8:30 PM EST Wednesday January 1, 2014, ESPN

The Central Florida Knights face the Baylor Bears in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale Arizona.

In their last games of the season Central Florida beat the SMU Mustangs 17-13 on the road as a 13.5 point favorite. The Baylor Bears beat Texas Longhorns 31-10 at home as a 17.5 point favorite.

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Baylor has the nation’s highest scoring offense averaging 53.2 points per game, The Bears are 5th in passing with 360.2 yards per game and 12th in rushing with 265.4 yards per game.

Baylor scored over 40 points in 9 of their 12 games this season.

Baylor not only has a dynamic offense, but their defense ranks a solid 17th in the nation. The Bears are 19th(21.2) points allowed, 23rd(207.8) against the pass and 25th(136.3).

UCF ranks 13th in the nation in run defense and 63rd in pass defense.

Betting Odds

Point Spread: Baylor -17
Over/Under Total Line: 69.5
Moneyline: Central Florida +525 / Baylor -750

Straight up and Against the Point Spread Records

Central Florida Knights: 11-1 SU 7-5 ATS
Baylor Bears: 11-1 SU 9-3 ATS
Key Betting Trends

  • UCF is 5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • UCF is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
  • UCF has an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 games overall.
  • BAY is 22-7 ATS in their last 29 games overall.
  • BAY is 10-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • BAY has an Over record of 8-1 in their last 9 non-conference games.

Sagarin Power Rankings

Central Florida Knights: 77.17
Baylor Bears: 91.04

Key Player Injuries

CENTRAL FLORIDA

[LB] 12/9/2013 – Seyvon Lowry Ques Wednesday (Leg)
[DE] 11/06/13 – Deion Green Out for season (Knee)
[LB] 9/28/13 – Willie Mitchell Out indefinitely (Suspension)

BAYLOR

[WR] 12/12/2013 – Tevin Reese Prob Wednesday (Wrist)
[LB] 12/9/2013 – Bryce Hager Ques Wednesday (Groin)
[CB] 12/17/2013 – Tuswani Copeland Out for season (Achilles)
[OL] 11/20/2013 – Spencer Drango Out indefinitely (Back)

Against the Spread Pick

At first glance it would appear that the Knights may not have a chance against the Bears. A closer look though tells a different story. UCF has only one loss on the season. It was against on paper their toughest opponent and they did get a late garbage touchdown for the cover, but they did stay close throughout until the late stages. Central Florida’s strength of schedule while ranked low by most did have them playing a half dozen bowl teams. Do we think that the Knights can knock off Baylor? No. But we do think that the run defense has a shot to contain the rushing attack like the Cowboys did keeping the Bears from extending the margin. It would be a stretch to not think Baylor will be lacking in motivation playing in this lower bowl. Sure it’s still a New Year’s Day bowl, but they had a chance to play for it all before a late season loss to Oklahoma State ended their unbeaten season.
Take the Central Florida Knights +17 at and get reduced juice on every play.

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