UCF at Tulsa Odds
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane (9-3) host the Central Florida Knights (9-3) in the Conference USA championship game Saturday at 12:00 PM ET. Oddsmakers have listed Tulsa as a 1.5-point favorite and have set the total at 55.0.
Why Tulsa Covers
Tulsa has had UCF’s number lately. The Golden Hurricane won the regular season meeting 23-21 at home Nov. 17 in a game that was not as close as the final score looks. Consider that they out-gained the Knights by 226 yards (461-235).
Tulsa has won each of the last three meetings and covered the number in each. It won these three by an average of 13.0 points. It is also worth noting that the home team has covered the spread in four of the last five meetings. The favorite has covered the number in five of the last six.
The Golden Hurricane are undefeated at home where they are 6-0 and have won by an average of 19.0 points. They are 4-2 against the spread in these games and 10-1 against the spread in their last 11 home games versus teams with a winning road record.
UCF has had a good season offensively, averaging 6.1 yards per play. However, Tulsa showed in the first meeting that it has the defense to slow down UCF’s offensive attack. The Golden Hurricane held the Knights to just 3.6 yards per play in the previous meeting.
Tulsa’s ability to step up against UCF is nothing new. Consider that the Golden Hurricane are 10-2 against the spread versus good offensive teams that average 5.9 yards or more per play over the last three seasons. They have won by an average score of 32.8 to 24.3 in these games.
The Golden Hurricane are also on a 17-7 against the spread run in conference action over the last three seasons. They have won these contests by an average score of 39.0 to 24.2.
Why UCF Covers
The Knights average more points than Tulsa, and they give up fewer points. Plus, they lost the regular-season matchup by just two points despite turning in less than their best performance.
UCF ranks 26th in the nation in both scoring offense and defense with 35.9 points per game and 21.6 points allowed per game. Tulsa ranks 31st in scoring with 35.2 points per game and 41st in scoring defense with 23.9 points allowed per contest.
The Knights have been an outstanding investment on the road against good home teams. In fact, they have covered the spread in 12 of their last 16 road games versus teams that have a winning mark at home. They have also been a solid investment in conference play under coach George O’Leary, going 43-31 against the spread versus league foes under his watch. They have won by an average score of 29.7 to 23.9 in these games.
In addition, UCF is on an 8-1 against the spread run when it checks into a contest with wins in four of its last five games. It has won by an average score of 39.9 to 18.9 in these spots. The Knights are also on a 29-12 against the spread run in games after failing to cover the spread in two of their last three games. They have won by an average score of 27.1 to 23.5 in these spots.