The UCF Knights (9-3) head to Tampa Bay, Florida in late December to battle the Marshall Thundering Herd (8-4) in the 2019 Gasparilla Bowl. Kickoff is set for 2:30 PM EST on December 23rd at Raymond James Stadium and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
Taking a look at the full list of college bowl betting odds, Central Florida is currently listed as a 16-point favorite. The total for the game is sitting at 60.5 points. You can also click here to check out our 2019-20 bowl predictions page.
Gasparilla Bowl Vegas Odds Preview: UCF vs Marshall
Marshall won six out of their final seven games to finish the season with an impressive 8-4 record overall. The Thundering Herd were fairly average on offense this year, averaging just over 25 points per game and racking up around 395 total yards of offense per game. They certainly prefer to attack on the ground, averaging almost as many rushing yards per game as passing yards. RB Brenden Knox really put on a show his last time out, rumbling for 146 yards and a touchdown on a game-high 33 carries against Florida International. It will be interesting to see how Marshall stacks up against a Knights defense that gave up under 150 rushing yards per game through their first 14 outings.
The Thundering Herd were just above average on the other side of the ball this season, holding their opponents to around 23 points per game. Marshall was slightly more impressive defending against the run than the pass, allowing less than 135 yards per game on the ground.
UCF went 9-3 overall during the regular season after winning five out of their last six games after they dropped two of three beginning in late September. The Knights offense was fantastic, averaging 43 points and almost 540 total yards per outing. While they did average over 200 yards per game on the ground, Central Florida absolutely torched opposing secondaries week in and week out, averaging 320 yards through the air on a weekly basis.
The Knights also had a fairly strong regular season defensively, giving up under 23 points per game. Central Florida was just slightly above average defending against both the run and the pass, holding opponents to an average of 145 and 200 yards respectively.
2019 Gasparilla Bowl Free Betting Pick & Predictions: OVER 60.5
As tempted as I am by the boatload of points in this matchup, I really don’t want to bet against a UCF offense that easily averaged over 40 points per game during the regular season. Therefore, my favorite play from the 2019 Gasparilla Bowl is the OVER on 60.5 total points scored. I would pretty surprised if the Knights don’t find a way to score at least 40 points on Monday afternoon, which means that Marshall would only need to put up 21 points to push the total over the number. The Thundering Herd were hardly one of the most explosive teams in the nation this year, but they did score at least 30 points in two out of their final three games. The OVER also has come through in 12 of Marshall’s last 18 outings overall.
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The Knights have really dominated Marshall against the spread over the last several meetings between these two schools, covering the number in seven out of their last ten battles against the Thundering Herd. However, it is also important to note that the total went OVER in two out of the last three matchups together as well. I’m going to avoid throwing darts against what looks to be a pretty efficient spread in favor of the OVER on 60.5 total points scored in what should be a highly entertaining showdown containing plenty of big plays on offense.