This Saturday the UCF Knicks (12-0) will host the Memphis Tigers (8-4) in the 2018 AAC Championship Game. Kickoff is set for 3:30 EST at Spectrum Stadium and will be televised nationally on ABC.
Taking a look at the Week 14 NCAAF odds, the books opened this thing up at UCF -5.5, but early action on the Tigers has the line down to the Knights -3. The total for this matchup is currently at 65 points.
Memphis vs Central Florida Vegas Game Predictions & Betting Preview
The Knights come into this one off a 38-10 win and cover at South Florida as 14.5-point road favorite. It secured UCF’s second straight perfect 12-0 record in regular-season play, but it came at a hefty price. Star quarterback, McKenzie Milton suffered a knee injury that will cost him the rest of the season. While their hopes of making the CFB Playoff were slim to none, they are definitely out of the picture without him under center.
Memphis enters off a 52-31 win over Houston as a 7-point favorite. That win helped propel the Tigers to the top of the AAC West Division and into this title game. It was quite a finish for Memphis, who won their final 4 games to reach the 8-win mark. The Tigers have also been covering machines, as they have bettered the number in all 4 games during the win streak and 6 of their last 7 overall.
It’s safe to say these two teams are familiar with one another. This will be the 4th meeting between the two schools since the start of last season. Last year they met in both the regular-season and title game. Same thing this year. Last season the Knights rolled 40-13 at home over Memphis, but barely scraped by with a 62-55 win in the championship game. This year the Tigers hosted UCF and had a 30-14 lead in the first half, only to lose 31-30.
College Football Free Betting Pick Against the Spread: Memphis +3
I would have to lean towards grabbing the points with Memphis and wouldn’t be shocked if this thing didn’t end up closer to a pick’em. I was already leaning toward taking the Tigers in this game and the injury to McKenzie Milton for UCF only makes me like Memphis that much more.
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I have zero doubt that the Knights are going to play their hearts out in honor of Milton, but I don’t think they will be any more motivated than the Tigers. Memphis has has lost 7 games the last two seasons combined and 3 of them are against UCF. None more excruciating than the 31-30 home loss earlier this season, where they had a 30-14 lead, didn’t score in the 2nd half and botched the clock when they were driving for a potential game-winning field goal.
Sometimes teams can lose their edge when an opponent loses a player like Milton, but that’s not going to happen with the revenge that Memphis is playing with and a conference title on the line. They certainly didn’t let it affect them last week when they took on Houston without their star quarterback D’Eriq King.
I know there’s more to the Knights than Milton, as they got a ton of talent, but there’s no arguing the quarterback is the most important position on the field. When you from a Heisman contender under center to a backup with little experience, things aren’t going to go as smoothly. Darriel Mack Jr. will get the nod and he did start the win over ECU earlier this year and played the 2nd half last week against the Bulls. He’s arguably a better runner than Milton, but he’s only completed 48.8% of his pass attempts and hasn’t thrown a touchdown. Keep in mind that’s against two pretty bad defenses in USF and East Carolina.
I just don’t think the UCF defense will be able to hold up and you can count on Memphis looking to score every time they touch the ball after blowing that big lead earlier this season. I also think this Tigers team has something special going. It would have been easy for this team to just go through the motions after starting 1-3 in league play, but they rallied the troops and can win a title and finally put an end to this UCF winning streak.
Seeing how this line has already dropped quite a bit since it opened, I think we could see this line continue to shrink closer to a pick’em, so grab the field goal why you can if you like the Tigers. Give me Memphis +3!