The UCF Knights will look to stay undefeated and improve to 4-0 this weekend when the host the Pitt Panthers (2-2) on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is set for 3:30 PM PM EST at Bright House Networks Stadium and the game will be available on ESPNU.
Taking a look at the Week 5 college football odds, Central Florida opened as a 14.5-point home favorite earlier this week. That line has increased slightly after early betting, as the Knights are currently listed at -15. The total for the game is sitting at 66 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: UCF vs Pitt
The Panthers lost a close game against the North Carolina Tar Heels last weekend, choking away a touchdown lead at the half to fall 38-35 and drop back to .500 on the season. Pitt was up 28-21 at the intermission before getting outscored 17-7 in the final two quarters. QB Kenny Pickett has been average at best, throwing for 580 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions. However, RB Qadree Ollison has picked up the slack for the rest of the offense, rushing for 355 yards and four touchdowns. The Panthers are currently averaging 212.3 yards on the ground per game, which is 35th overall nationwide.
Pitt hasn’t looked all that great defensively, allowing opponents to score an average of 28.8 points on almost 400 total yards per game. LB Quintin Wirginis has been one of the lone bright spots on D for the Panthers, racking up 28 tackles in four games from his Outside Linebacker position.
UCF continues to just reel off wins, beating Florida Atlantic 56-36 last weekend to improve to 3-0 on the year. The Knights haven’t lost a game since December 2016 after going undefeated last season and opening their 2018-19 campaign with victories over Connecticut, SC State, and FL Atlantic. QB McKenzie Milton has been playing great, completing 64.1 percent of his passes for 895 yards and nine touchdowns. UCF has been almost unstoppable on the ground, averaging a ridiculous 283.7 rushing yards per game (7th overall).
On the other side of the ball, the Knights have played very strong defense over the past several weeks. UCF is currently allowing just 17.7 points per game despite giving up an average of 396.7 total yards to opposing offenses. LB Pat Jasinki leads the way for the Knights on defense, as the Senior has already made 26 tackles.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: UCF -15
Pitt has now lost six of their last eight road games while really struggling against the run, allowing an average of 191.0 rushing yards per game (100th overall). This doesn’t bode well for them heading into a matchup with UCF, as the Knights have been torching teams on the ground this season. I think this could be a spot where they find a way to eclipse the 300 yard rushing mark in a single game. McKenzie Milton has also played great, so I expect the Panthers to give up 45+ points easily in this contest- especially after allowing the Tar Heels to score 38 last weekend. While UCF has been giving up a lot of total yards per game, they have managed to find a way to keep teams out of the end zone for the most part.
Click here for more free NCAAF picks from our top rated handicappers.
The Panthers are just 7-19-1 ATS over their past 27 non-conference games, 3-9-1 ATS in their past 13 games in September, and 2-3-2 ATS over their past 7 road games. UCF, on the other hand, has been fantastic against the spread lately. The Knights are 5-1 ATS in their last six games in September, 4-1 ATS in their last five games on grass, and 4-1 ATS over their past five games overall.
I am still slightly concerned about the possibility of an upset or a close game in this one, especially when taking in the Panthers track record as a huge underdog over their past 15 games. Not only did Pitt knock off Miami and Clemson in 2017 and 2016 respectively, they have also gone 9-3-1 ATS over their past thirteen games as a double-digit underdog. Still, I think that UCF is clearly the play here. The Knights haven’t lost a game since 2016 (!) and are currently averaging 7.29 yards per play on offense. While the Panthers will certainly be able to put some points on the board, UCF has been above average in terms of scoring defense and will likely be able to separate themselves in the second half. I’ll lay the 15 points and take the home favorite in this one.