UCF continued its undefeated season last week by beating USF, the preseason AAC favorite, 49-42. The Knights now get a Memphis team in the Conference title Game that they already dealt with fairly easily. Because of that, UCF was a -7.5 point favorite early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The Knights did whatever they wanted in that first Game with McKenzie Milton throwing for 253 yards and running for 88 more, while they gained 350 yards on the ground as a team. Making it worse was that the Memphis offense didn’t show up, failing to get any ground Game going on 3.1 yards per carry, while Riley Ferguson threw three costly picks. That resulted in a 40-13 win for UCF after Memphis led 7-6 at the end of the first quarter. Without turnovers and a 91-yard touchdown run by Adrian Killins, things could’ve been a bit different.
While that’s the hope for Memphis, things could go the same because its defense is still near the bottom of the rankings. The Tigers allow just over 30 points per Game and close to 200 yards on the ground and 260 through the air. Their defense hasn’t really stopped anyone relevant this season as it’s been their offense that’s winning Games. But without turnovers, this Game should be a bit more interesting, especially on a neutral field in Boca Raton.
It’s unlikely Memphis will stop Milton this time around because no one has stopped him. Milton is completing just over 69 percent of his passes for 30 touchdowns and only six picks. While he hasn’t seen a great defense all season, that doesn’t matter because Memphis doesn’t have one. Throw in a solid ground Game between Milton and top RB Killins and the team is averaging 5.1 yards per carry. The Knights are averaging a nation-high 47.6 points per Game and head coach SCott Frost is set for a big contract at different school for a reason. With a win here, UCF could double its win total from a year ago, which isn’t a common statement, especially when a team reaches 12 wins.
But this Game still isn’t over because the Memphis offense is no slouch either, scoring 44.3 points per Game. The UCF defense is better statistically, allowing 22.5 points per Game, but in a matchup like this, a shootout can be expected, which is why the spread is where it’s at.
Riley Ferguson has thrown 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions and can’t turn the ball over for Memphis to have a chance. The other big thing is that the Tigers need to get something going from the ground Game between Darrell Henderson (9.1 yards per carry) and Patrick Taylor (12 touchdowns). If those guys have more success than the previous meeting, Memphis could be in business as that would keep the UCF offense off the field a bit longer. The Knights allow 4.2 yards per carry so that’s definitely an area that can be taken advantage of. Take away the Four turnovers that Memphis had and this Game could go similar to the UCF-USF one.
The Tigers are 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven Games, while the Knights are 0-3-1 ATS in their last Four vs. a team with a winning record. The under is a surprising 4-1-1 in the last six meetings. The over/under is an astronomical 84.5 at 5Dimes.
Our Pick – Memphis +7.5