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College Football Picks Spotlight: UCF vs Houston

Any sports bettor knows full well that game totals are generally much higher for College Football across the board than the NFL. There is also a greater variance in where over/under lines can fall at the collegiate level. This has perhaps never been displayed more perfectly than on this week’s slate. From 42.5 in the Kentucky vs Georgia game to the massive total of 82.5 for UCF vs Houston, this week’s over/under lines have a range of a whopping 40 points. It’s a rare occasion to ever see the over/under line on a football game surpass 70, let alone 80. As a result, the American Athletic Conference showdown between UCF and Houston earns the right to be featured as this week’s College Football Picks Spotlight Game.

Dillon Gabriel and UCF's high-octane offense are a major factor behind the massive total in this week's College Football Picks Spotlight Game.
Credit: UCF Athletics

UCF vs Houston College Football Picks Spotlight Game

UCF Knights (3-2, 2-1 Away) vs. Houston Cougars (2-1, 1-1 Home)
Date: Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020
Time: 2 p.m. EST
Venue: TDECU Stadium – Houston, TX
Coverage: ESPN+
Attendance: About 10,000 people will be allowed to attend.

UCF vs Houston College Football Odds

Odds courtesy of MyBookie Sportsbook

Opening Lines (Las Vegas Consensus): UCF
Moneyline: UCF: -135 | HOU: +115
Spread: UCF: -2.5 (-115) | HOU: +2.5 (-105)
Total: 82.5 – Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

UCF vs Houston College Football Picks Spotlight game odds

UCF vs Houston College Football Picks

Even as I write this article, it’s still hard for me to comprehend a total of 82.5 for a football game. It’s safe to say that’s the result of combining two high-powered offenses against a pair of sub-par defenses. The opening odds for this College Football Picks Spotlight Game did not have the total above the 80-point threshold. 76.5 was the opening number out in Las Vegas, while UCF opened as a narrow 2-point road favorite. While the Knights have seen slight line movement in their favor on the spread, the total being driven up a full 6 points to is the true move of note.

UCF Knights Overview

While the true glory days of Central Florida football may no longer be upon us (there won’t be much clamoring for a two-loss UCF team to make the College Football Playoff), the Knights are still a very good football team. Their only blemishes on the season thus far have come against an underrated Tulsa team and a one-point loss at Memphis in a game that saw the teams combine for 99 total points and 1,501 yards of offense. That massive yardage total falls right in line with what UCF has been doing offensively all season. The Knights 646.8 yards per game is far and away the highest such mark in the country (Alabama ranks second at 566.4). They’ll need to keep pace with their season averages if this week’s College Football Picks Spotlight Game is to go over the total.

Quarterback Dillon Gabriel is a big reason why UCF has been so successful offensively. The sophomore leads the country in completions, passing yards (2,178), and touchdown passes (19). The Knights also boast the nation’s leading receiver in Marlon Williams who has 753 yards on 54 receptions. UCF also has a loaded backfield with Greg McCrae, Otis Anderson, and Betavious Thompson combining for over 800 yards rushing and 8 scores on the season to date.

UCF’s defense looks better than it is when compared with the other teams in the offense-first American Athletic Conference. It’s not every day that you see a team giving up over 33 points per game rank sixth in scoring defense in its conference. While the Knights lead the conference with 14 takeaways, no AAC team has allowed more passing touchdowns than UCF this season.

Houston Cougars Overview

It took Houston a bit longer than UCF to get their 2020 season off the ground due to COVID-19 cancellations and rescheduling. Outside of a lopsided second half against a top-10 opponent in BYU, the Cougars have failed to disappoint in their first three games. Dana Holgorsen essentially punted on the 2019 season in an effort to get his young players additional game reps. This combined with an influx of talented transfers has Houston poised to make some serious noise in the AAC this year. The Cougars will look to spring the upset as short home underdogs in this week’s College Football Picks Spotlight Game.

Junior quarterback Clayton Tune is arguably one of the most improved players in all of College Football at this juncture. He has averaged 315 passing yards per game, has a 66% completion percentage, and is tied with Gabriel for the AAC lead in yards per pass attempt. Wideout Marquez Stevenson has certainly helped the cause with his decision to return for his senior season. The speedster has 3 touchdown grabs in three games and is averaging 17.7 yards per catch. It is worth noting that Houston doesn’t run the football well. Their 3.1 yards per attempt ranks last in the AAC.

The Cougars are actually pretty decent defensively, at least by American Athletic Conference standards. One could argue that the over/under line for this College Football Picks Spotlight Game is predicated much more on what UCF is capable of offensively than Houston’s shortcomings as a defense. The strength of the Cougars defense is stopping the run, which doesn’t bode well in a matchup against the pass-happy Knights offense. While the defensive line is solid and Houston has generated 10 sacks as a team through three games, the secondary is far less intimidating. Houston is allowing 9.6 yards per pass attempt, the most in the AAC and seventh-most in the country.

  • UCF 2020 Betting Trends: 1-4 ATS; 4-1 to the Over
  • Houston 2020 Betting Trends: 2-1 ATS; 3-0 to the Over
  • Road teams are 6-0 ATS in the last six head-to-head meetings between UCF and Houston.
  • Houston is 2-5 ATS at home with Dana Holgorsen as head coach.
  • The Over has gone 13-2 in Houston’s last 15 games as an underdog of 7 points or fewer.

UCF vs Houston Statistics

  • UCF has averaged 45.2 points per game (PPG) this season (No. 1 in the AAC)
  • UCF has surrendered 33.4 PPG this season (No. 6 in the AAC)
  • Houston has averaged 37.3 PPG this season (No. 3 in the AAC)
  • Houston has surrendered 31.7 PPG this season (No. 3 in the AAC)

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