Florida is a program in transition, with Billy Napier poised to take over as head coach following the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl that will be played in Tampa on December 23rd. They’ll take on the University of Central Florida, which went 8-4 in former Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn’s first season with the Knights.
Greg Knox, the Gators’ running backs coach and special teams coordinator, will coach Florida in his last game with the team as Napier prepares to name his own staff. That being said, let’s have a look at both teams and how they arrive to this UCF vs Florida showdown so you can bet against their College Football Bowl odds.
C0llege Football Betting Analysis for UCF Knights Vs Florida Gators – Gasparilla Bowl Odds
UCF Knights Preview
The Knights, hailing from the AAC, will have a lot to prove against an SEC foe from the same state, and Malzahn shouldn’t have any problem with motivation to defeat a team from his previous conference. Even it comes against a diminished 6-6 Florida squad that had to defeat Florida State in their last game just to get bowl eligible.
After an opening game 35-31 win over Boise State in Malzahn’s debut, UCF fell to 3-3 after getting blown out 56-21 by College Football Playoff semifinalist Cincinnati. They have since won five of their last six contests.
Offensively, the Knights run a balanced attack, averaging 211 yards through the air and 189 on the ground, picking up 5.3 yards a carry. While UCF didn’t stand out nationally on either side of the ball, they were able to hold opposing quarterbacks to a pass completion rate of under 60 percent while picking off 11 passes on the season.
Florida Gators Preview
Entering 2021, the Gators were coming off an SEC Championship game appearance. After six games of the current season, they still found themselves at 4-2 and ranked 20th following a 42-0 blowout win over hapless Vanderbilt. Florida lost their next four conference contests, and Dan Mullen was fired after a 24-23 loss to Missouri, which put the Gators at 2-6 in the SEC.
Florida averaged over 470 yards a game in total offense, including 210 on the ground, while gaining 5.5 yards per carry. However, 13 interceptions by quarterback Emory Jones eventually doomed the Gators and Mullen.
Florida’s main point of vulnerability is a rushing defense that allowed almost 154 yards per game and over 4.3 yards an attempt.
Betting Lines and Odds at MyBookie Online Sportsbook
- Spread: Florida -6.5 (-110), UCF +6.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Florida -245, UCF +195
- Total: 55.5 (-110 o/u)
Gasparilla Bowl Betting Preview and Pick
Florida limped to the end of the season. Still, it rebounded to pull out a win against a 5-7 Florida State team. The big question is whether UCF can mount a big enough challenge against a Power Five conference team to come away with a statement victory.
The Knights have a lot to prove, and recent history has shown that Group of Five teams tend to bring a lot more motivation to these clashes.
With 33 sacks on the season, UCF can bring enough pressure to make Jones feel uncomfortable in the pocket, so look for him to continue to struggle with errant throws. That could be enough of a difference-maker to give the Knights the edge for an outright win.
Betting Pick: UCF +6.5 and Moneyline +195