Fiesta Bowl LSU Tigers vs. Central Florida Knights Pick - Odds and ATS Predictions

January 1, 1:00 PM EST

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
LSU Tigers -7.5

One of the top teams in the SEC will face the top Mid-Major program in the nation in this year's PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day. In a set 1 p.m. kickoff from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, the LSU Tigers face off against the undefeated Central Florida Knights. ESPN will carry the game nationally.

LSU vs. Central Florida Overview

LSU rode the roller coaster this season at 9-3 straight-up with an even 6-6 record against the spread. The Tigers were 2-5 ATS in seven games this season they closed as favorites, but they were able to cash a winning ticket in four of the five games they closed as underdogs. Saving the wildest game for last, they lost to Texas A&M 74-72 on Dec. 1 to cover as three-point road underdogs. The total for that game closed at 45.5 points, and it went OVER in six of LSU's final nine outings.

At times this season, defense drove the bus for LSU holding Georgia to 16 points and Mississippi State to a field goal. Other times, such as the track meet against the Aggies, it simply tried to outscore its opponent. Facing the best team in the nation outside a Power 5 conference, the Tigers are going to need some of both to end the season on a winning note. Overall, they averaged 34.6 points scoring with a points-allowed average of 20.9.

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Respect for Mid Majors is hard to come by, especially when you are talking about the College Football Playoff rankings. Following a SU 13-0 run through last season, the 12-0 Knights climbed as high as it could to secure a New Year’s Day bowl. Central Florida was also a good team to bet on this season at 9-3 ATS. With a 56-41 romp over Memphis as a one-point favorite in the AAC Championship, it has now covered in five of its last six games. The total stayed UNDER in four of those contests.

UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton was a huge part of the team’s success this season with 2,663 passing yards and 25 touchdown throws, but a severe leg injury in the season-ending win against South Florida paved the way for Darriel Mack Jr. to fill the void in that AAC title game against Memphis. He more than lived up to the task with 348 passing yards and two passing touchdowns. Greg McCrae rushed for 206 yards and another score on 24 carries in that game as another big part of one of the most potent offensive attacks in the country.

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LSU vs. Central Florida Betting Trends

  • The Tigers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven bowl games, and they have gone 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight nonconference games. The total has stayed UNDER in four of their last five neutral-site games.
  • The Knights have a 5-2 record ATS in their last seven nonconference games and they are 5-1 ATS in their previous six games coming off a straight up win. The total has stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in their last eight games against the SEC.

LSU vs. Central Florida Prediction 01/01/2019

LSU was once considered a playoff-caliber team, and they still remain one of the best teams in the nation, but this matchup is all about respect. UCF has beaten every team it has faced for two seasons in a row, including Auburn last season as a heavy underdog in a major bowl game.

Motivation is a critical handicapping factor when it comes to betting college bowls. I honestly believe that UCF goes on to win this game SU, but I will be more than happy to take the 7.5 points in a bet that the Knights cover.

Free Pick: 
Take Central Florida +7.5
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