UCF Knights vs. Florida Gators Odds & Pick ATS

December 23, 7:00 PM EST

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
UCF +7/UF -7

The Group of 5 gets a shot at one of the big boys from the SEC when Central Florida challenges Florida in what amounts to the unofficial Sunshine State championship game, the Gasparilla Bowl, Thursday night in Tampa. The Knights are not the team they were a couple of seasons ago, while the Gators will play this game under an interim coach.

Which way are we going here with our free college football betting pick?

Gasparilla Bowl Betting Odds

College football's bowl season betting lines opened Florida as a 6.5-point favorite for this Gasparilla Bowl, with an over/under of right around 56.5. Early betting action then bumped the Gators to -7 and dipped that total to 55.5. According to Sagarin's ratings at USAToday.com, Florida should only be favored by five points for this game.

Gasparilla Bowl Betting Preview

Central Florida played 8-4 this season, 5-3 in the American Athletic Conference, to make a bowl for the sixth straight season. The Knights only started 3-3, with a win over Boise State but losses at Louisville, at Navy, and (badly) at eventual College Football Playoff qualifier Cincinnati. But UCF played 5-1 from there, finishing with an underwhelming 17-13 victory over South Florida back on Nov. 26. The Knights, as 17-point favorites, actually got out-gained by the Bulls 312-285. In fact, Central Florida got out-gained by eight of its last ten opponents. It's also just 3-7 ATS its last ten times out. UCF lost starting QB Dillon Gabriel to a shoulder injury back in September, but it is 6-3 with freshman back-up Mikey Keene. Florida, meanwhile, played 6-6 this season, just 2-6 in SEC play, and canned its head coach along the way. The Gators started 2-0 but never won back-to-back games after that. They gave eventual SEC champion and CFP qualifier Alabama a good scare in a 31-29 defeat, beat a decent Tennessee team, lost by a touchdown at Kentucky and at LSU, lost badly to CFP qualifier Georgia and South Carolina, and in overtime at Missouri. But with a bowl bid on the line, Florida beat rival Florida State in the season finale 24-21. So the Gators are back in a bowl for the fourth straight season. Florida led the Seminoles 24-7 before allowing FSU to score twice late, blowing the cover as a four-point favorite. The Gators out-gained Florida State 357-348. So Florida actually out-gained every opponent this season, including the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs, except the Gamecocks! Unfortunately, the Gators also posted a -8 turnover ratio, and that hurt. Florida is also 0-6 ATS its last six times out, losing three games it was favored to win. On the personnel front, the Gators will play this bowl without leading sack man Zachary Carter, who's sitting this one out. These two programs last met back in 2006, a 42-0 Florida home win. These teams played one common opponent this season; the Gators beat South Florida 42-20, out-gaining the Bulls by 369 yards, while the Knights defeated USF 17-13 but actually got out-gained by 27 yards.

College Football Betting Trends

  • Central Florida played 3-3 SU, 1-5 ATS against teams that made bowls this season.
  • Florida played 1-6 SU, 2-5 ATS against teams that made bowls this season.
  • Over the last six-plus seasons, the SEC is 11-4 SU, 9-5-1 ATS against the AAC.

Totals Report

The Over is 8-4 in UCF games this season, which are averaging 57 total points. The Under is 7-5 in Gators games this season, which are averaging 58 points.

UCF Knights vs. Florida Gators Predictions 12/23/21

Even with the tough season and the firing of the head coach Florida is still solidly the better team in this match-up. The Gators own the better running game and the better defense, and they played a much tougher schedule than Central Florida. As long as the turnovers don't pop up, Florida is going to win this game and cover this spread.   

Free Pick: 
Take the Gators -7