After posting an unblemished 13-0 mark two years ago under former head coach Scott Frost and backing that up with a stellar 12-1 mark in Year 1 of the Josh Heupel era last season, the Central Florida Knights are clearly an elite program that can play with any team in the nation, even if they still don’t get the respect they deserve from the college football powers that be.
No matter, UCF will be looking to make another big statement when they take to the gridiron for the upcoming 2019 regular season and you could cash in big by gathering as much information as possible on the Knights. Thankfully, that’s where I come in with my expert betting guide on the defending AAC conference champs and national championship longshots.
Let’s get started.
UCF Knights 2019 College Football Season Betting Guide
- ATS: 12-1 (W-L) / 9-4-0 (ATS) / 6-3-0 (Home) / 3-1-0 (Away) / 9-3-0 (Grass) / 0-1-0 (Turf)
- O/U: 5-8-0 (W-L) / 4-5-0 (Home) / 1-3-0 (Away) / 5-7-0 (Grass) / 0-1-0 (Turf) / 65.9 (Total)
Not only did the UCF Knights post a fantastic 12-1 record last season while finishing the regular season with a perfect 12-0 mark before falling to LSU 40-32 in the Fiesta Bowl, but the Knights also posted a stellar 9-4 ATS mark that was good enough for eighth nationally. UCF went a stellar 6-3 ATS at home and 3-1 ATS on the road while playing under their O/U totals eight times, including five times at home.
2018 Team Leaders
- Touchdowns: Greg McCrae (11)
- Rushing: Greg McCrae (1182)
- Passing: McKenzie Milton (2663)
- Receiving: Gabriel Davis (815)
- Interceptions: Richie Grant (6)
Now, junior running back Greg McCrae had a fantastic season as a junior a year ago by rushing for a team-high 1,182 yards while scoring a team-high 11 touchdowns. Junior signal-caller McKenzie Milton passed for 2,663 yards and was in the midst of his second straight fantastic season before he went down with a season-ending ACL tear after making 10 starts. Now, junior wide receiver Gabriel Davis hauled in 53 passes for a team-high 815 receiving yards and seven scores while now, junior defensive back Richie Grant recorded a team-high six interceptions.
- Total Yards: 522.9 / Rank 5
- Passing Yards: 257.5 / Rank 37
- Rushing Yards: 265.5 /Rank 8
- Points Scored: 43.2 / Rank 6
- Field Goal %: 85.7 / Rank 14
The Knights were nothing short of phenomenal on offense in Year 1 of the Josh Heupel era by finishing the 2018 campaign ranked fifth overall, 37th in passing, eighth in rushing and a stellar sixth in scoring (43.2 ppg).
- Total Yards: 435.5 / Rank 95
- Passing Yards: 213.1 / Rank 51
- Rushing Yards: 222.4 /Rank 117
- Points Allowed: 22.7 / Rank 36
- Field Goal %: 75 / Rank 70
Central Florida was also very solid, if not outstanding on defense in finishing 2018 ranked 95th overall, 51st against the pass, an uninspiring 117th against the run and a solid 36t in points allowed (22.7 ppg).
The UCF Knights have a lot of good things going for them as they head into year 2 of the Josh Heupel era. Central Florida returns four starters on the offensive line and they’ve got some outstanding talent at running back, wide receiver and in the defensive backfield where three starters return.
Unfortunately, there’s also some real worries surrounding UCF as they approach their 2019 regular season opener. While the Knights now have two talented dual-threat quarterbacks in former Notre Dame starter Brandon Wimbush and sophomore Darriel Mack Jr., I’m not sure either will be able to reach the same levels of excellence we saw out of McKenzie Milton the past two seasons.
While Mack Jr. started the final two games of the 2018 regular season and showed some real promise with an MVP performance of 348 yards passing and six combined touchdowns in the conference championship game against South Florida, he’s still pretty inexperienced and now he’s got some real competition from Wimbush who went 13-3 as a starter with the Fighting Irish. Central Florida also has some concerns at all three levels of their defense, so that could be a real challenge against their better conference rivals and in their Week 3 home date against Stanford.
My best guess is that the Knights have a bit of a drop-off, but not too much, simply because Josh Heupel is really talented and a great offensive mind. My crystal ball is telling me that somehow, someway, UCF reaches the double-digit win mark again in 2019!