Peach Bowl Prediction: UCF vs. Auburn

Last Updated: 2018-01-01

peach bowl free pickMonday’s Peach Bowl may be the most interesting game on the slate from a betting perspective. Yes, Auburn should win the game, but the line has been bet up to 11 and the total has jumped four points and is now sitting at 67.

This is the only game on Monday where one team is getting at least 60% of the bets and it’s no surprise that it’s Auburn who is getting it, as the Tigers are definitely more of a known quantity. The Knights are still a huge question mark to many bettors.

The Knights did play quite a few minor bowl teams and obviously won, defeating the likes of Memphis (twice), SMU and Navy. UCF’s biggest claim to fame is its offense, which averages 49.4 points per game, which is 16 more points than opponents allowed. UCF does like to run the ball more than they throw, as they averaged 39 rushes and 32 passes per game. The Knights averaged 5.2 yards per rush against teams who allowed 4.5 yards and threw for 10.5 yards per pass attempt against teams who allowed an average of 7.9.

UCF has better than average defensive numbers, but weren’t all that great against the run, allowing 4.4 yards per carry to teams who averaged 4.6 and held teams who averaged 30.1 points to 25.2. The Knights were a little better than average against the pass, but when you’re scoring nearly 50 points a game, you don’t have to be great on defense, just good enough to get a few stops each game and the offense takes care of the rest.

Auburn averaged 8.5 more points per game than their foes allowed and likes to run the ball first, averaging 46 rushes and 26 passes per game. The Tigers averaged 5.0 yards per carry against teams who allowed 4.3 yards and also had a much higher completion percentage and yards per pass attempt than opponents averaged.

Defensively, the Tigers were +13.2 in points allowed and held foes to 1.2 fewer yards per rush than they averaged and to 1.9 fewer yards per pass attempt than they averaged.

UCF’s strengths seem to play into the hands of Auburn, but given the extra time each team had to prepare, UCF is likely to do a few things differently.

Motivation is a question for both teams, with UCF coach Frost headed to Nebraska after the game and Auburn seeing a playoff berth slip away with a loss to Georgia in the championship game, the same Georgia team Auburn defeated 40-17 in November. Double-digit bowl favorites off a loss are 17-25-1 (40.5%) over the years, so the motivation question is probably legitimate.

Bowl teams who scored 60 or more points in their previous game are just 15-30 ATS, but 2-2 this year.

A better game to watch than bet, but since we’re playing every game will go ahead and take UCF plus the points and hope for the best in this one.

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