Central Florida (12-0) is the underdog against Louisiana State (9-3) at in the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on Tuesday (January 1, 2019, 13:00ET).
The spread started at a healthy -7.5 points for the Tigers. They’ve gone a tempting 6-1 straight up as favorites this year, and 2-5-0 against the spread. The Knights have not been underdogs so far this season, so they have no record in this position.
UCF is defending a national title, and doing it without their star quarterback or the head coach that brought them their first.
Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton completed 59.2% of his attempts this season for 2,663 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also injured himself terribly late in the season, and updates of the most worrying kind (blood flow has been restored!) have been coming from his family. A sad end to a terrific career.
Greg McCrae gained 1,215 yards from scrimmage and rushed for 9 touchdowns, averaging an exceptional 9.0 yards per carry. The UCF rushing attack was among the best in the country, and they’ll need it without Milton.
The defense allowed 423.7 yards and 21.3 points per game, while Titus Davis led the team with 7 sacks this season.
In LSU’s second full season under head coach Ed Orgeron, things are looking pretty bright. A 9-3 season is nothing to shake a stick at, and other than the shutout loss to Alabama, the Tigers have a lot to be proud of in 2018.
Joe Burrow threw for 2,500 yards and 12 TD’s this season. He plays a striking game, far more willing to make aggressive throws and push the ball downfield than other recent LSU quarterbacks.He’s helped by one of the most talented skills corps in the country, with four-star running backs and wide recievers all over the field.
The defense is the real highlight of this squad, however. Two of the defensive backs, Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit, were consensus All-Americans. So was linebacker Grant Delpit, who scored five sacks this season. Together, the defense allowed just 20.9 points per game.
Fiesta Bowl Betting Advice
Both teams play extremely stingy defense, so bettors will be tempted to take the under. The under is a combined 10-14 in games featuring these two teams, which is not as attractive as you’d think. The over/under of this game is set at 54.5.
Personally, I like the points here. Both teams play great defense, and if Central Florida’s not the better team, it’s close. It all comes down to what they can achieve without McKenzie Milton, and I have faith in UCF’s depth.