- Marshall is a 17.5-point underdog against UCF in the 2019 Gasparilla Bowl (December 23)
- The Thundering Herd are 6-0 ATS in their last six bowl games
- Read below for the odds and how to bet on Monday’s matchup
Marshall (8-4, 6-2 Conference USA) and UCF (9-3, 6-2 AAC) faceoff in the Gasparilla Bowl on Monday, December 23 (2:30 PM EST). The Thundering Herd are getting 17.5 points at Raymond James Stadium.
Both teams enter this matchup playing confident football, with Marshall having won six of its last seven games and UCF winning five of its last six.
The Thundering Herd have done very well in bowls under coach Doc Holliday, but UCF is an offensive juggernaut. What is the best bet in the Marshall vs UCF odds?
Marshall vs UCF Odds
|Marshall||+17.5 (-110)||+600||O 61.5 (-110)|
|Central Florida||-17.5 (-110)||-1000||U 61.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Dec. 18th.
UCF Heavily Favored
The Knights are being listed as heavy 17.5-point favorites over Marshall in the Gasparilla Bowl. The large spread is due to UCF having one of the best offenses in the country. The Knights rank fourth in total offense (536.6 yards per game) and sixth in scoring offense (43 points per game).
A big reason the team is so good offensively is the play of QB Dillon Gabriel. The freshman pivot has passed for 3,393 yards and 27 touchdowns this season to go with just seven interceptions. He has a plethora of talented wide receiver targets, including Gabriel Davis, who has over 1,000 receiving yards.
Marshall is outmatched in almost every area in this matchup, but they do bring a solid rush attack. While still not as good as UCF, the Herd are averaging just under 200 rushing yards per game. In seven of their eight wins this season, Marshall had over 170 rushing yards. That bodes well against a UCF rush defense allowing close to 150 yards on the ground per game.
Turnover Margin Will Be Key
Marshall has won games this season by securing the football on offense and forcing turnovers on D. They’ve won the turnover battle in every game except their season opener. They will need to continue that trend if they want to have any shot at beating the Knights.
— Marshall Football (@HerdFB) December 10, 2019
UCF has been done in by turnovers in their three losses this season, including in their most recent defeat to Tulsa where the Golden Hurricane defense clamped down on the freshman Gabriel. He was sacked six times and threw two interceptions in a 34-31 loss. Marshall has 34 sacks this season, so getting to Gabriel and forcing him into tough spots will be key.
UCF has also been one of the most penalized teams this season. The Knights are averaging over eight penalties per game, so Marshall has a good chance to capitale on mistakes by its opponent.
Marshall Has Strong Bowl History
Marshall has a history of playing well in bowl games. The Thundering Herd are 12-2 all-time in bowl games and 6-0 under current head coach Doc Holliday. Marshall beat South Florida 38-20 in the Gasparilla Bowl last season and haven’t lost a bowl game since 2004.
— Keith Morehouse (@KeithMorehouse) December 21, 2018
UCF hasn’t been good in bowl games of late, sporting a 1-3 record in its last four bowls dating back to 2014. The Knights beat Auburn in the 2017 Peach Bowl, but have suffered losses to LSU, Arkansas State and NC State in various bowls over the last four years.
The Thundering Herd have covered the spread in six straight bowl games, while UCF is 1-3 ATS in its last four bowls.
UCF’s offense is very dangerous, but Marshall is still a top-50 defensive team that beat four bowl-bound teams in the second half of the season. The Thundering Herd always come to play in bowl games and have the tools to keep this one from getting out of hand.
Marshall QB Isaiah Green isn’t as talented as UCF’s Gabriel, but the Herd rely more on their run game and are capable of scoring on the ground against this Knights’ rush defense.
UCF may still win by double digits, but Marshall’s strong turnover differential and Bowl history under Holliday make them a solid bet to cover this large spread.
Pick: Marshall +17.5 (-110)
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