- UCF has won their first two games by a combined score of 110-14
- Stanford is coming off an ugly 42-20 loss at USC last week
- Both teams starts QBs sat out last week, but should be ready this Saturday (Sep. 14, 2019)
Central Florida has had an impressive start to the season, winning their first two games by a combined score of 110-14.
But routing Florida A&M and FAU only counts for so much. This week, the degree of difficulty increases as Stanford visits Spectrum Stadium (Sat., Sep 14, 3:30 PM ET).
With both starting quarterbacks ailing, who has the edge on the spread in this game? Let’s take a closer look:
Stanford vs UCF Betting Odds
|Team||Point Spread at Bovada*||Moneyline||Total|
|Stanford Cardinal||+7 (-105)||TBD||58 (-110)|
|UCF Knights||-7 (-115)||TBD||58 (-110)|
*Odds taken September 9, 2019.
Central Florida Stomps Florida Atlantic
Nobody was overly surprised when Central Florida crushed Florida A&M, 62-0, but a 48-14 win over Florida Atlantic is noteworthy, especially on the road. It’s all the more impressive considering starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush didn’t even play in the game. Backup Dillon Gabriel wasn’t asked to do too much, going just 7/19 for 245 yards and two TDs.
The Knights had themselves a day on the ground as they compiled 312 rushing yards and five touchdowns, completely eviscerating the Owls defense. The also added another 262 yards through the air.
Over the last year-plus, this team has shown that, even with Scott Frost moving on, the program is still in great shape under Josh Heupel.
Stanford Stumbles at USC
The Cardinal had a big win over Northwestern in their opener but that excitement was short-lived after Stanford got crushed by the USC Trojans in their second contest. The Cardinal were without starting quarterback K.J. Costello and, while the Trojans were without their starter (J.T. Daniels) as well, it was USC that adapted better.
Of great concern has to be the Cardinal defense, which was picked apart by true freshman Kedon Slovis, who went 28-33 for 377 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. The Trojans added another 115 yards on the ground.
Defense is rarely a weakness for Stanford, so this was a really bad sign. Now they’ll have to pick up the pieces after a rivalry game and travel across the country to Orlando, which is a surprisingly challenging place to play.
They also have to be careful not to lose focus and look ahead to next week’s big showdown with No. 15 Oregon.
UCF Subs Quarterbacks Without Issue
Few programs can swap in and out quarterbacks like the Knights do. They lost Mackenzie Milton late last season and switched to Darriel Mack, who was solid until he injured his ankle in the offseason.
Then Heupel turned to Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush in the opener but opted for freshman Dillon Gabriel in Week 2 when Wimbush wasn’t 100%.
The good news is Mack has been medically cleared to play in Week 2, Wimbush should be available as well, and Gabriel is a combined 16-30 for 372 yards, five passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and no picks through the first two games of the season.
One way or another, Heupel will make sure his team has a good option under center.
What’s The Best Bet?
It looks like Stanford will get Costello back and UCF will have options at QB. Neither team should be hampered too badly by injuries. That’s why we see the Stanford vs UCF odds up on the board already. If sportsbooks were truly concerned about either QB situation, they would hold off on posting the line.
My bigger concern, though, is the Stanford defense, which was awful last week. They’re also in a potential flat spot.
It might be odd to expect a team to be flat after a blowout loss, but the Cardinal played USC last week and have Oregon next week in a huge Pac-12 showdown. They’re also on the road here and they are just 6-5 in their last 11 road games.
On the flip side, UCF should be up for this game as they’re still looking for credibility on a national stage. That’s exactly what this game represents, even if Stanford isn’t what it once was.
Beyond motivation, it looks like Central Florida is the better of the two teams by a good margin right now. They’ll drag the Cardinal into an uptempo shootout which suits their prolific offense. Stanford won’t be able to keep up. Lay the points with the Knights.
Pick: UCF -7 (-115)
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