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Knights face Mustangs: AAC title odds

Central Florida Knights Southern Methodist Mustangs

Coach O'Leary's Central Florida Knights can win the first American Athletic Conference title, and with some luck could end up in a BCS bowl.

But they'll have to do it on the road, in Dallas, against the Mustangs of SMU Saturday afternoon, and they'll have to play a little better than they did last Saturday against South Florida.

UCF is a perfect 7-0 in conference play, 10-1 SU, 7-4 ATS and ranked No. 16 in the BCS standings. With a victory the Knights could find themselves in New Orleans in January playing in the Sugar Bowl.

But UCF is coming off a sub-par performance in which it needed a late touchdown to beat the Bulls 23-20 as four-touchdown favorites.

On the home side of this match-up SMU had won four of its previous five games until it got skunked by Houston Saturday 34-0.

As of early this week many books were holding off on lining this game, because of the injury situation with Mustangs QB Garrett Gilbert. Watch for opening numbers at BetOnline.

The Knights will try to spoil to the party on Saturday; they are 7-4 ATS against the number this season, while the Mustangs are 5-6 ATS. Central Florida is 4-7 on the totals; Southern Methodist is 7-4.

View Central Florida Knights vs Southern Methodist Mustangs Odds and Stats.

This game matches up the No. 80 (Mustangs) and the No. 25 (Knights) teams in the league, according to our current NCAAF Power Rankings at OddsShark. A 41-21 result in favor of the Knights is predicted by handicapping models.

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Central Florida was a 23-20 winner in their most recent outing at home against South Florida. They failed to cover the 27-point spread as favorites, while the total score (43) made winners of UNDER bettors.

How They Match Up:
Offensively, the game matches up Southern Methodist's No. 71-ranked offense (28 PPG) against a Knights defense that ranks No. 17 at 20.18 PPG. The Mustangs passing attack has averaged 351.09 yards per game, more than the Knights give up through the air (229.36 YPG on average).

In comparing defenses, the Knights own the league's No. 14-rated front 7 in terms of stopping the run, allowing 116.4 yards per game when on the road. Southern Methodist, on the other hand, rates No. 110 this week in generating rushing yards at home.

A few Knights at Mustangs trends to consider:
Central Florida is 8-4 ATS in its last 12 games
Central Florida is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Central Florida's last 12 games
Central Florida is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Southern Methodist is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
Southern Methodist is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
Southern Methodist is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games at home
Southern Methodist is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games at home