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The UCF Knights might have taken a step back this season, but they remain an overwhelming favorite to end 2019 on a winning note as they square off against the Marshall Thundering Herd at the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa. UCF still boasts an impressive offense but struggled to contain opposing teams, resulting in a truly ugly ATS stretch to end the season.

Gasparilla Bowl Matchup Information
  • Spread: UCF -17.5
  • Total: 61.5
  • Date/Time: December 23, 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Tampa, Florida
  • Stadium: Raymond James Stadium
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • UCF vs Marshall Matchup Report & Updated Odds

Gasparilla Bowl Odds Analysis

UCF opened as a 16.5-point favorite but the line quickly shifted to -17.5 and has remained there ever since. The total of 61.5 is a 2-point increase from the opener.

UCF News & Notes

It’s never too early to make a statement for next season – and the Knights will be looking to do just that after being shut out of a New Year’s Six bowl appearance for the first time since 2016. Bettors are similarly shell-shocked after watching UCF cover just two of its final nine games – a stretch that included SU losses to Pitt (at -9), Cincinnati (at -3.5) and Tulsa (at -15).

But while concerns over UCF’s defensive shortcomings are legit – the team allowed 27-plus points six times this year, after doing so just seven times the previous two seasons combined – this team can still score with the best of them. And QB Dillon Gabriel will be the focal point for the Knights after throwing for nearly 3,400 yards with 27 touchdowns on the season.

Marshall News & Notes

The Thundering Herd have taken a similar path to Raymond James Stadium as their opponents, posting an impressive W-L record but making spread bettors seethe. Marshall’s previous two SU losses came in games in which it was favored, and its worst defeat of the season came in a 52-14 thumping at the hands of the visiting Cincinnati Bearcats, who were favored by only 4 points.

But while the Knights showed surprising defensive cracks during the regular season, it isn’t clear whether Marshall has the talent to capitalize in Tampa. The Thundering Herd averaged just over 200 passing yards per game (95th in FBS) while quarterback Isaiah Green struggled for most of the season, completing just 57.5 percent of his attempts with 14 TDs and nine INTs.

Betting Pick: OVER

The Knights and Thundering Herd both own top-40 scoring defenses, but that won’t matter here. Look for UCF to set the tone in this one, which should mean plenty of big plays and trips to the end zone for both sides.

Shark Bites
  • UCF is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 games.
  • Marshall is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games.
  • The UNDER is 4-1 in UCF’s last 5 playoff games as favorite.
UCF is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 games.away Marshall is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games.home The UNDER is 4-1 in UCF’s last 5 playoff games as favorite.away