LSU vs. UCF Fiesta Bowl Prediction
The UCF Knights bring their incredible winning streak into Tuesday’s New Year’s Day Fiesta Bowl when they play the LSU Tigers at 1:00 p.m. ET. Do the Knights have an upset in them to keep their winning streak alive or will the Tigers not only end the streak but cover as a favorite as well?
273 LSU Tigers vs. 274 UCF Knights
1:00 p.m. ET, Tuesday, January 1, 2019
State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Public Betting Trends
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetNow.eu, the Tigers are 7-point favorites to beat the Knights. The total, meanwhile, sits at 58 points. As of this writing, 59% of the public betting tickets wagered on this matchup are on the Knights.
The Athletic's Bruce Feldman reports that Greedy Williams will not play in the Fiesta Bowl. LSU will be a shell of themselves against UCF with tons of players not playing. Potential top-15 pick Williams is the headliner, but the Tigers will also be without Kristian Fulton, Kelvin Joseph, K'Lavon Chaisson, Ed Alexander, Breiden Fehoko and won't have starting ILB Jacob Phillips for the first half. That's nearly half of the starting defense.
UCF QB coach Jeff Lebby did not rule out the possibility of junior QB McKenzie Milton (leg) being able to play at some point next season. "Yeah, I think so," Lebby said Saturday according to ESPN's Josh Weinfuss "We'll kind of wait and see. I think it's day-to-day with him. That's just the reality of it, and working through it all with him and our medical staff and seeing where it goes." Milton, who suffered a horrific leg injury during the team's win over USF in late November, has undergone five surgical procedures since. The junior quarterback will undergo another procedure, one that will focus on the nerves in his right leg, next month. Since Milton has yet to even begin the rehab process, it's difficult to forecast whether or not he'll be able to play in 2019 (or take a medical redshirt).
The Tigers are just 2-5 against the spread in their last seven bowl games and are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight non-conference matchups.
The Knights are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games overall and are 5-2 at the betting window in their last seven non-conference games.
Betting against the Knights has become a fool’s errand (I should know since I took Memphis in both of its meetings with UCF this year and watched the Tigers collapse in the second half of both contests). There’s no question LSU is more battle-tested having gone through one of the most grueling schedules in the nation and the Tigers could dominate this game in the trenches. That said, the Tigers will be without star cornerback Greedy Williams, starter Kristian Fulton and backup Kelvin Joseph. The defensive line will also be without two key pieces and with so many defensive players out for LSU, communication could be an issue. Thus, I like the over. UCF plays fast, which should either lead to quick scores or three-and-outs, which puts LSU’s dominant running game back on the field. LSU should get into the 30s and with the defensive players out for the Tigers, I wouldn’t be totally shocked if UCF did as well.
Playstation Fiesta Bowl Prediction: LSU/UCF over 58