UCF vs


at Annapolis MD
Wed, Dec 28
11:00 AM Pacific
Rotation: 245
Odds: Duke -3.5, Total: 62.5

Game Analysis

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Lean – Central Florida (+3.5)  33   Duke  32

Duke had a great season under first-year head coach Mike Elko, exceeding low expectations with an 8-4 straight up record and an 8-3 ATS mark against FBS Opponents. UCF is 9-4 and was a slightly better team than Duke over the course of the season but the Golden Knights have gone from a favorite to an underdog of more than a field goal due to uncertainty about the health of UCF QB John Rhys Plumlee, the defection of their leading receiver, and 3 starters missing for the Knights’ defense. I think the line movement was too much.

Rhys Plumlee led the Knights in rushing this season and totaled 909 yards on 123 runs after taking out the sacks. He was limited at the end of the regular season by a hamstring injury that he as able to play with but perhaps affected his running – although he did run for 133 yards against USF after running just once against Navy. It’s been quite a while since UCF’s last game and my guess is that Plumlee’s hamstring is just fine by now. Losing leading receiver Ryan O’Keefe (transferred to BC) is most likely going to be a positive, as O’Keefe averaged only 7.0 yards per target with a 44% success rate, which is well below the average of all receivers on the team. If O’Keefe not being on the team means more targets for Baker and Hudson, who combined for 9.3 yards per target and a 54% success rate then the Knight’s offense should be better off. UCF’s offense is 0.5 yppl better than average and I project 448 yards at 6.3 yppl for the Knights in this game against a Duke defense that 0.2 yppl worse than average.

Duke’s offense rates the same as their opponent, as the Blue Devils averaged 6.3 yppl against teams that would combine to allow 5.8 to an average offense and UCF’s defense was 0.4 yppl worse than average for the season. However, that average rating was skewed by the 10.3 yppl that they allowed to Tulane in the AAC Championship game. UCF’s median defensive performance was slightly better than average. The defense will likely be hurt by the absence of CB Davonte Brown (transfer) and S Divaad Wilson, who opted out to prepare for the NFL draft. I value those two at 1.9 points. Not having starting LB Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste could be an upgrade, as the Knights defense was better in the 3 games that he missed this season and new starter Walter Yates played a lot (just 7 fewer tackles than Jean-Baptiste had). I project 436 yards at 7.0 yppl for Duke in this game.

Overall, Duke has a slight advantage from the line of scrimmage but UCF has better special teams (their place kicker is 1.05 points per game better). The math favors Duke by just 0.5 points after adjusting for the players that UCF will be without and UCF applies to a 68-22 ATS situation that plays on teams off 3 spread losses while Duke applies to a 31-85 ATS bowl situation that applies to teams off 3 or more spread wins. I think recent results have influenced the line too much and I’ll lean with UCF at +3 points or more.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • UCF
  • Duke


  • Run Plays 41.3 32.4
  • Run Yards 240.8 181.5
  • YPRP 5.8 5.6


  • Pass Comp 20.8 20.2
  • Pass Att 31.9 33.4
  • Comp % 65.0% 60.4%
  • Pass Yards 238.9 239.5
  • Sacks 2.3 1.6
  • Sack Yards 11.3 10.3
  • Sack % 6.6% 4.5%
  • Pass Plays 34.2 35.0
  • Net Pass Yards 227.6 229.2
  • YPPP 6.7 6.5


  • Total Plays 75.4 67.4
  • Total Yards 468.3 410.7
  • YPPL 6.2 6.1


  • Int 0.7 0.4
  • Int % 2.1% 1.3%
  • Fumbles 0.8 0.9
  • Turnovers 1.5 1.3
  • Points 34.4 23.2
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