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Florida vs. UCF prediction and pick for Thursday's Gasparilla Bowl. MonotoneFootbal joins us to preview the Gasparilla Bowl between Gators and the Knights while giving his best bets and predictions.
ANALYSIS

Florida vs. UCF Best Bet: Who Should You Be Backing in the Gasparilla Bowl?

These two teams have only met twice in their history, with Florida currently holding the 2-0 advantage. UCF successfully navigated the AAC, despite serious injury problems, to an 8-4 record and bowl game appearance. Florida had a very up and down season, with close games against teams like Alabama, but also had plenty of disappointing losses. 

Click here for the latest Florida vs. UCF for Thursday's Gasparilla Bowl

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Florida vs. UCF Prediction

I was initially high on UCF this year, even going as far as betting on their win total over 9.5 in the preseason. Losing Dillon Gabriel was a huge blow this team faced right off the bat, but they have since settled down and gotten back on track. Getting blown out by rival Cincinnati was tough, but they rallied and finished the season strong. 

Florida is a team I actually went the other way on, successfully cashing their season-long under. While I knew this team would struggle, losing multiple key starters to the NFL, I didn't realize they would struggle this much, barely making a bowl game. 

Emory Jones will also be making his final start for the University of Florida. It's been a rollercoaster this season, and he will be looking to make an impression for all of his potential suitors in the transfer portal. He's thrown for 2,563 yards this season with a less-than-stellar 19-to-13 touchdown to interception ratio. Additionally, he ran for 697 yards and four touchdowns. His dual-threat ability is what has made him special thus far. 

In comparison, UCF quarterback Mikey Keene has also been a bit underwhelming this season. While he was thrust into a lot of responsibility for a freshman, he threw for 1,586 yards with a 16-to-6 touchdown to interception ratio. They have really asked him to simply manage the game, and he's done just that. 

A Lot of people are really questioning how hard this Florida team is going to be trying. Toward the end of the season, it truly did look like this team had kind of mentally given up. Sold on the idea of national championship aspirations, who's gonna want this more? Feels like it's UCF to me. 

Being 7-point underdogs, UCF doesn't even have to win the game here, just keep it within a touchdown. While neither team has been very good against the spread this season, I have the true spread closer to 4.5 here. One of Florida's main weaknesses this season has been their rush defense, and that really is how UCF is gonna try to win this game. 

While Isaiah Bowser was this team's top back, Johnny Richardson has stepped in and led this team since Bowser went out. Richardson is averaging 6.9 rush yards per carry, compiling 693 rush yards on 101 attempts. This Florida team is missing numerous people to the transfer portal, injury, and now even the NFL draft. I'm expecting a close game but UCF should be able to cover 7 tonight. 

Florida vs. UCF Pick

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Stuart Durst, also known as @MonotoneFootbal on Twitter, is a writer and sports bettor specializing in the NFL, NBA and CFB. When he’s not writing for OddsChecker, he enjoys playing basketball and talking player props with his community.

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