College Football Betting Guide: Boca Raton Bowl

The 16th-ranked BYU Cougars drew the UCF Knights in a high-scoring bowl game. Who has the upperhand?

Nothing says college football bowl season like the Boca Raton Bowl and an over/under of 72.5 points.

That's exactly what we have for the game between the 16th-ranked BYU Cougars and the UCF Knights.

We know that the polls love BYU, but where do the 10-1 Cougars land in numberFire's power rankings? Even better! They're the 6th-best team in the nation and possess a nERD score of 21.85, meaning we'd expect them to best an average opponent on a neutral field by more than 3 touchdowns.

The Knights, though unranked, are a good team in their own right with a nERD of 9.26 to rank 34th in the country, and they've won four of their past five games. The only loss came by only 3 points against the Cincinnati Bearcats, who are 7th in the nation and 18th in our power rankings.

BYU's lone loss came two games ago against undefeated Coastal Carolina, who is ranked 18th in the country and 14th in our power rankings. They lost by less than a touchdown, 22-17.

The point spread at FanDuel Sportsbook is just 6.5 points in favor of the Cougars, but the raw nERD differential is 12.59 points.

Let's dig in.

Game Overview

Here's a snapshot of each team's pass and rush offense and defense ranks, based on adjusted passing yards per attempt and rushing yards per carry allowed.

Central Florida Knights101063359
Brigham Young Cougars231822

Okay, so, we have two top-10 passing games based on adjusted passing yards per attempt here. In terms of passing yards per game, UCF ranks second at 373.0 yards per game, and BYU is 11th with 322.8.

Both teams also are top-tier in rushing efficiency, but the biggest discrepancy comes on the defensive side of the ball, particularly with Central Florida's pass defense.

If we look at each team's predicted points added per play, per, the Knights add 0.34 predicted points per play on offense and allow 0.19 defensively for a net score of 0.15.

BYU is all the way out at 0.46 offensively and 0.08 defensively, a net of 0.38. BYU's offense sits second in the country in predicted points per play added on offense, behind only Alabama (among teams with at least five games).

Algorithm-Based Bets

Our detailed game projections are fairly big on the Cougars.

There's not enough value on the over/under to make a recommendation, but the spread of 6.5 points is too narrow, given the nERD discrepancy. The Cougars covered that spread in 57.6% of our simulations for an expected return of 10.0%.

The better bet, however, is just the Cougars' moneyline at -260. They won 78.1% of the simulated games, and our algorithm views that as a three-star bet.