By Stephen Nover

Tulsa plus 21 at Central Florida

I’m not seeing the mismatch here that the marketplace does in pushing this line up to three touchdowns.

Surface-wise we have this: Central Florida is a power and at home. Tulsa is off a 4-8 season and 0-1 this year.

I like the Knights. They were my biggest play two weeks ago and they came through smashing Georgia Tech, 49-21, as a 10-point road favorite. They have a stud QB, Dillon Gabriel, and lead the nation in total yards. But the Knights also have warts. They can be run on, ranking 65th in rush defense. Central Florida has discipline issues, too, having committed 27 penalties for 190 yards in just two games.

Central Florida also loses some of its home field luster as maximum capacity will be limited to 25 percent, which comes out to about 11,000 spectators.

Still, I wouldn’t go against the Knights if I didn’t believe I was getting good line value with a decent opponent. The Golden Hurricane were far better than their record last season. Their schedule was brutal with nine of the 12 games being against bowl teams. Tulsa outgained its eight American Athletic Conference opponents by more than 40 yards per game. The Golden Hurricane lost only one game last season by more than 21 points.

I was impressed by Tulsa’s defensive effort in its lone game this season two weeks ago. Oklahoma State beat Tulsa just 16-7, as 24-point home favorites. The Golden Hurricane held a strong Oklahoma State offense to 277 yards. Tulsa was in that game all the way to the end.

Defensive improvement makes Tulsa a sleeper. I’m not worried about Tulsa’s offense under innovative Philip Montgomery. The Golden Hurricanes averaged more than 35 points during Montgomery’s first three seasons. The upside is there, too, this season with senior QB Zack Smith, who started at Baylor before transferring to Tulsa, and good receivers.

Tulsa enters this matchup rested, refreshed and should be armed with a good game plan from Montgomery. The Golden Hurricane were scheduled to play Arkansas State last week. That game was postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak among the Arkansas State players.

The teams met last season in Tulsa and the Golden Hurricane upset the Knights as 15-point ‘dogs, 34-31.

(If you are interested in my sports service please email me at scriber26@gmail, or message me via Twitter. Thanks and best of luck!) 



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