College Football Picks: Central Florida vs. Florida International

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 6:35 PM GMT

The UCF Knights were very impressive on the offensive end in their season opener, as they prepare to take on the FIU Golden Panthers Friday night. How do we plan on profiting with our college football picks in this Friday Night battle?

Let’s take a closer look at the College Football odds for this non-conference matchup at FIU Stadium, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network.

Impressive opener

Central Florida captured a 38-7 victory over Akron as 24-point home favorites last Thursday, while going UNDER the betting total of 55.5. The Knights outgained the Zips by 226 yards in the season opener for both teams. 

The Knights are 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS as favorites of 21.5 to 31 points since 2011, with the OVER going 3-2 in that situation. 

Discouraging result 

Florida International is certainly in a rebuilding year, as it suffered a 43-10 blowout loss to Maryland as 21-point road underdogs last Saturday, as the team returned just five primary starters from a year ago.

The Golden Panthers had a school-record 13 players that received their first collegiate start in the contest. 

Throwing the football around 

College football handicappers have taken notice of Knights signal-caller Blake Bortles, as the junior finally went past the 300-yard barrier when passing for 314 against Akron—his previous career-best was 277 yards. 

It’s also important to point out that Bortles has thrown 16 touchdown passes since his last interception on Oct. 27 of last season. He leads all FBS quarterbacks in throwing 198 passes without a pick heading into this in-state rivalry game. 

Hilliard and Medlock must lead the way 

In having one of the nation’s youngest teams, FIU is going to rely heavily on quarterbacks E.J. Hilliard and Jake Medlock, as the duo provided 97 percent of the school’s passing yards in 2012. 

The Golden Panthers should definitely get up for this game from a motivational standpoint, considering 82 percent of its roster is from the state of Florida.

[gameodds]6/238956/?r3=43-19-349/us&r-1=19-349/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers place their College Football picks on the total, as the Knights went OVER the total in five of their seven road games a season ago—a trend that should continue with an experienced offense returning and slight drop off in terms of its talent on the defensive end. 

College Football Pick: Over 53