Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Side & Total Picks

Jeff Grant

Thursday, December 26, 2013 1:04 PM GMT

The Baylor Bears and UCF Knights are both participating in their first BCS bowls, as the two teams prepare to meet in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Let’s take a closer look at the college football betting odds for this Big 12/American Athletic Conference matchup at University of Phoenix Stadium, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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Plenty of achievements

Baylor is enjoying the program’s first-ever 11-win season, Big 12 championship and BCS bowl game.

The Bears’ 36 wins over the last three-plus seasons is their most-ever for a four-year period in school history.

Since the start of the 2011 campaign, the team has compiled a dominating 9-0 SU and 6-3 ATS mark as favorites of 10.5 to 21 points, with the UNDER going 5-4 in that situation.

Playing on the big stage

UCF is the youngest program (1979) and school (1963) to reach a BCS bowl, as it prepares to make its fourth postseason appearance in the last five seasons.

The Knicks current eight-game winning streak is their longest in school history, but the team went 3-5 ATS over that span, while winning the statistical battle in the last seven.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the squad is 2-7 SU and 5-4 ATS as an underdog, with the OVER going 5-4 in that situation.

Expect some offensive fireworks

College football handicappers will have a definite interest in backing the Bears, as they rank first nationally in averaging 53.3 points and 624.5 yards per game.

Baylor is the only FBS school averaging 300-plus passing yards and 250-plus rushing yards this season.

Total players need to realize that the program has scored 26 touchdowns on drives of one minute or less.

Not intimidated

The Knights won all six of their road games this season, which should have the youthful roster prepared to play such a high-profile game on a neutral field.

UCF had just eight seniors on its roster—tied with the Virginia Cavaliers for the second fewest nationally.

Offensively, the team is just as balanced as its upcoming opponent, with junior quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Storm Johnson leading the way.

Also make sure to check out our:

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Picks: UCF Knights vs. Baylor Bears

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Knights for their college football picks, as they’ve covered the number in their last two opportunities as underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points.

Total players should anticipate a good amount of points being scored, with the OVER going 35-16-2 in the Bears’ last 53 games overall.