Temple vs. UCF odds, line, start time: Picks, predictions from expert who’s 5-1 on Knights, Owls games

In perhaps the biggest game of the season (so far) in the AAC, the UCF Knights host the Temple Owls on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET with first place in the East Division at stake. Central Florida is chasing its second straight undefeated season, another New Year’s Day bowl game and the chance to garner the attention of the College Football Playoff committee. Meanwhile, the gritty Owls have recovered from an 0-2 start to win five of their past six. They would love nothing more than to steal UCF’s limelight and perhaps cement their own spot in the AAC title game.

The Knights are 10.5-point favorites and the over-under for total points scored is 60.5 in the latest UCF vs. Temple odds. Before you make any UCF vs. Temple picks, check out what SportsLine expert Emory Hunt has to say. 

Hunt is the founder and CEO of Football Gameplan, which has been supplying analysis of all levels of football since 2007. The former college football running back joined SportsLine in 2016 and has provided his followers with winning seasons in college and pro football. 

Hunt is having another solid season for SportsLine members and he has a keen eye for the tendencies of these two programs. In fact, he boasts a mark of 5-1 in spread picks involving Temple or Central Florida over the past two seasons.

In Week 4, Hunt advised SportsLine members that UCF would have too much firepower for Florida Atlantic and recommended backing the Knights as two-touchdown favorites. The result: They pulled away for a 56-36 victory, and anyone who followed Hunt’s advice booked another winner. 

Now, Hunt has analyzed Central Florida vs. Temple from every angle and released a strong point-spread selection that is available only at SportsLine. 

He knows Central Florida again boasts one of the most explosive offensive units in the country, averaging 537 yards (No. 6 nationally) and 44.4 points (No. 5). The Knights came out a bit sluggish against East Carolina last week, but pulled away for a comfortable 37-10 road victory. 

The normally reliable defense yielded 496 yards of total offense, but it was opportunistic in forcing five turnovers and capitalizing on them. Nate Evans returned a fumble 94 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to help the Knights pull away. Greg McCrae added a late 74-yard touchdown run to cap a 316-yard ground effort by Central Florida, which overcame 14 penalties to post another convincing win. 

Even so, there’s no guarantee the Knights will cover against a Temple club that has quietly emerged as perhaps their biggest threat to another AAC title. 

Bad breaks and inconsistent play caused Temple (5-3) to drop to its first two games of the season, both at home, but the Owls have recovered with a flourish. Behind a physical, solid defense and an increasingly productive offense, Temple has regained the form that has made it one of top-tier teams in the conference over the past few seasons. 

The Owls trailed most of the way last week, but rallied to beat Cincinnati in overtime. Anthony Russo tied the game with 49 seconds left on a touchdown pass to Brandon Mack, then hit Isaiah Wright with a 25-yard winner in overtime.

The Owls haven’t allowed more than 17 points to any conference opponent. 

We can tell you Hunt is leaning toward the over, but his much stronger play is on the side. He has scoured every aspect of this matchup and unearthed the critical x-factor that causes one side of the spread to hit hard. He’s only sharing at SportsLine.

Who covers in Temple vs. Central Florida? And what critical x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump on Thursday, from an accomplished handicapper who’s hitting 83 percent of his picks involving these teams.

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