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College Football Betting Preview: Kent State Golden Flashes vs. UCF Knights

August 31, 2023


The Kent State Golden Flashes went from a spot in the MAC Championship game in 2021 to a record of 5-7 in 2022 which was their first losing record since the 2018 College Football season. This season they enter the year with an over/under win total of 2.5 games which is tied for the lowest over/under win total in college football this season. The Golden Flashes are projected to be the worst team in the MAC as they are +10000 to win the conference. After a disappointing season last year, Kent State made a change at head coach by hiring Kenni Burns who recently served as the running back coach for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Gus Malzahn has had a career resurgence during his time as the head coach for the UCF Knights compiling a record of 18-9 including last season’s 9-5 season in which he led the Knights to the AAC Championship game, however, UCF lost by a score of 28-45 against the Tulane Green Wave and ended the season with a loss in the Military Bowl against the Duke Blue Devils by a score of 13-30. This season the Knights enter the year with an over/under win total of 7 wins which would be their lowest win total during Malzahn’s tenure as head coach. UCF is switching conferences from the AAC to the Big 12 in which they are projected to be the 7th best team in the conference as they are +2500 to win the Big 12.

BookMaker has the UCF Knights listed as 37-point favorites at home against the Kent State Golden Flashes in week 1 of the college football season. UCF and Kent State have played each other four times before this matchup with both teams splitting the matchups while Kent State is 2-1 ATS in the last three games in the series. The most recent matchup occurred back in 2004 when the Golden Flashes defeated the Knights by a score of 41-24. Kent State finished last season going 5-7 ATS overall, 4-3 ATS on the road, and 3-2 ATS as an underdog while UCF ended the season with a record of 7-7 ATS overall, 4-3 ATS at home, and 6-5 ATS as a favorite.

The Central Florida Knights are the more talented team this season as they enter the year with an over/under win total of 7 games while the Kent State Golden Flashes enter the year tied for the lowest win total in college football at 2.5 games. UCF and Kent State have not played each other in college football since the 2004 season in which the Kent State Golden Flashes got the better of the Central Florida Knights, winning by a score of 41-24 and covering the spread as a 9.5-point favorite. 

I don’t see that being the case this season as UCF is at least an average team while Kent State is below-average and has a 1st year head coach in Kenni Burns. However, 37 points is a lot to give up, especially in the first week of college football which is why even though UCF should get the win, I look for the game to be more tightly contested than the odds would suggest. As a result, I am taking the Kent State Golden Flashes +37 on BookMaker for this matchup on Thursday evening.

Spooky Express Pick: Kent State Golden Flashes +37

Written By: Daniel Newton