Baylor Bears vs. Central Florida Knights betting: Fiesta Bowl odds, prediction, preview

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor has dominated as a heavy favorite, and the Bears lay 17 points on the Fiesta Bowl betting menu against the UCF Knights. Here's the Odds Shark game preview.

The Central Florida Knights have won and covered the spread in their last two bowl games. They also boast a 5-1 mark against the spread in their last six games as a double-digit underdog. They will need that trend to continue on New Year's Day as they take the field against Baylor as 17-point underdogs in the Fiesta Bowl.

Baylor, meanwhile, is rock solid at 15-4 against the spread in its last 19 games as a double-digit favorite. The computer has projected a final score in lockstep with that 17-point spread (49-32 for Baylor).

UCF (11-1 SU, 7-5 ATS, 4-8 OU) joined the newly minted American Athletic Conference this season and made its presence felt right off the bat with a successful 8-0 run through the conference, including a 38-35 victory over then-No. 8 Louisville in mid-October as a 14-point road underdog. The Knights' only loss all year was a 28-25 setback to South Carolina as 6.5-point underdogs in Week 5. UCF was 3-3 ATS on the road, as well 3-3 in over/under away from home.

The Knights averaged a total of 432 yards of offense a game behind the big arm of Blake Bortles. Bortles threw for 3,280 yards and 22 touchdowns while completing an impressive 68.1 percent of his 351 attempts. He was only picked off seven times. There were a total of six different players with a least 250 receiving yards, and Storm Johnson led the way on the ground with 1,015 rushing yards on 193 carries. Johnson also led the team in touchdowns with 14.

As for the Bears (11-1 SU, 9-3 ATS, 8-4 OU), they come into this Fiesta Bowl betting matchup with a sky-high total of 69 points. BU came close to working its way into the BCS title game, but those plans got derailed with a 49-17 loss to Oklahoma State on Nov. 23 as a 7.5-point road favorite. The Bears failed to cover the following week in a straight-up win over TCU to go 1-2 ATS in their final three games.

Baylor hit the over in four of its final seven outings. The Bears led the nation in total offense with an average of 623.8 yards a game, and they were also first in the country in scoring with 53.3 points a contest. They successfully moved the ball through the air behind stud QB Bryce Petty, who threw for 3,844 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Antwan Goodley was Petty's top target down the field with 67 receptions for 1,319 yards and 13 scores. Lache Seastrunk and Shock Linwood combined for 1,922 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground.

This will be the first ever meeting between these teams.

Computer Prediction: 49-32 Baylor (via Odds Shark NCAA computer formulas)

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