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UCF vs. Georgia Tech: Picks, best bets for Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa

The Knights and Blue Devils meet in a game named after a legend that didn’t actually exist. UCF enters this battle of 6-6 teams as the favorite.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Houston at UCF Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2023 Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl will take place tonight as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will duke it out with the UCF Knights at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. This bowl will kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN.

Georgia Tech (6-6, 5-3 ACC) has a successful first full season under head coach Brent Key, finishing fourth in the ACC standings and making a bowl for the first time since 2018. A late-season run where the Jackets won three out of four games got them to bowl eligibility, a stretch that began with a 46-42 upset victory over North Carolina on October 28. Texas A&M transfer quarterback Haynes King ran the show on offense with 2,755 passing yards, 648 rushing yards, 35 total touchdowns.

UCF (6-6, 3-6 Big 12) took its lumps in its first season in the Big 12, but still managed to scrape out bowl eligibility. The Knights’ postseason hopes appeared to be in doubt as they suffered throughout a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season. However, they managed to win three of their last four games to reach bowl eligibility, the marquee victory during that span coming in the form of a 45-3 stomping of Oklahoma State on November 11. Running back RJ Harvey was the engine of the offense, breaking off 1,296 yards and 16 touchdowns for the year.

SP+ Rankings

Georgia Tech: 69 overall, 45 offense, 93 defense
UCF: 48 overall, 36 offense, 54 defense

List of injuries and players opting out of game

Georgia Tech

RB Jamie Felix – Out (Transfer Portal)
QB Zach Gibson – Out (Transfer Portal)
WR Juju Lewis – Out (Transfer Portal)

UCF

RB Demarkcus Bowman – Out (Transfer Portal)
WR Tyler Griffin - Out (Transfer Portal)
WR Amari Johnson – Out (Transfer Portal)
WR Chauncey Magwood – Out (Transfer Portal)
RB Jordan McDonald – Out (Transfer Portal)

ATS/Total

Against The Spread in 2023

Georgia Tech: 7-5 ATS
UCF: 5-7 ATS

Total in 2023

Georgia Tech: Over 9-3
UCF: Over 6-6

Team Pace

Georgia Tech: 2.40 plays per minute of offense
UCF: 2.37 plays per minute of offense

Odds at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: UCF -4.5
Total: 66.5
Moneyline: UCF -198, Georgia Tech +164

Opening line: UCF -6.5
Opening total: 61.5

Weather

62 degrees, cloudy, 5 MPH winds NE

Our Best Bet for the Gasparilla Bowl

Over 66.5

We should be in for an entertaining game in Tampa tonight as Haynes King and John Rhys Plumlee try to lead their respective teams to a bowl win. Both offenses can be electric when clicking and on the Yellow Jackets side of things, that’s reflected by them being one of the most over-friendly teams in the entire country this year. I’ll take the over for this game as both squads should get into the 30’s.