The 2023 bowl season is underway, and we have a tremendous standalone Friday night matchup. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will take on the UCF Golden Knights at the Gasparilla Bowl, with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. If you need help picking a side for this game, check out our Georgia Tech vs. UCF odds, picks, and predictions.
Georgia Tech finished the season 6-6 and is going bowling for the first time since 2018. Meanwhile, UCF’s first season in the Big 12 did not go all that well, but they still were able to pull off a few big wins on their way to bowl eligibility.
Both sides will be without some key starters due to bowl game opt-outs. That may make reading the Gasparilla Bowl odds much harder. Luckily, we have poured through the data and have come up with the best Georgia Tech vs. UCF betting pick.
Georgia Tech vs. UCF Odds: Spread, Moneyline, Total
Before making your Gasparilla Bowl betting picks, check out the Georgia Tech vs. UCF odds and lines from some of our top-rated sports betting apps. Doing this will ensure you get the best numbers for your bet on the Georgia Tech vs. UCF spread, moneyline, and point total.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-6, 7-5 ATS)
The first year of the Brent Key era in Atlanta has been a success. After averaging 3.5 wins over the last four seasons, Key has the Yellow Jackets in a solid spot. While a home loss to Bowling Green is still a tough pill to swallow, Georgia Tech pulled out a miracle win over Miami (FL) and won a shootout over North Carolina.
Another underrated aspect of this team is that they competed in most games they played, including the regular season finale against Georgia. They were able to do this because of a high-scoring offense and a top-tier rushing attack.
Georgia Tech ranks 13th in yards per carry (5.2) and 22nd in rushing success rate. They also have an experienced offensive line and a solid running back room featuring Jamal Haynes and Dontae Smith, who combined for 10 rushing touchdowns this season.
Quarterback Haynes King also is a threat with his legs, as he has 648 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the season. While King is a great athlete and shined in moments during this season, he is not very consistent in throwing the ball and has 15 interceptions.
However, UCF has not been very good against the run this season, allowing just under 200 rushing yards per game and five yards per rush, which ranks 115th. They also rank 129th in rushing success rate allowed.
It also does not help that UCF has a few opt-outs and injuries to deal with in the secondary, which could give Georgia Tech a real advantage early if they can throw the ball downfield.
If the Yellow Jackets can grab an early lead, they should run the ball all night and burn some clock to secure their first bowl victory since the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl.
UCF Golden Knights (6-6, 5-7 ATS)
It appears that UCF will need some time to adjust to a Power Five conference. They only won three conference games this season, and two came against fellow first-year Big 12 teams: Cincinnati and Houston.
Luckily for Gus Malzahn’s squad, they were able to win three of their last four games to reach bowl eligibility. Once again, UCF had one of the more explosive offenses in the country, ranking third in yards per rush (5.8), 11th in yards per pass (9.2), and 30th in points per play (.449).
When you have a dynamic playmaker like John Rhys Plumlee at quarterback, it is easy to see why. Although he missed a few games this season, he still put up one of his best passing seasons and had 18 total touchdowns. Even without him, the Golden Knights could move the ball with Timmy McClain at quarterback and a breakout season from running back RJ Harvey.
The senior running back had 1,296 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. However, UCF will be down a few offensive linemen, which could be crucial for a team that has not played in about a month.
But Georgia Tech’s defense is also not very good at defending the run, ranking toward the bottom in rushing success and EPA. The Yellow Jackets rank 97th in points per play, 127th in yards per rush, and 88th in yards per pass.
Like Georgia Tech, the Golden Knights should be able to move the ball. Defensively, I worry about their ability to stop the run, and with two starters in the secondary out, this defense may be in for a long evening.
Georgia Tech vs. UCF Betting Trends
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
- Georgia Tech is 4-1 ATS in its last five games.
- The total has gone OVER in five of Georgia Tech’s last six games.
- Georgia Tech is 5-1 ATS in its last six games when playing as an underdog.
UCF Golden Knights
- UCF is 5-11 ATS in its last 16 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in five of UCF’s last six games.
- UCF is 12-5 SU in its last 17 games when playing as the favorite.
Georgia Tech vs. UCF Prediction: Offensive Explosion Expected in Tampa
This is practically a home game for UCF, as it will be played about two hours from FBC Mortgage Stadium.
But UCF is dealing with a more depleted roster, especially on defense. They will be without starting corner Corey Thornton and safety Jireh Wilson. While Georgia Tech does not throw the ball all that well, whoever controls the passing game has the inside track to winning.
The Yellow Jackets are also without a few starters on defense. Starting edge Kyle Kennard and corner Kenan Johnson are both in the portal, but Georgia Tech is pretty healthy entering this game.
We can expect both teams to keep the ball on the ground in this game, which usually signals that the Under is the play, especially with a high total. However, the rushing attacks on both sides are among the most explosive in the country, and neither defense has been able to stop the run all season.
Even though UCF has the better playmaker at quarterback and in the receiver room, I do not feel comfortable laying the points with the Golden Knights. The Georgia Tech vs. UCF odds favor a high-scoring affair, and we agree, as the Over is the play in the 2023 Gasparilla Bowl.
Georgia Tech vs. UCF Betting Pick: Over
How To Watch Georgia Tech vs. UCF
Date: Friday, Dec. 22, 2023
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, FL
Where to Watch: ESPN & ESPN+