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UCF vs. Illinois State - 12/21/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
Illinois State Redbirds (7-5) at Central Florida Knights (9-2)
Date & Time Friday December 21, 2018, 7:00 PM (EST)
The Line
The Line: Central Florida Knights -12 -- Over/Under: 141
TV Channel
ESPN3
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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Illinois State Redbirds and the UCF Knights meet in college basketball action from the CFE Arena on Friday night.

The Illinois State Redbirds will look to build some momentum after snapping a 3-game losing streak with an 88-77 overtime win over Cleveland State in their last outing. Phil Fayne led the Redbirds with 30 points on 11 of 14 shooting with 9 rebounds and 3 blocks while Milik Yarbrough added 21 points with 7 rebounds and Zach Copeland added 12 points with both Yarbrough and Copeland adding a team-high 5 assists to round out the trio of double-digit scorers for Illinois State in the win. Yarbrough leads the Redbirds with an average of 18.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4 assists per game this season. As a team, Illinois State is averaging 77.1 points per game on 43.8% shooting from the field, 35.2% from behind the arc and 71.8% from the foul line this season.

The UCF Knights will look to add to their current 3-game winning streak after a 90-65 win over Stetson in their last outing. Aubrey Dawkins led the Knights with 19 points on 6 of 13 shooting with a pair of threes with a team-high 13 rebounds for the double-double. Tacko Fall and B.J. Taylor each had 10 points to round out the threesome of double-digit scorers for UCF in the win, with Fall adding 6 rebounds and a team-high 5 blocks. Terrell Allen added 8 points and a team-high 5 assists while Frank Bertz added 3 triples. Taylor leads the Knights in scoring with 17.7 points per game while Fall leads UCF in rebounding with 6.5 rebounds per game and Allen leads the Knights with 4.9 assists per game this season. As a team, UCF is averaging 76.3 points per game on 47.5% shooting from the field, 37% from behind the arc and 63.1% from the foul line this season.

Illinois State is 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 road games and 2-7 ATS in their last 9 Friday games while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 games overall. UCF is 10-4 ATS in their last 14 non-conference games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record while the under is 4-1 in their last 5 home games against a team with a losing road record.

This is a lot of points to lay against an experienced Illinois State team, however I need to see more from the Redbirds than a win over Cleveland State before backing them against a very good UCF team. The Knights are well balanced and just as experienced and could be a legit threat in the AAC if they stay healthy this season. The Knights are also outscoring their opponents by 12.7 points at home this season while Illinois State have lost both of their true road games against Belmont and UIC by a combined 30 points this season, so I’ll lay the points with UCF in this spot.

Pick:
UCF -12

Chris has been a sports fan from when he was old enough to pick up a basketball and was a standout offensive lineman throughout high school and college. Chris uses that same instinct, determination and drive to analyze trends and statistics to find and produce winners on a consistent basis. Chris has been writing for Sports Chat Place since 2016 and covers a wide array of sports from college and pro football, college basketball, hockey and baseball.

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