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Central Florida among sharp plays, weekend best bets

Central Florida has won 35 of its past 39 games and scored 31 points or more in all but one game.

The Golden Knights also have won their past four season openers and will try to extend that streak Saturday at Georgia Tech, coming off a 16-13 upset at Florida State as 13-point underdogs.

The Westgate took a sharp play on UCF -7, and the line has since moved to 7½.

Westgate sportsbook vice president of risk Ed Salmons also likes UCF as one of his weekend best bets.

“I laid 7 with UCF. I have the line at 11,” he said. “Usually UCF is laying much more. UCF has played to a big (power rating) number for three years now.

“I think they’re giving Georgia Tech a little bit too much credit for that win last week. UCF is better than Florida State, bottom line. That line is short. UCF can put points up against anyone. Georgia Tech is going to have to keep up.”

Navy (+7) over TULANE

The Westgate also took sharp action on Navy +7½ at Tulane, and the consensus line has since dropped to 7.

Salmons also listed Navy as one of his best bets, though he played it at +7½.

“If this was the first game of the year, it would be Tulane -3, but now you’re getting 7½ because Navy lost to BYU 55-3,” he said. “Navy has a really great coach (Ken Niumatalolo), and he got carried away with the COVID stuff and didn’t let anyone do any blocking or tackling in practice (before the opener). He said it was the biggest mistake he’s made as a coach.

“I’m expecting a big effort from a Navy team that’s been pretty comparable to Tulane the last couple of years. There’s no reason Navy can’t hang with them. You’re definitely getting an overlay of points.”

Sharp plays

Westgate sportsbook director John Murray said the book also took sharp plays (though the numbers have since moved) on Wake Forest (+3) over North Carolina State, the Seahawks (-3½) over the Patriots, the Chiefs-Chargers Over 46½, the Cardinals-Washington Over 45 and the Falcons-Cowboys Over 51.

Duke (-5½) over Boston College

Salmons also likes Duke (-5½) over Boston College. The Blue Devils covered their season opener last week as 21-point underdogs in a 27-13 loss at Notre Dame.

“I had that line a little bit higher, on the other side of 7,” Salmons said. “Duke has the advantage of having a game under their belt, and they already stepped up in class playing Notre Dame last week.

“They have more talent this year than Boston College, which has a new coach (Jeff Hafley). Duke is in a good spot.”

Middle Tennessee State (+3) over Troy

Handicapper Paul Stone, who went 4-1 ATS in the first week of the Review-Journal College Football Challenge, likes Middle Tennessee State as one of his best bets, though the line has dipped from 3½ to 3.

The Blue Raiders were whipped 42-0 by Army in their opener, but Stone thinks now is the right time to back them as home underdogs to a Troy team playing its opener.

“And it’s a Troy team replacing a first-team All-Sun Belt quarterback (Kaleb Barker) with an unknown quantity, most likely sophomore Gunnar Watson,” said Stone (@PaulStoneSports). “Middle Tennessee has the advantage of having a game under its belt, it has the experience edge at quarterback (with Asher O’Hara) and it’s getting (3) points at home. I rated this game as even.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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