This Saturday the East Carolina Pirates will host the Connecticut Huskies. This Week 9 matchup is scheduled for 12:00 EST at at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN News. Oddsmakers have the Pirates as a 7-point favorite with the total set at 51.5 points.
Connecticut vs East Carolina Vegas Odds Preview
The Huskies (3-5, 1-4 AAC) come in off a 16-24 home loss to UCF. Connecticut failed to cover in that one as a 4.5-point underdog. It was a tough loss to swallow. The Huskies had a 16-7 lead before giving up 17 unanswered.
The Pirates (2-5, 0-3 AAC) enter off a 19-31 loss at Cincinnati as a 1-point favorite. ECU’s only lead came early, as they led 3-0 for most of the 1st quarter. The Pirates were in possession to take a lead in the 4th quarter. Down 19-24, East Carolina was deep in Bearcats territory before fumbling it away.
This is just the 3rd meeting in the series. The home team has won each of the first two. ECU won 31-21 at home in 2014 and the Huskies won 31-31 at home last year.
Free Betting Pick & Predictions: ECU -7
The Pirates come into this game not having lost 5 straight and failed to cover in all 5 defeats. I believe it’s created some decent value on East Carolina at home in this one.
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The key thing to keep in mind with the Pirates five-game skid, is they have played a brutal schedule. Four of the five were on the road against South Carolina, Virginia Tech, USF and Cincinnati. Sandwiched between them was a home game against a much-improved UCF squad. You also have to remember this is a team that beat NC State on their home field earlier this season.
They also played much better than you would think during this stretch. They lost 15-20 at South Carolina, despite outgaining the Gamecocks 519 to 312. A similar story in their 29-47 loss to UCF, as they outgained the Knights 521-373. While they did lose the yardage battle against USF, they trailed 22-24 late in the 4th quarter. They gave up 2 late scores to lose by 16 as a 15.5-point dog.
On the season the Pirates are outgaining opponents on average by 81 yards/game. In comparison, UConn is getting outgained on average by 45 yards/game. What’s killed ECU is turnovers. They have committed 17 turnovers in 7 games. At the same time their defense has only forced 5 turnovers, giving them a -12 turnover margin.
Turnovers are difficult to predict and can be more of a fluke/luck deal than anything. They also have a way of evening out over the course of the season.
If they take care of the ball, they should be able to win this game going away. The Huskies are limited offensively. Connecticut comes in only averaging 20.2 ppg and 369 yards/game. While ECU’s defense doesn’t have great numbers, a big part of that is the tough schedule they have played.
Offensively, the Pirates should be able to have a lot of success against Connecticut. ECU comes into this game with the 5th ranked passing attack in the country at 364.4 ypg. The Huskies are great against the run, but are 117th against the pass, giving up 289.8 ypg.
Adding more value here is that UConn is 0-8 ATS in their last 8 games against teams allowing 31+ points/game. ECU on the other hand is 14-4 ATS in home games against bad teams (Win Pct. 25%-40%).