This Thursday the East Carolina Pirates will host the Temple Owls inside American Athletic play. Kickoff is set for 8:00 EST at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, NC and will be televised on ESPN.

Oddsmakers opened the line for this contest at Temple -12.5. It seems like there’s action both ways. Most books have the Owls down to -12, but I am seeing a -13 out there. The total is currently sitting at 47.5 points.

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Vegas Betting Odds & Game Preview: Temple vs East Carolina

Temple Owls (3-1, 0-0 AAC)

It’s been an interesting start to the season for the Owls. They opened up with a 56-12 thrashing of Bucknell and then after a Week 2 bye they stunned Maryland 20-17 as a 5.5-point home dog. Very next week they lost 38-22 as a 14-point favorite at Buffalo and are now fresh off a 24-2 win and cover as a 9.5-point favorite at home against Georgia Tech.

The one thing to note is turnovers played a big part of the loss to the Bulls. Temple had a season-high 4 giveaways in the contest. Buffalo had a 46-yard interception returned for a score and had 3 touchdown drives by the offense that were all less than 20 yards.

Defense has definitely been carrying the load for the Owls. They are only giving up 132 yards/game and 3.2 yards/carry on the ground. Opposing quarterbacks are only completing 45.0% of their attempts for 151 yards/game and 4.6 yards/attempt. Only giving up 3.8 yards/play.

ECU Pirates (3-2, 0-1 AAC)

The Pirates enter off a 24-21 upset win at Old Dominion as a 3-point dog. ECU took control early and were able to hold on. They jumped out a 17-3 lead at the half and had a 24-13 edge before the Monarchs scored a late TD to pull within a field goal. However, it was definitely not a dominating win by any means. TCU only had a 309-293 edge in total yards and actually had just 12 first downs to ODU’s 16.

That was a big win for the Pirates with the schedule they got coming up. After facing the Owls they got UCF on the road, USF and Cincinnati at home and go @ SMU. They should be able to get to 4-wins with a victory at UConn, meaning they got to find 2 more to get to a bowl. Not bad for a team that is in the first year of a head coach and coming off a 3-9 campaign.

Matchup History

These two have played each of the last 5 years inside the AAC and Temple has won and covered all 5. Last year the Owls won and covered easily in a 49-6 win as a 10-point home favorite. Last time they visited ECU in 2017, they won 34-10 as a 3.5-point favorite. UNDER had gone 4-0 until last year’s 55 combined points just barely crept over the mark of 53.5.

Free College Football Predictions & Pick: Temple -12

My early lean here would be to lay the points with the Owls and hope Temple can win by at least 2 touchdowns on the road. I get the East Carolina has a winning record at 3-2 and are off an upset win at Old Dominion, but I still think they are really bad. Two of their three wins were against Gardner Webb and William & Mary.

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I also think we can learn a lot from their two losses. They got annihilated by NC STate 34-6 in the season opener. They were outgained in that game 505 to 269. Since we have seen the Wolfpack lose 44-27 at West Virginia and 31-13 at FSU. Losing at Florida State by only 18 isn’t horrible, but only scoring 13-points against that Seminoles D is.¬†They also got destroyed 42-10 by Navy, getting outgained 468 to 222.

As for the win over Old Dominion. I question if that wasn’t more of the Monarchs just not having anything left in the tank after a couple of grueling road games against Power 5 opponents in Virginia Tech and Virginia. ODU was only down 24-17 in the 4th quarter at Va Tech and had a 17-0 lead in a 28-17 loss to Virginia.

You also can’t ignore how this series had gone with Temple having won and covered all 5 meetings inside the AAC. Each of the last 3 have been decided by 24 or more points.

Pirates are a miserable 13-40 ATS in their last 43 versus a team with a winning record. They are also 2-8 ATS last 10 off a SU win. Temple is 22-6 ATS last 28 conference games and 7-3 ATS last 10 on Thursday. Give me the Owls -12!