Capper Picks East Carolina Spread Over Virginia Tech College Football

Darin Zank

Thursday, September 11, 2014 4:10 PM GMT

Coming off a huge upset at Ohio State, the Hokies will try to avoid a letdown when they host the Pirates Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg (noon ET, ESPN). Here's our breakdown of this match-up, with our free pick on the spread. 

The Betting Line
As of Thursday AM most of the college football odds was listing Virginia Tech at -11.5, while some shops were offering East Carolina at +12. And most outlets were proffering the total at 53.5. Bettors out there who think the Pirates might win this game outright could get upwards of +350 on the money line at various places.

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Game Set-Up
Virginia Tech opened its season with a 34-9 win over FCS William & Mary, covering the spread at -23. The Hokies then pulled possibly the shocker of the season so far, going into the Horseshoe in Columbus and coming away with a 35-21 victory as 10-point dogs. V-Tech controlled the ball for almost 34 minutes, running 40 times for 121 yards, while holding the Buckeyes to 108 yards on the ground. The Hokies also intercepted OSU quarterback JT Barrett three times, icing the victory with an INT return for a score with a minute to go.

Virginia Tech returned 14 starters from a team that went 8-5 last year. Nine starters were back on offense, including last year's leading rusher, top two receivers and four along the offensive line. But they had to find a new starting QB. And only five starters were back on defense, just one among the front seven.

East Carolina opened its season with a 52-7 romp over FCS North Carolina Central, covering as 39-point favorites. The Pirates then lost at South Carolina Gamecocks last week 33-23, but covered as 14-point dogs. EC actually out-gained the Gamecocks 453-441 but allowed SC to control the ball for over 36 minutes.

East Carolina only returned nine starters this season from a team that went 10-3 last year. Five starters were back on offense, including senior QB Shane Carden and last year's top two receivers, but they had to replace last year’s leading rusher and three along the offensive line. And only four starters returned on defense, just two of the back eight.

 

Pirates-Hokies Recent History
These teams just met last September down in Greenville, a 15-10 Hokies victory but a Pirates cover as seven-point home dogs. V-Tech out-gained EC 312-204 and held the ball for almost 37 minutes.

The two teams combined to rush for just 100 yards in that game, which played 'under' its total of 46.

 

Pirates-Hokies Betting Trends
East Carolina is just 1-3 ATS the last four times it's been lined as a double-digit dog. The Pirates are also only 4-8 ATS in their last 12 road games.

Virginia Tech is just 2-6-1 ATS in its last nine games as a double-digit favorite. The Hokies are also 6-11-1 ATS in their last 18 home games.

 

Free College Football Pick
At first glance we were leaning toward Virginia Tech, but the letdown factor is too much to ignore. One of the worst things bettors can do is make plays based on what just happened last weekend. So we'll take the Pirates and the points for our free college football pick on this contest.