College Football Pick: East Carolina -7½ over Middle Tennessee State

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

A new rivalry is born Saturday with Middle Tennessee State moving to Conference USA this year, but East Carolina should prevail rather handily on the road.

A new rivalry begins this Saturday, but there could still be a rout when the impressive East Carolina Pirates (3-1, 0-1 away) pay a visit to one of the new members of Conference USA in the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (3-2, 2-0 home) at Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, TN at 3:30 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has East Carolina as a road favorite for this contest with the current line at -7½ with odds of -106.

Conference USA has a new look this year as it has expanded to 14 teams, losing some teams from previous year but also adding four teams that were previously in the Sun Belt Conference including the Blue Raiders, as well as Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana Tech.

Both of these teams are in the East Division of the conference and both are off to 1-0 starts in conference play, but it is the play of East Carolina in its non-conference games that has seemingly set the Pirates apart from Middle Tennessee State, as well as many other C-USA squads.

After beating one of the new Sun Belt imports in the Florida Atlantic Owls with ease 31-13 in their only league game so far, the Pirates hit the road vs. a couple of ACC opponents the last two weeks with very encouraging results. First they went head-to-head vs. the Virginia Tech Hokies and nearly pulled the upset in Blacksburg, which is obviously never easy, before succumbing 15-10 for their only loss in the early going.

Then, even more impressively, East Carolina went into Chapel Hill last week and absolutely blew out the North Carolina Tar Heels 55-31 while dominating from start to finish, jumping out to a 28-10 halftime lead and never getting threatened afterwards while piling up 603 yards vs. an ACC defense. Quarterback Shane Carden completed 32-of-47 passes for 376 yards with three touchdown passes while Vintavious Cooper rushed for 186 yards on 35 carries.

Middle Tennessee also comes off of a non-conference affair, but it was not nearly as fortunate while losing handily 37-10 to the BYU Cougars while getting out-gained by 274 total yards. The Blue Raiders have been struggling defensively in the early going surrendering 444.2 total yards per contest, and they figure to have great difficulty with the balanced and potent Pirate attack, even playing at home.

Finally, for those of you that are believers in the transitive property, consider that MTSU also had a non-conference loss on the road 40-20 at North Carolina in the second game of the season, the same Tar Heel team that East Carolina just torched on the same field by 24 points in a game that was actually a bigger blowout than the final score.

We simply do not see Middle Tennessee making many stops in this game, so look for East Carolina to win handily on the road on Saturday.

[gameodds]6/246343/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

College Football Pick: East Carolina -7½ (-106)