College Football Picks: Florida Atlantic vs. East Carolina

Jeff Grant

Monday, September 2, 2013 1:21 PM GMT

The East Carolina Pirates have one of the more experienced signal-callers in college football, which should be the difference in taking on the Florida Atlantic Owls Thursday night.


Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA football odds for this Conference USA matchup, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

Outclassed 

Florida Atlantic suffered a 34-6 loss to the Miami Hurricanes as 31-point road underdogs last Friday, as it was outgained by a 503-250 margin in terms of total yards, while going UNDER the betting total of 54.5.

The Owls suspended five players before their season opener, while they also played two quarterbacks that saw their first snaps at the Division I level.

Defense is a concern

East Carolina opened up with a 52-38 victory over the Old Dominion Monarchs as 15-point home favorites last Saturday—an FCS opponent that’s transitioning to the FBS next season.

The Pirates allowed Monarchs quarterback Taylor Heinicke to complete 38 of 51 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns.

Limited success in this situation

The Owls are 2-1 ATS as road underdogs of 14.5 to 21 points over the last two-plus seasons, with second-year head coach Carl Pelini welcoming back 15 starters from a team that went 3-9 a season ago.

Each of these teams had two common opponents in Louisiana Lafayette and Navy in 2012, with Florida Atlantic winning the statistical battle by 11 yards, while East Carolina was outgained by a total of 395 yards in those two contests.

Success at home 

College football handicappers will find that the Pirates are 7-1 SU at home against conference opponents since 2011, including a perfect 4-0 mark and winning by an average of 18 points a season ago.

The program is 6-0 SU and 4-2 ATS as favorites of 10.5 to 21 points over the last two-plus seasons.

[gameodds]6/238953/?r3=19-349/us&r-1=19-349/us[/gameodds] 

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Pirates with their College Football picks, as quarterback Shane Carden just set the school record with 447 passing yards last week—giving the home team a huge advantage in this matchup due to the short turnaround for both sides.

College Football Pick:  East Carolina Pirates -20 at Bet365