NCAA Football Picks: Florida to Cover -6.5 Over East Carolina

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, December 31, 2014 2:00 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014 2:00 PM GMT

Florida has betting value as a favorite in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl as it has an opportunity to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball against East Carolina.

Commonplace
East Carolina will make its eighth bowl appearance in the last nine years, which is important to consider when looking over the college football odds, as it looks to capture back-to-back postseason victories for the first time since the mid-1960s.

The Pirates have won 23 of their last 27 games when scoring 30 or more points, while also securing a victory in 17 of their last 18 contests when gaining 200 or more yards on the ground.

It’s important to point out that those numbers are going to be difficult to reach against a Southeastern Conference opponent—a squad that ranked 12th in the country in allowing just 116.8 rushing yards per game.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the team is 2-7 SU and 1-8 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record.

 

Ground and Pound
Florida suffered through a disappointing 6-5 SUATS season, which caused the university to fire Will Muschamp and hire Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain earlier this month.

Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin will serve as the interim head coach for this affair at Legion Field, which can’t be ignored when making your NCAA Football picks, as he’ll likely direct offensive coordinator Kurt Roper to run the football.

Since the start of the previous Muschamp era, the Gators are 13-0 when average more than 5.0 yards per rush—fitting together nicely in this matchup due to the Pirates allowing foes to gain 5.1 yards a touch on the ground.

Sports bettors will find that the squad covered the number in both regular season games off a week of rest this season.

 

Quite a Player
The Pirates will attract some attention in the betting market due to their upset wins over Virginia Tech and North Carolina this season, especially since Shane Carden will be directing an offense that averaged 37.2 points and 532.8 yards per game.

Carden has thrown for a school-record 11,564 yards and 84 touchdowns since taking over the starting quarterback role during the team’s third game of the 2012 campaign.

 

Cashing In
The Gator offense is third in the SEC and 12th nationally in red-zone efficiency, as it converted 38-of-42 of its trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line into points.

Florida’s balance offensively will be difficult for East Carolina to stop, as it rushed for 100 or more yards in every game this season, while signal-caller Treon Harris should benefit from the extra practice time given to postseason participants.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Gators as one of their main ATS football picks, as they’ve covered the number in four of their last five bowl games.

Free College Football Pick: Florida Gators -6.5 at Bookmaker

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