Ohio U vs. ECU Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl Picks

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 7:17 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 7:17 PM GMT

This will be the sixth edition of the Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl from St. Petersburg, FL. Sportsbooks have made East Carolina a decided favorite in this matchup of Conference USA versus the MAC, which is the largest spread in bowl games before Christmas. Before making your college football picks, get the lowdown on both teams.

The Skinny on Ohio U. 

After losing to Louisville 49-7 in the opener, coach Frank Solich’s squad looked like they were going to have a fine season, winning six of seven (5-2 ATS), which included beating bowl participants North Texas and Marshall.

Then the Bobcats went on the road to face what turned out to be the two best teams in their division and were soundly beaten by Buffalo 30-3 and Bowling Green 49-0.

Ohio U. was a pedestrian 72nd in points scored at 28 a game. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton tended to run hot or cold, but was not helped one iota by a running game which managed just 3.8 yards a carry and was 98th in rushing yards at 136.2 per contest.

The Bobcats defense fit a rather ordinary team, allowing 26.7 points a game and conceding almost 30 more yards than what they opponents gained against all other opposing teams. The biggest issue for Solich’s defense was getting off the field, as defense was on the gridiron for almost 33 minutes a game (32:45).

How Both Teams Got the Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl

Ohio U. finished 7-5 and was tied for third place in the MAC East and was 6-6 ATS on the season.

East Carolina ended up in second place in the C-USA East Division and was an impressive 9-3 on the season, with a 6-5-1 ATS record.

The Skinny on East Carolina

For preseason prognosticators making sports picks, East Carolina was the favorite to win Conference USA. The Pirates were positioned to do so, but ran into Marshall who was on fire at their house and committing three turnovers led to their demise.

However, ECU has a prolific offense with quarterback Shane Carden running the show. The gunslinger had 3,866 yards passing yards and 32 touchdowns this year. Those marks rank sixth and eighth nationally, respectively.  Carden runs a high-octane offense which averages 40.4 points a contest, which is more than 10 points than what their opponents typically allowed (29.4).

The East Carolina secondary is the weakest part of the defense at 87th in the country, surrendering 245.9 yards a game thru the air. Where the Pirates balance the books is with a ferocious pass rush, as they led C-USA with 35 sacks and college football handicappers also found them stout against the run in holding teams to 3.3 yards a carry.

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Inside the Betting Numbers

The opening college football betting odds had East Carolina -12.5 and within 24 hours of initial release they were up to -13.5. The Pirates are only 4-4-1 against the spread as favorites this season, while Ohio U. is 1-3 ATS on the receiving end of points.

The Bobcats were 2-3 SU and ATS in away games, losing by 10 points a contest. They were 8-4 UNDER overall and 4-1 UNDER on the road.

The Pirates are 4-2 (2-4 ATS) away from home, with a score differential margin of +5.3 points. ECU was 8-4 OVER on the year and 4-2 OVER in away games.

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Bowl History

Conference USA has been the tie-in team to play in this bowl and they are 2-3 SU and ATS since its inception. The favorite is a solid 4-1 ATS.

The Pick

Last season, Ohio U. also closed season poorly (0-3 SU & ATS) and went on to wallop Louisiana-Monroe in the Independence Bowl 45-7 as a touchdown underdog. However, the Bobcats mauled Massachusetts 51-23 in their season finale to get the bad taste out of their mouth.

In considering these college football odds, East Carolina has the better offense, defense and has lost their past four bowl games, giving them added incentive.

Let not think of this as ringing endorsement, but I’ll take East Carolina 47-31 for the win and cover for my college football pick.

College Football Bowl Pick: East Carolina -13.5

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