Ohio Bobcats (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. East Carolina Pirates (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS)
College Football 2013 Beef OBradys St. Petersburg Bowl
Date and Time: Monday, December 23, 2013, 2:00 pm EST
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OU +13.5/ECU -13.5
Over/Under Total: 62
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You have to wonder about the motivation of both of the teams involved in
the 2013 Beef OBradys St. Petersburg Bowl, a game that will serve as a
prelude into ESPNs Monday Night Football primetime show and one that features
the Mid-American Conferences Ohio Bobcats versus the Conference
USAs East Carolina Pirates inside Tropicana Field.
Ohio must have blackmail on someone on the Beef OBradys selection committee, because with just seven wins and a few more deserving teams in their own conference (Toledo) to choose from, they chose a Bobcats team that looks like they mailed it in at the end of October. Ohio lost three out of their last four games, all of them by very big margins too (30-3 to Buff.; 49-0 to B.Green; 44-13 to Kent St.), so this gift of a bowl-game selection is either their chance at redemption, or more in a season of disappointment.
East Carolina has to be disappointed, but for another reason, because if not for a terrible overtime loss to Tulane in mid-October the Pirates would have been a 10-win team and worthy of a much bigger bowl then being stuck in the Beef OBrady Bowl in the Tropicana Dome. The Pirates also controlled their destiny until their regular season finale and laid a giant turd at Marshall, losing 59-28, so whether or not they are mentally ready to rebound from that blunder remains a big question.
But never the less, it is a meaningless college football game, which is more than enough reason for us degenerate fans to watch and wager our eve of Christmas Eve feast on the outcome, or maybe even tease it or parlay it with the Atlanta Falcons-San Francisco 49ers game later Monday evening. Lucky for us the boys in Las Vegas have obliged too, offering an opening point spread of East Carolina minus -13.5 points. The over/under total opened at 62 and has yet to move in either direction yet.
What should be fun for everyone to watch on Monday is Pirates quarterback Shane Carden (3,866 yards, 32 TD) and the passing attack of East Carolina, who toss it around to the tune of 331 yards a game (10th in FBS). Their 40.4 points per game is also 10th in the country, and before you poo-poo that and say those eye-popping numbers came against a weak CUSA schedule, keep in mind the put up 55 points on North Carolina and 42 on North Carolina State too. Although when you put 55 points on Southern Miss, and 58 on Tulsa and 63 against UAB yeah, those numbers are a bit deceiving.
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Ohio is also led by a strong quarterback, but senior Tyler Tettleton did not have a stellar final college season. Tettleton, and the Ohio offense in general, seemed to abandon the run this year and try and pass the ball to keep with the Jones in the MAC. Tettleton best year was two years ago when he ran for almost 700 yards and had 10 touchdowns on the ground, this year he has only 39 carries in the running game. Coincidence?
The best wager in this game could prove to be the over, because neither team has much of a defense. Even though the Bobcats seem to have given up on offense, they should still be able to put up enough points to stay with the Pirates through halftime at least.
These two have met a few times of the years, including a 21-14 ECU victory in Ohio in 1998, and a 55-45 shootout victory over them at home in 1996.
East Carolina is a perfect 9-0 ATS following their last nine straight up losses (lost finale to Marshall 59-28), but they are notorious bowl underachievers and sport just a 6-18 ATS record against teams that have a winning record. Ohio is usually strong playing teams out of the MAC (5-1 ATS in L6 non-conf.), and are 4-1 ATS versus CUSA teams over the years, but the way the Bobbies have been playing (1-4 ATS down the stretch) makes them a risky proposition these days.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: East Carolina is a good team, probably much better than Ohio, but its been three weeks since they last games so momentum is gone and motivation will be the biggest factor in this game. Two touchdowns is more than Im willing to put on a team from CUSA though, and Im pretty certain the gauntlet that Ohio faced down the stretch (Buffalo, Bowling Green and Kent St.) are better preparation for the bowl than beating up on Southern Miss and UAB. If I play this game, Im taking Ohio plus the 13.5 or 14 points.
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