UCF Knights (8-3 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. East Carolina Pirates (8-3 SU, 5-6 ATS)
College Football Week 15
Date and Time: Thursday, December 4, 7:30pm
Where: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium – Greenville, NC
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UCF +6.5/ECU -6.5
Over/Under Total: 55.5
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This Thursday night, as we wind down the college football season, we have an American Conference battle between the UCF Knights and the East Carolina Pirates. Both teams enter this game at 8-3 overall, but the UCF Knights sit in 2nd place in the American Conference, while the East Carolina Pirates are in 4th. I see this game being very competitive and not decided til late in the fourth quarter.
Although UCF has the better record and standing in the American Conference, East Carolina opens as the 6.5 point favorite at home. The total points are set at 55.5 as well. Even thought they are underdogs in this game, UCF also has the better record against the spread this season. At 7-4 ATS, the Knights are two games better than the Pirates in this area. As of Tuesday morning, 69% of the action was on the home fave, East Carolina. I could see this game going either way, both teams have a shot to win this thing.
As we already informed you, UCF comes in as the road underdog in this game at East Carolina. The Knights have won three straight and have also been victorious in eight of their last nine games played. UCF started the season 0-2 with a heartbreaking loss to Penn State, then they got trounced by Missouri, who is representing the SEC East in the SEC Championship game this coming weekend. Much of UCF’s success this season has to be because of their defense. The Knight are allowing just 16.8 points per game on the season and are ranked 5th in the nation. Not only have they played good defense all year, the last three games have been amazing. The last three games, UCF has thrown a shutout against South Florida, and allowed just a single touchdown when they played both Tulsa and SMU. This defense is good, real good. On the offensive side of the ball however, UCF needs some work. In 2014, the Knights are ranked 105th in rushing and 66th in passing. In order to hang with this East Carolina team, UCF will need to play well on both sides of the ball. East Carolina will score, its just what they do, therefore UCF needs to step the offense too.
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East Carolina can play some football. These guys are ranked 14th in the nation in scoring at 37.8 points per game scored. Much of the Pirates offensive success can be credited to the passing game led by quarterback, Shane Carden. This season, Carden has thrown for nearly 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns which has the Pirates ranked 3rd in FBS in passing. Not only does Carden throw for a lot of yards, he also does a good job of protecting the ball. With those 25 TD passes, he has only thrown six interceptions. This will be very important against the UCF defense. Turnovers against this team can be costly, but if Carden and the Pirates offense can play smart and disciplined, they could make things very difficult for the Knights. Not only does East Carolina need to protect the ball, they need to have a balanced attack against UCF. The Pirates are averaging 179 rushing yards a game, and they need to do this too in order to keep the UCF defense honest. If East Carolina becomes one dimensional, I can see UCF making things hard for them.
I like East Carolina a lot in this game, but the 6.5 spread kinda worries me. UCF is a good defensive team and they have also played the tougher schedule this season so they are more battle tested. I think East Carolina makes enough plays to win, but I do not see them winning by a whole touchdown or more. ECU wins this game 27-23.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: PICK THE UCF KNIGHTS TO COVER THE 6.5 POINTS AND ALSO TAKE UNDER THE POSTED TOTAL POINTS OF 55.5