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Liberty vs. East Carolina Odds, Picks and Predictions: 2 Picks for Friday Afternoon Matchup

Liberty vs. East Carolina Odds, Picks and Predictions: 2 Picks for Friday Afternoon Matchup article feature image

Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Darius McGhee

  • Liberty squares off against East Carolina in the Basketball Hall of Fame Shootout from Charlotte.
  • The Pirates have won four games in a row and are sitting at 8-2 on the season.
  • Keg breaks down where the value lies and his best bet for this non-conference showdown.

Liberty vs. East Carolina Odds

Friday, Dec. 17
1:30 p.m. ET
Liberty Odds
-110o / -110u
East Carolina Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

There’s no better way to kick off a Friday than with some afternoon college basketball betting. That is exactly what we’ll be doing this Friday — rather than work — as the Liberty Flames will meet the ECU Pirates to open up the Basketball Hall of Fame shootout in Charlotte, NC.

Liberty heads to Charlotte after a blowout 95-36 win over Carver College. But, there wasn’t much to learn from that game against a team not even ranked by KenPom.

In their game previous to that, the Flames lost to Stephen F. Austin 63-51 as a 2.5-point favorite. Only one of Liberty’s six wins have been against a team inside the KenPom top 200. The Flames look good — they have one of the best point guards in the country — but are they benefiting from a weak schedule?

Meanwhile, East Carolina find itself in a similar situation, currently 8-2 on the season. The Pirates’ best wins have come against Old Dominion, who they beat twice. While they’ve lost to both top-100 teams that they’ve played, both were close games that the Pirates could’ve won.

With both teams having some misleading results, who will be able to come away with a win here?

Liberty Flames

Liberty is led by one of the best point guards in the country in Darius McGhee. McGhee has averaged over 30 minutes per game for the Flames while putting up 18.8 points per game. He also leads the team in steals with 1.7 per contest.

But one man can’t do it all, as the team has fallen just short in big games. They lost to Iona and Manhattan, both by four on neutral courts.

The struggles for the Flames have come largely on the offensive end of the court.

As a team, Liberty is averaging just 64.1 points per game, a number that puts it 278th in the country.

The Flames aren’t a bad shooting team per se — they post an effective field goal percentage of 51.9%. But as one of the slowest teams in college basketball — 348th in adjusted tempo, per KenPom — you have to make the shots you take.

The Flames rank 337th in field goal attempts per game, averaging just 52.4 per contest.

That is just a small piece of the problem for Liberty, though. The Flames take the third most 3-point attempts in college basketball. In total, 53.7% of their points come from outside the arc and they make just 34.4% of their shots from 3.

With an offensive output that dependent on the 3, if the Flames struggle from deep, things could get out of hand quick against the Pirates.

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East Carolina Pirates

The Pirates have an elite point guard themselves. His name is Tristen Newton, and he leads the team in points and assists.

Newton, like McGhee, leads his team in minutes as well, averaging 31.6 minutes per game while posting 17.8 points and 5.1 assists.

The biggest difference for the Pirates over the Flames, however, is their depth. The Pirates have four players who average nine points or more per game and six players who average more than 20 minutes per contest.

Liberty has just two players recording over nine points a game and only five on the squad who play 20 minutes or more.

Neither team has excelled in the rebounding department, but the Pirates are considerably better and much taller than the Flames, which will undoubtedly play a factor. That is especially true if the Flames have another off night from deep.

The Pirates have averaged 73.9 points per game and have allowed opponents to score just 60.5 per contest (27th in the nation).

Liberty vs. East Carolina Betting Pick

These two teams present a very clear mismatch against each other in two important areas. While Liberty takes more 3-point shots than most teams in the country, ECU has been solid at defending the arc.

On the other hand, Liberty has been one of the best teams at defending two-point shots, as it is currently fourth in defensive two-point shooting percentage.

Both teams have displayed the ability to limit the other on offense. This will also be the first game for ECU in 10 days.

While the Pirates will likely have some rust to shake off, both teams will be dealing with this early tip set for 1:30 p.m. ET.

With all these factors in play, I feel confident in both the full game and first half under. I was able to get the full game under at the opener of 128.5 and I would feel comfortable at anything 126 or better.

No first half line is out yet, but I would feel confident in anything 63.5 or higher.

Pick: Under 126 or better | 1H under 63.5 or better

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