East Carolina vs. Marshall Odds, Predictions, Picks: Saturday’s Betting Value on Herd (September 18)

East Carolina vs. Marshall Odds, Predictions, Picks: Saturday’s Betting Value on Herd (September 18) article feature image

Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Grant Wells.

East Carolina vs. Marshall Odds

Saturday, Sept. 18
6 p.m. ET
East Carolina Odds
-115o / -105u
Marshall Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Sunday evening in Huntington, West Virginia, two teams trending in opposite directions will be pitted against each other as the East Carolina Pirates square off against the Marshall Thundering Herd.

Can the Herd continue to bring the thunder against the Pirates? Let's break this matchup down to find out.

East Carolina Pirates

The Pirates are coming off a crushing loss to South Carolina. They were poised to pull the upset until the Gamecocks rallied and hit the eventual game-winning field goal in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter.

This upcoming matchup with Marshall presents an even taller task. Mike Houston and his veteran roster are needing to regroup in a hurry.

Pirates Offense

The Pirates offense has been underwhelming so far this season. It is averaging only 18 points per game, which is a concerning dip as it has averaged 34 points per game since Houston took over.

East Carolina's quarterback, Holton Ahlers, has not gotten off to the hottest of starts. He has only completed 51 percent of his passes, thrown one more interception than touchdowns and has been sacked nine times.

The ground game has been the only bright spot for the Pirates as Rahjai Harris and Keaton Mitchell have combined for 184 yards at 4.7 yards a clip. Unfortunately, they have only received a combined 40 carries.

A schematic change may be in order for East Carolina to sustain more offensive success and finish drives.

Pirates Defense

East Carolina's defense has not exactly been the strength of its program in recent years, and in two games so far this year, little improvement has been shown. The Pirates rank 114th in Coverage. Their inability to hang with receivers has led to multiple big plays against them.

Appalachian State also had quite the day on the ground against these Pirates. It ran over the Pirates defense for 226 yards at over 6.3 yards a carry. Just as on the offensive side of the ball, adjustments are crucial for East Carolina to remain competitive.

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Marshall Thundering Herd

The Thundering Herd has trounced their two opponents, outscoring them 93-17. They have been excellent on both sides of the ball, and they are looking to build on their stellar performances.

Thundering Herd Offense

The Marshall offense has been a juggernaut to open the season. It is averaging 586 total yards of offense. Much of it has to do with the prowess of freshman quarterback Grant Wells.

Wells has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes and is averaging over 13 yards per completion. Wells is coming off a great game where he accounted for four scores, including this big strike to Talik Keaton.

@HerdFB adds another TD to the board behind Grant Wells' 4th TD of the night – this time a 46-yard pass to Talik Keaton

Marshall 27, N.C. Central 7

Watch > https://t.co/TxZtImppYQ (ESPN+) pic.twitter.com/gsBNFOXLqZ

— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) September 12, 2021

Marshall's run game has been thunderous near the end of drives. The Herd have already rushed for nine scores and are eighth in the nation at Finishing Drives. Marshall's offense has a very favorable outlook against the Pirates defense. Whether or not its dominance will continue remains to be seen.

Thundering Herd Defense

Marshall's defense faced a unique test in their opener against Navy. The Midshipmen are a traditional option-style offense that runs the ball with relentless volume. Marshall held them to 4.4 yards per carry across 76 attempts.

It followed up that performance by shutting down the North Carolina Central Eagles offense entirely.

The Herd now boast some very impressive ranks heading into their date with East Carolina. They rank third in Pass Success Against and ninth in Finishing Drives. Pair those numbers up with the ability to stifle the run game and Pirates could be in for a long day.

East Carolina vs. Marshall Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how East Carolina and Marshall match up statistically:

East Carolina Offense vs. Marshall Defense




Rush Success12390
Line Yards92115
Pass Success1053
Pass Blocking*935
Big Play9849
Finishing Drives1239
* Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Marshall Offense vs. East Carolina Defense




Rush Success281
Line Yards11955
Pass Success1192
Pass Blocking*33101
Big Play30126
Finishing Drives878
* Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling10347
PFF Coverage11432
Middle 811631
SP+ Special Teams7283
Plays per Minute661
Rush Rate48.4% (102)44.2% (113)

Data via College Football Data (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF & SportSource Analytics.

East Carolina has not shown the ability to be successful against a team like Marshall. The Thundering Herd hold advantages in nearly every facet. The one area where the Pirates have succeeded is on the ground, but Marshall has already experienced a potent rushing attack.

A struggling Ahlers will be forced to throw against a solid secondary. Then on the opposite side of the ball, the Herd have been supremely efficient on offense. No matter how you look at it, this matchup spells trouble for East Carolina.

East Carolina vs. Marshall Betting Pick

Marshall's average margin of victory so far has been by 38 points. The Pirates, who have been lackluster this season, show no signs of changing that.

Marshall continues to roll in this one.

Pick: Marshall -10.

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