College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for East Carolina vs. UCF: Ride the Pirates, Not Knights

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for East Carolina vs. UCF: Ride the Pirates, Not Knights article feature image

Photo by Conor Kvatek/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

  • UCF hosts East Carolina in an AAC duel in Orlando, Florida.
  • The Knights have lost two straight games, while the Pirates have won three in a row.
  • Kyle Remillard break down the matchup and offers up his best bet.

East Carolina vs. UCF Odds

East Carolina Odds+10 (-110)
UCF Odds-10 (-110)
Moneyline+280 / -365
Over/Under65.5 (-110 / -110)
Time6 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

East Carolina looks to make it four wins in a row as it travels to Orlando to take on the UCF Knights.

The Pirates opened the season dropping their first two games to Appalachian State and South Carolina. Since then, ECU has won three games in a row over Marshall, Charleston Southern and Tulane.

The three-game win streak is the longest for the program since 2014.

UCF is trending in the opposite direction. After starting out the season 2-0, the Knights now sit at .500 after losing their last two. Losing to Louisville was understandable, but blowing a 17-point fourth-quarter lead to winless Navy was a punch to the gut of UCF fans.

UCF is 0-3 against FBS teams this season against the spread. Can Gus Malzahn’s Knights cover as double-digit favorites against a hot ECU Pirates offense?

East Carolina vs. UCF Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 9
6 p.m. ET

East Carolina Pirates

East Carolina Offense

The East Carolina offense averaged 18 points through the first two games.

Over its three-game win streak, the offense has averaged 42 points per game.

Fourth-year quarterback Holton Ahlers has been coined by some as a poor man’s Tim Tebow. He’s been a large reason for the recent success, averaging nearly 300 yards through the air and 8.5 yards per passing attempt during the win streak.

Tyler Snead and C.J. Johnson continue to be the go-to receivers for Ahlers. But this season, the ball has been spread around with eight different players logging a receiving touchdown. Among them is Jsi Hatfield, who is one of the most explosive deep ball threats in the country.

Freshman running back Keaton Mitchell has thrived over the last three games, averaging 160 yards per game and 11.5 yards per carry. He has touchdowns of 63, 74 and 88 yards this season.

East Carolina Defense

The ECU defense has been the anchor that’s held this team's back over the last few years.

This season looks to be no different as the Pirates rank outside the top 100 in both Rushing and Passing Success Rate. They have allowed 4.4 yards per carry and 8.4 yards per pass attempt.

They have been terrific at creating chaos and rank 10th in Havoc rate. The Pirates have forced 11 turnovers so far, including eight interceptions.

Safety Warren Saba has contributed two interceptions while Ja’Quan McMillian has three of his own.

The main concern in this matchup is East Carolina sits near the bottom of the country in allowing explosive plays. That's a bit scary when facing a UCF offense that has a history of explosive plays.

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Central Florida Knights

UCF Offense

The UCF offense has been banged up in recent weeks, losing three of its biggest offensive weapons.

It first lost quarterback Dillon Gabriel to a broken clavicle in the loss to Louisville. Gabriel averaged over 270 passing yards per game with nine touchdowns.

The torch was passed to three-star freshman Mikey Keene. It was tough to gauge the performance of his first start against Navy as UCF had the ball for just 20 minutes. He was more of a game manager who completed 16-of-26 passes for 178 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

The Knights were also without running back Isaiah Bowser and wide receiver Jaylon Robinson last game.

Bowser is the workhorse for this team as he has averaged 90 rushing yards per game and contributed five touchdowns in his three games. Robinson is an explosive wide receiver who has averaged 80 receiving yards per game with two touchdowns.

Malzahn has noted that both players are still week-to-week and seem to be game-time decisions.

The Knights' offense ranks 14th in Rushing Success Rate and averages 6.9 yards per carry. They should still find success against the subpar East Carolina defense.

UCF Defense

UCF is ranked outside the top 100 in scoring defense after allowing 30 or more points to all its FBS opponents this season.

The Knights looked tired in the fourth quarter against Navy when they allowed 17 unanswered points on the final three drives. In that game, they allowed 4.6 yards per carry on the Midshipmen’s 76 rushes.

In addition to all the injuries, starting linebacker Eriq Gilyard announced this week that he is leaving the program and will hit the transfer portal in the offseason.

The Knights rank 104th in Defensive Line Yards and have recorded just two sacks on the season. They’ve also failed to create Havoc where they rank 107th in the nation.

Ahlers can pick apart defenses if he is given time in the pocket.

East Carolina vs. UCF Matchup Analysis

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

East Carolina Offense vs. UCF Defense




Rush Success6755
Line Yards113104
Pass Success6550
Pass Blocking**10462
Big Play4947
Finishing Drives5221
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UCF Offense vs. East Carolina Defense




Rush Success14103
Line Yards3108
Pass Success87100
Pass Blocking**11114
Big Play5117
Finishing Drives69111
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling6370
PFF Coverage6070
Middle 83021
SP+ Special Teams5147
Plays per Minute4916
Rush Rate50.3% (90)52.6% (77)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

East Carolina vs. UCF Betting Pick

This game premiers two teams heading in opposite directions. East Carolina is winners of three in a row while UCF has lost its last two.

Central Florida is in trouble after losing six starters to injury against Louisville. Among those are the three biggest offensive weapons in Gabriel, Bowser and Robinson.

East Carolina is 8-1 against the spread in its last nine games as a double-digit underdog. It was trailing by 17 points to Marshall with 12 minutes remaining before clawing its way back and winning outright.

Ahlers has started to get into a groove the last three games and has the potential to torch the UCF defense.

I anticipate this game to be a higher-scoring contest, but I can't trust the UCF offense with all the new faces.

I feel more comfortable backing the Pirates in a game that could be decided by who has the ball last.

Pick: East Carolina +10.5 (Play to +10)

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