Temple vs. East Carolina College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions: Will Pirates Blowout Owls?

Temple vs. East Carolina College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions: Will Pirates Blowout Owls? article feature image
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  • East Carolina (2-2 in conference) hosts Temple (1-3 in league) in an AAC clash
  • The Pirates have played a lot of close games this season, while the Owls have lost three in a row.
  • Anthony Dabbundo dives into this duel and makes his top pick.

Temple vs. East Carolina Odds

Saturday, Nov. 6
3 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Temple Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+15
53.5
-105o / -115u
+500
East Carolina Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-15
53.5
-105o / -115u
-720
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Since Temple pulled off a double-digit underdog home upset of Memphis to get to 3-2 and 1-0 in the American, the season has fallen apart with three consecutive blowout losses.

Losing to Cincinnati and UCF by a combined 91 points is one thing, but a 20-point loss to lowly USF sandwiched between those two has the Owls sitting at three wins and facing an uphill climb to find a fourth victory.

On the other side, it’s been a season of what-ifs for East Carolina.

The Pirates’ 4-4 record doesn’t jump off the screen, but what if they had beaten South Carolina in a game they never trailed until the final kick? What if ECU had completed the comeback against Houston and won in overtime? What if the Pirates didn’t allow UCF to score a game-winning touchdown with 23 seconds left?

The Pirates are 1-3 in toss-up games this year and have played better than their record indicates.

As Temple’s anemic offense visits East Carolina, the Pirates shouldn’t be facing another close game this Saturday.


Temple Owls

Temple Offense

As bad as the Temple offense has been at moving the ball down the field, it’s been even worse at turning yards into points.

The Owls rank 122nd in Offensive Finishing Drives, which will make touchdowns very hard to come by for a unit that has scored three total touchdowns in the last three games. One of those touchdowns came in garbage time with the Owls already trailing by 40 points and facing the UCF reserves.

The Owls are 113th in overall Offensive Success Rate and they’ve been very boom or bust when producing offense this year.

Most of their offense hasn’t come from sustained drives, but the occasional big play. That’s a problem in this game against an ECU defense that is among the best in the country at preventing explosiveness.

The Owls are 114th in Early Down Success Rate. Their numbers are boosted by two games when they actually had decent play-to-play offense against Akron and Boston College with a backup quarterback.

With starter D’Wan Mathis in the game, there’s been no juice in the TU offense for weeks. It’s one of the worst units in the country.


Temple Defense

Given how bad the offense has been this year, the Temple defense has been a decent unit across the board.

But they’re trending in the wrong direction.

They’ve been blown away by UCF and Cincinnati in recent weeks, allowed 34 points to a lousy USF offense and have seen their metrics drop across the board.

Temple is 50th in Passing Success Rate and has a decent pass rush along with that, but the Owls rank outside the top 100 in PFF coverage grades and PFF tackling grades.

This makes them prone to allowing big plays. The Owls allow a lot of passing explosiveness and rank 98th in Big Plays overall, so ECU should be able to break off a few chunk plays against this defense.

Even if ECU is stringing together long drives through the air, enough explosive plays will be more than enough for the Pirates to get margin here.


East Carolina Pirates

East Carolina Offense

One key area for the Pirates to improve upon is in Finishing Drives, where settling for field goals and red zone inefficiency has cost them in a lot of these close losses.

The Pirates rank 108th in Finishing Drives, but fortunately for them, the Owls are even worse defensively at preventing opponents from getting touchdowns. That’ll be a key battle because if ECU converts touchdowns, it’s going to be very hard for Temple to keep this game interesting for long.

The Pirates play at an above-average tempo and they pass more than average. That’s going against the strength of the TU defense — pass defense — but also enables them to hit some big plays, where ECU has a huge edge offensively.

The Owls’ defense lacks eye discipline, tackling ability and coverage quality. All of this will enable ECU to hit big plays on the ground and through the air.


East Carolina Defense

ECU’s defense ranks inside the top 35 at preventing standard down explosiveness. The Pirates are also 22nd in rushing explosiveness allowed.

They have excellent PFF coverage grades, a decided edge in special teams and an edge in tackling grades.

Fundamentally, the ECU defense is a solid unit that doesn’t allow big plays. Also, the Temple offense isn’t good enough to string together long drives against almost anyone. Even in the Owls’ wins against FBS programs, they mostly had short fields caused by turnovers the defense forced.

Temple has no statistical edge or effective way to produce points without flukes, short fields or turnovers.

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Temple vs. East Carolina Matchup Analysis

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

Temple Offense vs. East Carolina Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 89 59
Line Yards 97 50
Pass Success 104 45
Pass Blocking** 70 115
Big Play 47 117
Havoc 91 11
Finishing Drives 122 60
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

East Carolina Offense vs. Temple Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 83 111
Line Yards 109 103
Pass Success 76 50
Pass Blocking** 119 47
Big Play 53 98
Havoc 105 108
Finishing Drives 108 123
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 117 82
Coverage 100 25
Middle 8 102 51
SP+ Special Teams 73 46
Plays per Minute 89 55
Rush Rate 49.8% (100) 52.% (86)

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


Temple vs. East Carolina Betting Pick

Temple’s program is barely being held together right now under Rod Carey. The Owls have been embarrassed in three consecutive weeks, with the advanced metrics on both sides of the ball trending downward.

East Carolina is a bit underrated because of its poor record in close games, but this matchup shouldn’t be close as the Pirates exploit significant explosiveness edges on both sides of the ball. They will shut down an anemic TU offense and they also enjoy a solid special teams advantage

Both the Action Network and SP+ power ratings suggest Temple to be among the worst 20 programs in the country and outside of one game against Memphis, it has played like it all season.

The market opened at 15 and has taken some ECU money up to 16. I’d play anything -16.5 or better on the Pirates to pull away late on Saturday at home.

Pick: East Carolina -16.5 or better

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