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East Carolina vs Cincinnati Odds & Predictions: Bet Friday’s Underdog?

East Carolina vs Cincinnati Odds & Predictions: Bet Friday’s Underdog? article feature image

Chris Gardner/ Getty Images. Pictured: East Carolina quarterback Holton Ahlers.

East Carolina vs Cincinnati Odds

Friday, Nov. 11
8 p.m. ET
East Carolina Odds
-115o / -105u
Cincinnati Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The East Carolina Pirates exit their bye week riding a three-game winning streak. They'll look to make it four in a row when they head to Cincinnati on Friday night to take on the 4-1 Bearcats.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, looks to maintain its second-place standing in the AAC. It sits behind Tulane, which it will play in its season finale.

The Bearcats are coming off of a 20-10 win over Navy last week, something this team absolutely needed. Cincinnati may be 4-1 in conference play, but it's struggled considerably when it comes to pulling away from teams, and more importantly, covering the spread.

The Bearcats have failed to cover the spread in each of their last five games but are listed as a five-point favorite over the Pirates. Can they hold off a fresh ECU team looking to crash their party on Friday night?

East Carolina Pirates

After losing two of their first three conference games, the Pirates have found consistency and won their last two, along with an impressive win over BYU on the road to secure bowl eligibility.

However, like Cincinnati, they've struggled to cover the number in conference games.

The Pirates offense is one of the best passing attacks in the AAC, led by Holton Ahlers, who has put up at least 250 yards passing in four of his last five games.

The ECU offense is averaging 296.8 passing yards per game, but it's seventh among AAC teams when it comes to scoring.

Ahlers will have to be at his best against a Cincinnati defense that ranks 20th in Pass Play Success Rate Allowed if his team wants to pull off the upset on the road.

The good news for the Pirates is their defense can definitely give the Bearcats some struggles of their own.

East Carolina's defense ranks 18th when it comes to both Defensive Havoc and pass play explosiveness allowed. The Pirates are fourth — just behind Cincinnati — when it comes to scoring defense among AAC teams, giving up just 23.2 points per game.

The Bearcats are great when it comes to running the ball, ranking 24th in Rush Play Success Rate. But ECU can at least challenge them, as the Pirates come in at 37th in Rush Play Success Rate Allowed.

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Cincinnati Bearcats

The Cincinnati offense can be successful both on the ground and through the air.

Quarterback Ben Bryant has posted 298 and 299 passing yards in each of his last two games. He's racked up 2,358 yards passing on the season and has thrown just six interceptions against 18 touchdowns.

Running back Charles McClelland has been the driving force when it comes to the ground attack, going for 100 yards rushing or more in three games this season.

However, against a Pirates team that comes in at 51st in Defensive Rush Success, I think we see the Bearcats rely heavily on the passing game.

The Cincinnati defense will be a tough task for the Pirates. The Bearcats rank seventh nationally when it comes to Defensive Havoc and lead the AAC in sacks as a team. ECU, meanwhile, has given up 12 sacks on the season and ranks 94th when it comes to pass blocking.

If the Bearcats can get to Ahlers in the backfield, it could very well be the deciding factor in this game.

East Carolina vs Cincinnati Matchup Analysis

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

East Carolina Offense vs. Cincinnati Defense
Rush Success3724
Line Yards11127
Pass Success2620
Pass Blocking**944
Finishing Drives7259
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Cincinnati Offense vs. East Carolina Defense
Rush Success11251
Line Yards4448
Pass Success55113
Pass Blocking**75128
Finishing Drives7537
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling3520
PFF Coverage9594
SP+ Special Teams12933
Seconds per Play26.3 (61)26.0 (56)
Rush Rate48.2% (98)47.3% (104)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

East Carolina vs Cincinnati Betting Pick

Both of these teams have improved nearly every week as the season has progressed. However, there are two continuous issues for the Bearcats that I believe will cost them this game.

Cincinnati has struggled when it comes to third-down conversions as well as Finishing Drives. The Bearcats rank ninth among 11 AAC teams in red-zone offense and come in at 75th in Finishing Drives. They're also converting just 37.7% of third-down attempts.

ECU, meanwhile, leads the AAC in third-down conversions, reaching the marker 50.8% of the time. Its defense will also make things difficult in the red zone for the Bearcats, as the Pirates come in at 37th in Defensive Finishing Drives.

The Pirates offense isn't great in that area, ranking 72nd in Finishing Drives, but it should expose a Cincinnati defense that comes in at 59th.

Back East Carolina to keep it close at +3 or better.

Pick: East Carolina +5.5 · Play to +3

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