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East Carolina vs. Tulsa Betting Odds & Pick: Value on Under in Golden Hurricane Home Opener (Friday, Oct. 30)

East Carolina vs. Tulsa Betting Odds & Pick: Value on Under in Golden Hurricane Home Opener (Friday, Oct. 30) article feature image

Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: East Carolina wide receiver Blake Proehl.

  • Mighty Tulsa hosts East Carolina as a 17.5-point favorite in its home opener.
  • The Golden Hurricane, led by their defense, should control the clock and dictate game pace against the Pirates.
  • Ace DeCardano breaks down the meeting and tells us why he thinks points will be at a premium.

East Carolina vs. Tulsa Odds

East Carolina Odds -17.5 [BET NOW]
Tulsa Odds +17.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -1115/+575 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 61 [BET NOW]
Time Friday, 9 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

The once-proud East Carolina football team has fallen on hard times.

On Friday night, the Pirates look to continue leaning on the run game in order to move the football and score points. Unfortunately, this plan runs directly into the strength of Tulsa, the American Athletic Conference’s new bully on the block.

To quote another memorable sports bully, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

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East Carolina Pirates

The Pirates enter this contest averaging the 26th-most rushing yards per game (193.0) among active FBS teams. Quarterback Holton Ahlers did air the ball out 50 times against Georgia State, but that was more a product of game flow than anything else, as the Pirates were playing catch-up most of the day.

Additionally, Ahlers was woefully inefficient. He threw three interceptions, racked up a measly 236 passing yards and finished without a touchdown. If East Carolina is going to rely on Ahlers’ arm against Tulsa’s mini Legion of Boom (it has big, tough ballhawks in its secondary), it could be a long night for the guys in purple and gold.

As such, the ground game is going to have to lead the way. There is just one problem, though. The bulk of the running game’s success has come against teams that have been generous to opposing backfields. Navy is near the very bottom of the FBS (120th), and South Florida ranks 103rd in opponent yards per rush attempt. Obviously, these defenses aren’t taking the field Friday in this game.

That being said, points are going to be hard to come by for the Pirates.

On the other side of the ball, it’s really tough to gauge the defense. The Pirates gave up points and yards to Central Florida and Georgia State, but so does everyone else. They did play fairly well against South Florida (24 points allowed) and Navy (318 yards allowed).

“Sharps,” big money bettors and The Action Network PRO projections all back East Carolina. I can’t imagine the trio is backing its offense, though.

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Tulsa Golden Hurricane

The last time we saw the Golden Hurricane, it began its game at Central Florida by turning the ball over three times, taking a safety and allowing an explosive run for a touchdown in the game’s first eight minutes.

And just like that, it was 16-0 and an uphill battle the rest of the way.

However, this team doesn’t quit.

Led by a defense that only yielded three second-half points, Tulsa came all the way back and defeated Central Florida, 34-26. Just like that, the nation’s second-longest home winning steak was no more.

Needless to say, that’s some serious mental toughness.

It’s the same toughness Tulsa showed when it went toe-to-toe with the sixth-ranked Oklahoma State. On that day in Stillwater, the Golden Hurricane held the Cowboys to 16 points and 4.4 yards per play.

Maybe even more impressive was the fact Tulsa held explosive Chuba Hubbard to 3.07 yards per touch.

Offensively, quarterback Zach Smith is serviceable and the Golden Hurricane rotate bruising running backs who have the ability to keep the chains moving. One of those backs — T.K. Wilkerson — missed last week’s contest due to a personal matter. His status for Friday is still up in the air. However, talented sophomore Deneric Prince (6.3 yards per carry) will be ready to go..

That being said, the Golden Hurricane aren’t usually in a hurry to go. Tulsa is 83rd in FBS with 65.7 plays per game. This is despite the fact it’s played two of the most up-tempo offenses in college football. One would think this skews its numbers upward. Tulsa will be looking to control the football and grind down the overmatched Pirates.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Tulsa’s defense is physical in all three levels and should be properly motivated, as this is (finally) its first home game of the year. East Carolina is going to have a tough time moving the ball.

When one team doesn’t move the ball and the big favorite likes to control the game, you’ve got a recipe for an under.

Obviously, you hate rooting for unders. I hate rooting for unders. So what? If East Carolina’s defense gives us anything at all, this total might be off by a touchdown. That’s why I’m backing the under in this meeting.

Pick: Under 61.

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