Houston vs East Carolina Odds, Picks: Exciting Shootout Expected
Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Houston’s Trimarcus Cheeks.
Houston vs East Carolina Odds
Houston entered the season as the favorite to win the American Athletic Conference after a 12-2 season and a run to the conference title game last season.
However, after a load of injuries and some disappointing results, the Cougars are just 6-4 with two conference losses. While still mathematically alive for the conference championship game, it would be nearly impossible.
East Carolina is also 6-4, but for the Pirates, it is a little less disappointing. By clinching bowl eligibility, the Pirates are set to play their first postseason game since 2014. They were bowl eligible last season, but didn’t play after COVID-19 issues caused the game's cancellation.
So while they share the same record, has the perception of the way these two seasons have gone created value in the market?
Once seen as a liability in the offense, quarterback Clayton Tune has developed into one of the most valuable players to his team in the country. He is averaging 302 yards per game this season and is third in the nation with 31 touchdown passes.
After Houston endured a stretch losing three out of four games, Tune has turned it up a notch. Over the past five games, he has thrown 22 touchdowns and averaged 365 yards. He also has three rushing touchdowns over that stretch.
Tune also has the benefit of throwing to one of the best receivers in the country. Tank Dell is averaging 101.7 yards per game with 13 touchdowns. He ranks fifth in the country in receiving yards, third in receptions and second in touchdowns.
Clayton Tune DEEP to Tank Dell🚀🚀
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 10, 2022
The Cougars defense has lost nearly everybody from last year’s dominant unit and in turn, has been a mess. After losing defensive ends Logan Hall and David Anenih, and corners Marcus Jones and Damarion Williams all to the NFL, Houston’s best returning player, Derek Parish, tore his biceps in Week 4 and is out for the season. He still leads the team in sacks and played just four games.
Saturday will be a special day in Greenville as it is senior day and quarterback Holton Ahlers' final game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
The five-year starter has played 52 games for the Pirates and is the school’s all-time leader in completions, passing yards and touchdowns.
Ahlers is having his best season with 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He’s completing a career-high 68% of his passes and averaging 8.0 yards per attempt. Ahlers has a pair of stud receivers in Isaiah Winstead and C.J. Johnson. They are both averaging over 80 yards per game with 12 scores between them.
— American Football (@American_FB) October 1, 2022
The Pirates don’t run the ball a ton, but when they do, they do it well. The two-headed monster lost Rahjai Harris halfway through the season, but Keaton Mitchell has gone over 100 yards in four straight games. He also has seven touchdowns over that stretch.
After struggling to defend the run last season, the Pirates have taken a huge step forward this year.
They rank 37th in Rushing Success and 43rd in line yards. They have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards in the conference and just held Cincinnati to 66 rushing yards. Defending the pass has been a major issue though.
Houston vs East Carolina Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Houston and East Carolina match up statistically:
Houston Offense vs. East Carolina Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
East Carolina Offense vs. Houston Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams
|Seconds per Play
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Houston vs East Carolina Betting Pick
Who the heck is getting a stop here?
Both teams rank in the top 25 in passing attempts per game. Ahlers and Tune are both top three in the AAC in passing touchdowns and yards and both offenses are top 40 in the country in Passing Success Rate.
Tune has been on a tear lately and his connection with Dell is one of the best in the country. Ahlers should let it rip on Senior Day with Winstead and Johnson getting open all game.
These two defenses have been horrific at defending the pass all season. Houston ranks 107th in the country in Passing Success Rate on defense, and East Carolina ranks 108th. The Pirates rank 101st in coverage grade and Houston is 104th in tackling.
Both teams are a mess on special teams, which could lead to short field position and quick scores. The over is 9-1 in Houston games this year. The total has gone over in all five of the Cougars road games this season.
This game is going to be an exciting shootout with Tune and Ahlers going shot for shot against these secondaries. Back the over in Greenville on Saturday.
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