Marshall vs East Carolina Odds, Picks | Bet the Under
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Rasheen Ali (Marshall)
Marshall vs East Carolina Odds
Marshall made headlines in Week 2 last year when it upset Notre Dame, but its Week 2 matchup a year later is a bit more low-key.
Both Marshall and ECU have been respectable G5 programs; however, this year both are dealing with a lot of turnover.
Marshall started out the year 1-0 by squeaking by an FCS opponent, while East Carolina was throttled at the hands of Michigan.
This week, they'll face each other in a game that will be much more evenly matched — talent wise — than their Week 1 clashes.
Neither team projects to be great on offense, which may end up leading us towards a close but low-scoring game this weekend.
Continue reading to see my thoughts below on this Marshall vs. East Carolina matchup.
Last weekend, Marshall took on Albany from the FCS ranks and won 21-17. While this victory doesn’t look very impressive on the scoreboard, Marshall actually should've won this duel much more handily.
The Thundering Herd had a 91st-percentile Offensive Success Rate and were in the 87th percentile in yards per play. At the same time, they held Albany to a ninth-percentile YPP and 16th-percentile Success Rate. Based on Bill Connelly’s post-game win expectancy, this should've been a 20.8-point expected victory for Marshall.
Third down was a killer, as Marshall converted just 8% of its chances. I would assume that this doesn't carry over to this week.
Marshall’s offense did struggle for much of last season; it was 87th in Success Rate and 125th in Finishing Drives. The Herd ran the ball at the ninth-highest rate in FBS to the tune of the 97th-best PPA and 79th-best Success Rate.
The passing game caused many of their issues, as they ranked 125th in PPA, 111th in Success Rate and 123rd in Explosiveness.
RB Rasheen Ali was the main part of this offense in 2021, as he ran for 1,401 yards and 23 touchdowns. Unfortunately, last year, he was injured and only played in a limited number of games. He returns fully healthy this year and had 18 carries for 179 yards and two touchdowns in their opener.
Marshall returns seven starters on offense and while the unit should be improved from last year, I still wouldn't expect this to be an explosive offensive attack.
Last year’s Marshall defense was fantastic; it ranked second in both Success Rate and Finishing Drives but 120th in Explosiveness. Both facets of the Herd's defense were strengths, as they ranked second in Passing Success Rate Allowed and third against the run.
This year, they only return four starters on this side of the ball, though. The Herd lost six of their top nine tacklers, including most of their secondary.
While they should still be a solid defense, you would think that they'd take a bit of a step back in 2022.
Last week, East Carolina fell to Michigan, 30-3. While this was largely expected, the Pirates were still able to cover the spread. Michigan had an 83rd-percentile Success Rate, but it was its passing game that showed up. The Wolverines had a 96th-percentile EPA per drop back compared to a 19th-percentile EPA per rush.
This would match up with the strengths of ECU’s defense last year. Overall, the Pirates ranked 103rd in Success Rate in 2022, but they were 55th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 35th in Rushing PPA Allowed. They struggled to defend the pass, ranking 124th in Passing Success Rate Allowed.
This year, they return six starters on defense, including all of their front four. I would expect the rushing defense to remain their strongest point this year, which matches up well with what Marshall will be looking to do.
On the offensive side of the ball, East Carolina will be bringing back four starters. The biggest loss is quarterback Holton Ahlers, who had been with the team since 2018 and was the AAC’s all-time leading passer.
Last week, the Pirates opted to go with a two-quarterback system against Michigan, which obviously didn't produce great results. They reportedly will try this again on Saturday, rolling out both Mason Garcia and Alex Flinn.
Garcia has a bit more experience and performed better against Michigan, but it remains to be seen how they both will be deployed this season.
Marshall vs. East Carolina
Betting Pick & Prediction
For Marshall, its outcome likely depends on its rushing offense. ECU has a strong run defense, and I believe that the Pirates will be able to bottle up much of Marshall’s offensive production.
Without getting good play from the passing game, Marshall may struggle to get into the end zone.
East Carolina’s quarterback situation doesn't seem like a great match for Marshall’s defense either. I believe that the Thundering Herd will be able to play as they did much of last year and limit the Pirates’ chances to score.
Based on the defensive matchup for ECU and Marshall’s strong defense — as well as the lack of offense on both sides — I like taking the under in this game.
Unless one of the three quarterbacks in this game breaks out, odds are that we'll see a slower-paced game with a lot of punting back and forth.
The number was as high as 47 earlier this week, and it currently sits at 44.5. I would still take this down to 43.5.