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East Carolina Pirates vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Betting Picks and Predictions

29 October 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Friday, October 30th
Time:9:00 PM ET
Network:ESPN 2
Venue:Chapman Stadium
Spread:Tulsa -17
O/U:61.5

The 1-3 East Carolina Pirates will go on the road Friday night to face off with the 2-1 Tulsa Golden Hurricane at 9:00 PM ET in Chapman Stadium. You can tune into the matchup on ESPN2. The Golden Hurricane come in as 17-point home favorites and we’re looking at a 61.5 over/under, so it’s projected to be a shootout. Let’s dive into how this game will go and who will cover the spread. 

When The East Carolina Pirates Have The Ball

The Pirates have struggled through four weeks, getting throttled by Georgia State and UCF to start the season before picking up their lone win against a lowly USF team. They then lost a close game to Navy and sit 1-3 in what was expected to be a promising season. The defense has been the teams largest crux, allowing 147 points through four games to some average offenses. 

QB Holton Ahlers has always been up, down, and inefficient. He’s completed just 56% of his passes since 2018. With that being said, he’s a gunslinger and he has the upside to put it together on any given night. Ahlers has thrown for 673 yards and six scores thus far, though four interceptions in as many games isn’t great. Ahlers will always go for it and he’s willing to face the consequences, good or bad. 

The Pirates have rushed the ball efficiently, totaling 772 yards and six touchdowns with a freshman-filled backfield. Rahjai Harris leads the way with 330 yards and three scores. He’s a freshman out of South Carolina with a ton of upside and the Pirates will make sure he gets the ball in his hands 15+ times in this game. He’s backed up by Keaton Mitchell, who’s a speedster with a bit less punch to his attack. Harris will run you over and then run away from you. 

The Pirates have some of the best receiving talents in the conference. Tyler Snead (20 rec, 194 yds, TD) and Blake Proehl (19 rec, 144 yds) are sure-handed upperclassmen and both are target hogs. C.J. Johnson has only caught six balls, but he’s turned those into 166 yards and three touchdowns. He’s a future NFL receiver and Ahlers would be wise to get him the ball more often. Especially in space, as he’s the best player on the field and can change the game at any given time. 

  • East Carolina is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games.
  • Tulsa is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of East Carolina’s last 5 games played in October.
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Tulsa’s last 7 games against East Carolina.

When The Tulsa Golden Hurricane Have The Ball

The Golden Hurricane have only played three games through seven weeks, so it’s tough to find much of a rhythm. They started the season off with a loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys before beating 11-ranked UCF and USF. They now sit at 2-1 and are looking to get ranked. They play two more ranked opponents and could have a serious discussion for a big bowl game if they win out. 

Tulsa has been balanced offensively, passing it for 673 yards and running it for 504. Senior QB Zach Smith leads the bunch and he’s thrown five touchdowns to three interceptions. Coming off a season in which he threw for 3,279 yards, Smith needs to step it up if they want to continue winning games. 

The weapons are there as Tulsa will match East Carolina with similarly devasting receivers. Keylon Stokes leads the pack in the slot and he’s caught 14 balls for 216 yards and a score. Sam Crawford Jr. (12 rec, 179 yds, TD) and Josh Johnson (11 rec, 155 yds, 2 TD) are equally impressive and while neither get much national attention, I personally guarantee NFL teams aren’t sleeping on any of these guys. NFL scouts will be looking at five different receivers in this game and it’ll be fun to watch. 

The backfield is packed with talent as well. Corey Taylor II returned last week and promptly scored two touchdowns on 12 carries. He was rested once the game was in hand. Demeric Prince (232 yds, TD) and TK Wilkerson (108 yds, TD) compliment Taylor nicely and give Tulsa a ton of versatility in the running game. Taylor and Prince are threats to catch it out of the backfield as well. 

Spread Prediction

The Pirates have all the weapons necessary to surprise Tulsa, but they’ve proven over and over this season that they are not the team they were a season ago. The offensive line isn’t giving Ahlers enough time to drive the ball downfield and it’s resulted in one of the best receivers in the country having just six catches. The defense isn’t very good either, and Tulsa have shown to be lethal when they want to be. 

The Golden Hurricane know their identity and their defense gives them enough opportunities to make things happen. Zach Smith takes good care of the ball and is comfortable with his offensive line. I’m a big fan of Tulsa up to three touchdowns here and love it as a Friday night bankroll booster. 

The Pick: Tulsa -17

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

I’m a big fan of the over in this game as both of these offenses will have success. The Golden Hurricane defense will slow down East Carolina, but the Pirates can fling it around and they’ll put up close to 30 points. Tulsa is going to outscore them and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them to push 50 points against this putrid East Carolina defense. The over is my favorite bet in this game and I’ll be laying two units myself. 

The Pick: Over 61.5

Final Score Prediction: Tulsa 42, East Carolina 27

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

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