Connecticut (1-5) at No. 18 East Carolina (5-1)
ECU favored by 28 points, Over/Under at 55
Both of these teams had a bye last week.
In East Carolina's five wins this season, two of them have been by more than 28 points. The two teams that lost by more than 28 threw the ball on 41-percent and 52-percent of their plays. In the other three wins, ECU won by seven (Virginia Tech threw the ball 63-percent of their plays), ECU won by 21 (SMU threw the ball 79-percent of their plays) and ECU defeated USF by 11 (the Bulls threw the ball on 61-percent of their plays). UConn has only thrown the ball over 50-percent of their plays twice (61-percent against BYU and 51-percent against Boise State). In the other four games the Huskies threw the ball 42, 25, 38 and 48-percent of their plays. Normally I would suggest the Huskies run the ball against an up-tempo team, but the Pirates are not a traditional up-tempo air-attack team as much as they are just efficient with the ball. The best shot for UConn to cover tonight is by airing it out.
Per the New Haven Register's Jim Fuller, Connecticut's defense has given up the fourth fewest yards among FBS teams over the last four games, and 6th fewest in last 5 games. ECU has scored 72 points in the opening quarter this season, while UConn has been outscored 59-9 in the first quarter - with the majority of the opponent's points coming off early UConn turnovers. Even with all of the defensive touchdowns allowed by the Huskies, only one game has gone over 55 - Boise State and UConn combined for 59. The Pirates have had four of their six games go over 55-points this year - 59 against FCS opponent North Carolina Central, 56 against South Carolina, an astounding 111 against North Carolina and 69 against SMU. UConn's defense is a lot closer to their other two opponents - South Florida and Virginia Tech - than they are to the three teams whose games went over 55 points. Usually the first half total is half of the game total, but amazingly the first half total for this game is 30.
By the numbers: the over is 7-2 in UConn's last nine on the road against a team with a winning home record. Over is 4-0 in ECU's last four at home against a team with a losing record. UConn is 5-15-1 ATS the last 21 after scoring less than 20 points in the previous game. ECU is 6-2 ATS the last eight after allowing less than 20 points in the previous game. When East Carolina plays as a home team with a total of 54.5 or more, the over is 8-2 over the last ten games. Favorites of 21 to 31 points are 46-13 against the spread. The Huskies are the ONLY team in the country to have not won against the spread, going 0-6. East Carolina is 1-2 this year as a favorite, but is 3-0 as an underdog. East Carolina is 13-3 ATS in the first half in the last 16 games.
Pick: ECU -17
Pick: ECU -28
Pick: Under 55
South Florida (3-4) at Cincinnati (3-3)
The Cincinnati Bearcats are coming off of a big 41-3 win at Southern Methodist. Meanwhile, the USF Bulls were down 27-7 at halftime at Tulsa, but put up 316 yards of offense in the second half - after averaging 311.3 per game - and won 38-30. Having Andre Davis back from injury immensely helped USF on offense as he had six receptions for 154 yards and three touchdowns - with all three scores coming in the second half.
Willie Taggart, 9-3 vs. spread as double-digit road dog. Taggart is 26-10 ATS when playing with six or less days of rest. Taggart is also 34-19 in his career as head coach. Since 2008, the Bearcats are 30-4 straight up at home. The Bulls won this game last year 26-20 without scoring an offensive touchdown. This goes against any South Florida game I have ever picked - it has always been smart to pick under and USF's opponent.
I would feel much better about these plays if this wasn't a Friday night game and there wasn't a bit of a revenge factor.
Pick: USF +11
Pick: Over 60
Memphis (3-3) at Southern Methodist (0-6)
Memphis has alternated wins and losses since the beginning of the season. They lost their previous game and are coming off of a bye. The Tigers lost their match-up with the Mustangs last year, 34-29. I am working on a theory with double-digit dogs in the first half of games that have an 11 a.m. local kickoff (5-0 over the last three weeks); however, none of those teams had been home teams. So, I am going to throw that theory out the window for this game. The lowest total points for a SMU game this year has been 44 points. Memphis has played one game under 49 points this year- a 24-3 loss at Ole Miss.
And now let's add last week's score to our point total count: Since SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert was injured last year - just before halftime - in the third to the last game of the season, SMU has scored just 65 points in the last 30 quarters. Over that period, SMU opponents have scored 345 points. Which comes out to 2.2 points per quarter and 11.5 points allowed per quarter or an average of a 46-9 loss.
Pick: Memphis -13.5
Pick: Memphis -23
Pick: Over 50
Temple (4-2) at Central Florida (4-2)
The teams - Vanderbilt, Delaware State, Connecticut and Tulsa - that Temple has defeated this year are a combined 6-22. Four of those six wins are against FCS schools, the other two come from Tulane in double overtime and UMass.
This had revenge game written all over it. With how terrible the Knights have played and Temple looking for payback after last year's last minute defeat - on a sensational J.J. Worton catch - I'm tempted to take the Owls but with no good wins to show on the year it is tough to back them, especially after watching the line drop from +11 to +7. After last week's win, UCF is 10-2 over the last two seasons in one-possession games. 19 games have been played in that span. So it seems the Knights have a tendency play up or down to their competition.
Although I have been tempted to take the first-half under in UCF's last two games I have missed out. I will not miss my chance this week:
Pick: First half under 24