The Thursday night (7:00 pm ET) game of the week for week 12 of the 2014 season features two exciting teams out of the American Athletic Conference as the East Carolina Pirates (6-2) travel to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH to take on the host Cincinnati Bearcats (5-3) in a nationally televised game. East Carolina is coming off of a bye last week, and the Pirates roared out to a 6-1 start and a top 25 national ranking before they were upset in their last game two weeks ago at Temple 20-10. The Pirates own wins over Virginia Tech (28-21) and North Carolina (70-41) of the ACC, and suffered a hard-fought 33-23 loss at South Carolina in week 2. Cincinnati has won 3 games in a row, including a 38-14 last Friday night at Tulane in a game correctly forecasted in this blog. They rebounded from a 2-3 start to the season that included losses at Ohio St. (50-38) at Miami (FL.) (55-34).
East Carolina is ranked 25th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 35.9 points per game and 4th among FBS teams in total offense with 549.5 yards per contest. The Pirates have had one of the most explosive offenses in the country, but against Temple they shot themselves in the foot repeatedly with 5 lost fumbles, after they had only 2 the entire season coming into that game. Defensively the Pirates, who rank 8th in FBS in run defense, have held 6 of their opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing. Overall ECU ranks 36th nationally in scoring defense with 23 PPG allowed and 24th in total defense with 339.4 YPG allowed.
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Cincinnati is ranked 31st nationally in scoring offense with an average of 34.8 PPG scored and 28th among FBS teams in total offense with 465.9 YPG.The Bearcats will be making a change under center with Munchie Legaux takes over after Gunner Kiel aggravated a rib injury on the first play of the game against Tulane, and Legaux came in and matched a career high with 3 touchdown passes. Defensively Cincinnati ranks 85th nationally with 29.8 PPG allowed and 111th in total defense with 475.6 YPG allowed.
East Carolina vs. Cincinnati Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
East Carolina Pirates -2.5
@ Cincinnati Bearcats +2.5
Over 68 (-110)
Under 68 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
East Carolina vs Cincinnati Pick
East Carolina is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 conference games and 4-14 ATS in their last 18 games against a team with a winning record. The Bearcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 conference games and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 Thursday games. The Under is 5-2 in Pirates last 7 games overall, -2 in their last 7 games following a bye week and 5-0 in their last 5 road games. The under is 11-3 in Bearcats last 14 Thursday games, 7-3 in their last 10 home games against a team with a winning road record and 4-1 in their last 5 games overall. In head-to-head play, the home team is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 meetings and ECU is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 trips to Cincinnati.
This game is very difficult to call against the line as East Carolina looked terrible their last time out but has been one of the most productive offenses in the country all season long aside from their game against Temple. The trend strongly favors the Bearcats, especially in head-to-head play, but with a new quarterback working his way back into the lineup and the Pirates explosive offense going against Cincy’s weak defense the Bearcats are no sure thing. The total is the play to make here, and with a strong trend in favor of the UNDER and ECU struggling on offense and possessing a strong defense, that 68 total looks a bit high here. Take the UNDER in this game.