Ohio avoided a four-game losing streak to close out the regular season with a 51-23 romp over Massachusetts on November 29 as 19.5-point home favorites. This followed a three-game stretch in which Ohio was crushed by a combined score of 123-16 in losses to Buffalo, Bowling Green, and Kent State.
That is hardly ideal form against an East Carolina team that won nine games and which opened as 13.5 point favorites in this game. And favorites usually win this game, as the 4-1 ATS run in the five previous bowls indicates.
Tyler Tettleton has gone the distance at quarterback for the Bobcats (Mid-American, 7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS, 4-8 OU), and he has completed a respectable 63.1 percent of his passes for 2,623 yards and 20 touchdowns against nine interceptions. Beau Blankenship has done a good job running the ball with 844 yards on 183 carries and the offense as a whole has averaged 28 points a game. The defense is 65th in points allowed, giving-up an average of 26.7 points a game.
East Carolina (Conference USA, 9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS, 8-4 OU) was in prime position to play in this year's C-USA Championship, but a 59-28 loss to Marshall as a 4-point road underdog in the final game of the season quickly ended those plans. This dropped the Pirates to 6-2 in conference play and one game in back of the Thundering Herd in the East Division. They brought a five-game winning streak into that contest, which included a profitable 4-1 record ATS relative to the 5Dimes.eu closing line.
Look for a heavy dose of a Pirates' passing game that finished the season ranked 10th in the nation in yards per game, with 331.5. Quarterback Shane Carden threw for 3,866 yards and 32 touchdowns, with Justin Hardy on the receiving end of 105 balls for 1,218 yards and eight scores. Vintavious Cooper was just five yards shy of rushing for 1,000 yards, and he found the end zone 11 times on a total of 205 carries, but the Pirates only averaged 128.1 rushing yards a game as a team.
With the exception of getting torched for 59 points in the loss to Marshall, the Pirates' defense has done a fairly good job at keeping opposing offenses under wrap, allowing an average of 25.2 points a game.
Beef O Bradys Bowl Trends:
Favorites are 4-1 ATS in first 5 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowls
OVER is 6-1 past 7 East Carolina games
Computer Prediction: 42-29 East Carolina (per Odds Shark computer)
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