In a battle of two schools that like to deploy their running games, Head Coach Luke Fickell and the No. 17 Cincinnati Bearcats (+23) are set to pay a visit to their conference nemesis East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The matchup will start at 7:00 p.m. ET and CBS Sports Network will broadcast the action.
Betting Preview: East Carolina Pirates vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati is the heavy road favorite and is currently giving up 23 points to East Carolina. Vegas has determined the over/under (O/U) to be 49 points. If one school can get out in front in the early stages, it’ll likely result in a nice betting scenario in-game.
The profitable Bearcats have gained 5.5 units so far in 2019 and are 5-2 against the spread (ATS). They’ve been a good under bet and have posted an O/U record of 2-5.
The Pirates are down 1.7 units this season. The team is 4-4 ATS and has an O/U record of 2-6.
The Bearcats are 6-1 straight up (SU), including 3-0 SU against conference opponents. The Pirates are 3-5 SU overall and 0-4 SU in conference play.
East Carolina comes into this matchup on a zero-game winning streak while Cincinnati has lost each of its last zero. The Bearcats are trying to maintain momentum following a solid 24-13 victory over Tulsa on October 19 where Desmond Ridder completed just 12 passes on 22 attempts for 172 yards and one touchdown. Gerrid Doaks (91 rushing yards on 17 attempts, two TDs) and Michael Warren II (35 yards on 13 carries) provided the running attack in the win while Rashad Medaris (four receptions, 37 yards) and Alec Pierce (three catches, 63 yards) shared the receiving duties.
One week ago, South Florida knocked off this East Carolina team by a score of 45-20. The Pirates defensive unit let the Bulls kill the clock by rushing for 347 yards on 40 attempts, including three rush TDs. Jordan Cronkrite had a solid showing, recording 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 12 attempts for South Florida. For East Carolina, Holton Ahlers completed 18-of-28 passes for 217 yards and one interception. Demetrius Mauney (50 yards on 13 rush attempts) mounted the ground game in the defeat as Tyler Snead (six receptions, 69 yards) and C.J. Johnson (five catches, 85 yards) led the receiving attack.
Cincinnati’s run the ball on 62.1 percent of its offensive possessions this year while East Carolina has an overall rush percentage of 54.8 percent. The Bearcats have run for 173.4 yards/game (including 156 per game against American Athletic Conference opponents) and have 10 touchdowns via handoffs this year. The Pirates are putting up 154.6 rush yards per game (113.5 in conference) and have eight total rushing TDs.
Judging by the results this season, it seems like the Bearcats ought to hold an advantage in all aspects of the ground game, since their backfield has generated 4.1 yards per carry while the defense is allowing 3.6 YPC to opponents. The Pirates have ran for 3.9 yards per carry and allowed 4.5 yards per rush attempt to opponents.
The Bearcats offensive scheme has averaged 210.4 yards through the air overall (194.7 per game versus conference opposition) and has 14 passing TDs so far. The Pirates have put up 218.9 pass yards per game (226 against AAC competition) and have eight total pass scores.
Defensively, Cincinnati seems to have the upper hand in both facets. The team has allowed opponents to rush for an average of 138.7 yards and pass for 206 yards per game. The East Carolina defense has given up 225 yards per game to opposing passers and 192.3 yards per game to opposing runners. The Bearcats are allowing an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of only 4.09 to opponents, while the Pirates have given up a 6.7 ANY/A.
Offensively, Ridder has put up 1,136 passing yards this year, and has completed 61 percent of his 151 attempts with 11 scores through the air and four interceptions. He’s got a 6.51 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number is 8.80 over the last two games.
Holton Ahlers has completed 116-of-213 passes for 1,359 yards, six TDs and six INTs for East Carolina. His ANY/A sits at a less-than-ideal 4.95 for the year and 6.07 across his past two outings.
These two teams met last year with the final result being a 56-6 win for Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. East Carolina Pirates NCAA Pick
SU Winner: East Carolina, ATS Winner: East Carolina, O/U: Under
- The Bearcats offense has produced eight pass plays of 40 yards or more, while the Pirates have put up three such plays.
- Both defenses have allowed six pass plays of 40 or more yards and 11 pass plays of 30+ yards.
- The Cincinnati offense has created seven rushing plays of 20+ yards, while East Carolina has created 16 such runs.
- The Bearcats defense has allowed six rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while the Pirates have given up 16 such runs.
- The Cincinnati D has sacked opposing quarterbacks 19 times this year. East Carolina has registered 17 sacks.
- Cincinnati has averaged 4.0 yards per carry over its last three contests and 3.7 over its last two.
- East Carolina has averaged 3.1 yards per carry over its last three matchups and 3.1 over its last two.
- Over its last three games, East Carolina is 2-1 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
- The Over/Under for Cincinnati’s previous game was set at 46.5. The under cashed in the team’s 24-13 win over Tulsa.
- Over its last three contests, Cincinnati is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
- The O/U for East Carolina’s last outing going into it was 51. The over cashed in the 45-20 defeat to South Florida.