The East Carolina Pirates (+23) are heading southwest to battle their in-conference counterpart No. 23 SMU Mustangs at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. ESPNU has the TV rights and this afternoon game is scheduled to start at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Betting Preview: East Carolina Pirates vs. SMU Mustangs
SMU has been tabbed as heavily favored in this matchup and is currently giving up 23 points to East Carolina. Oddsmakers have placed the over/under (O/U) at 69 points. Some good live betting scenarios might exist during the game.
The Pirates are 5-4 against the spread (ATS) and have lost 1.7 units so far in 2019. They’ve been a good under bet and have posted an Over-Under record of 3-6.
The Mustangs have been a nice surprise for moneyline bettors this season, gaining 8.5 units. The team is 6-3 ATS and has an O/U record of 8-0-1.
The Pirates are an ugly 3-6 straight up (SU), including 0-5 SU against AAC opponents. The Mustangs are 8-1 SU overall and 4-1 SU in conference play.
The Pirates came up short to Cincinnati 46-43 in a nailbiter where Holton Ahlers completed 32 passes for 535 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Demetrius Mauney (just 22 rushing yards on 18 attempts) mounted the ground attack in the loss while C.J. Johnson (12 receptions, 283 yards, one TD) and Blake Proehl (eight catches, 105 yards) manned the receiving duties.
On November 2, Memphis took care of this SMU crew by a score of 54-48. The Mustangs defense allowed the Tigers to pass for 350 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 164 yards and two scores. Antonio Gibson was a force to be reckoned with, recording 97 rushing yards and a score on three attempts, along with 130 yards on six catches for Memphis. For SMU, Shane Buechele completed 34-of-54 passes for 456 yards and three touchdowns. Xavier Jones (22 rushing yards on 11 attempts, one TD) and Ke’Mon Freeman (74 yards on six carries, two TDs) handled the ground game in the defeat as James Proche (13 receptions, 149 yards, one TD) and Rashee Rice (seven catches, 122 yards) led the pass-catching attack.
Each of these teams sports a remarkably similar (53-47) run-pass ratio on the season. The Pirates have run for 148.9 yards per game (including 111.4 per game versus American Athletic Conference opponents) and have nine scores via handoffs this year. The Mustangs are logging 191 rush yards per game (170.4 in conference) and have 27 total rushing TDs.
It appears that the Mustangs might have an advantage in terms of efficiency in the ground game, since their backfield has generated 4.3 yards per carry while the defense is allowing 3.5 yards per rush attempt to opponents. The Pirates have registered 3.8 yards per carry while allowing a YPC of 4.9 to opponents.
The Pirates offensive scheme has tallied 254 yards/contest through the air overall (287.4 per game against conference opposition) and has 12 passing scores so far. The Mustangs have recorded 318.6 pass yards per outing (336 against AAC competition) and have 23 total pass TDs.
On the defensive side of the ball, East Carolina appears to have the upper hand when it comes to limiting the pass. The team has allowed 207.1 rush yards and 217.9 pass yards per game. The SMU defense has allowed 279.7 yards per game to opposing passers and 121.9 yards per game to opposing runners. Both teams allow similar adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) to opponents, as the Pirates have given up an ANY/A of 6.42 to opposing QBs, while the Mustangs are allowing an ANY/A of 6.01.
Offensively, Ahlers is up to 1,990 passing yards this season, and has connected on 153-of-274 attempts with 11 passing scores and seven interceptions. Ahlers has a 6.17 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number is 9.05 over the last two games.
Look for Ahlers to spread the ball around early and often in this one. C.J. Johnson (178 receiving yards and three touchdowns), Blake Proehl (447 yards, two TDs) and Jsi Hatfield (178 yards, one TD) have all been heavily involved recently.
Shane Buechele has connected on 196-of-304 passes for 2,578 yards, 21 TDs and six INTs for SMU. His ANY/A stands at 8.43 for the year and 7.04 over his past two games.
Look for a balanced attack offensively from SMU in this one. James Proche (758 receiving yards, nine receiving touchdowns this season), Xavier Jones (773 rush yards, 13 rush TDs, two receiving TDs) and Kylen Granson (356 receiving yards, four receiving TDs) have all played significant roles lately. The trio’s combined for 568 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns over the past two games.
These two conference foes did not get a chance to face one another a year ago.
East Carolina Pirates vs. SMU Mustangs NCAA Tip
SU Winner: SMU, ATS Winner: East Carolina, O/U: Over
- The SMU D has recorded more than twice the sack total of East Carolina this season (40 to 18).
- The SMU offense has lost four fumbles in 2019 while East Carolina has let five get away.
- The Pirates offense has registered four pass plays of 40 or more yards, while the Mustangs have put up 13 such plays.
- The East Carolina defense has allowed seven pass plays of 40 yards or more, while SMU has given up eight such plays.
- The East Carolina offense has created 16 rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while SMU has created 14 such runs.
- The Pirates defense has allowed 22 rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while the Mustangs have given up 14 such runs.
- East Carolina, as a team, has rushed for 3.1 yards per attempt over its last three games and 2.8 over its last two.
- SMU has averaged 4.2 yards per carry over its last three outings and 4.8 over its past two.