Free NCAA Pick and Prediction Bobcats vs. Pirates
Ohio Bobcats (7-5) vs. East Carolina Pirates (9-3) 12/23- 2:00PM EST
Lines and betting Odds
Line: ECU -13.5
BEEF ‘O’ BRADY BOWL- ST. Petersburg, FL
The East Carolina Pirates had their third Conference USA title in their sights, but a blowout loss in their regular-season finale ended that opportunity, so they will now focus on a second double-digit win season when they battle Ohio in the Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl on Monday night.
The Pirates (9-3) where in search of their third Conference USA title in six years, but a blowout loss to Marshall 59-28 put an end to that. East Carolina is moving to the American Athletic Conference next season to join the likes of such teams as Louisville, Central Florida and Cincinnati.
East Carolina was riding a five-game winning streak behind their high-powered offense, but fell short of yet another opportunity for a conference crown with their loss at Marshall, who won the East Division.
“I am proud of that group,” coach Ruffin McNeill said. “I’ve been coaching 33 years. It’s rare when you have a chance to win nine games but we have a chance to win 10… We have done a lot of things that nobody thought we could do.”
Leading the offensive charge of the Pirates is Conference USA MVP Shane Carden. All the junior quarterback has done is rank sixth in college football with 3,866 passing yards. rank eighth with 32 touchdowns passes and is tops in the nation with a 71.0 percent completion rating.
Thanks to Carden, the Pirates are 10th in the FBS with 40.4 points and 331.5 yards through the air per contest, which Ohio head coach Frank Solich admits finding a way to slow down Carden is a priority.
“You don’t have great passing stats without having a great quarterback that’s poised,” Solich said. “He’s a great thrower, is knowledgeable about the game and reads things well.”
Another concern for Ohio will be the 1-2 punch of receiver Justin Hardy, fifth in the nation with 105 receptions for 1,218 yards with eight touchdowns and running back Vintavious Cooper, who has run for 995 yards and 11 touchdowns. Carden has 10 rushing touchdowns of his own.
“They’ll also spread people out which enables them to get the ball to their receivers, guys that are playmakers,” Solich said. “Also when you spread people out, you can generally piece together a pretty good running game. Just look at them, they have talent. They’re big and physical on both sides of the ball.”
For the Ohio Bobcats (7-5), they will look to counter with fifth-year senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who since taking over the starting job in 2011 has thrown for 8,769 yards and 66 touchdowns, but his recent struggles down the stretch this year has been a concern.
During the Bobcats three-game losing streak, Tettleton totaled just 351 yards with one touchdown and two totaling a dismal 16 points, but after bouncing back his regular-season finale, he’s confident his offense can match the fire-power of the Pirates.
“That’s the plan. We’re hoping to go into this thing and put in a good game plan,” Tettleton said. “Hopefully we’ll have a chance to score a lot points and see what happens.”
And scoring a lot of points is what they’ll need as the oddsmakers have made the Pirates a huge (minus 13.5) point favorite and with an over/under of 62.0, they expect the points to be flying as well. Get the latest line on this game up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.
The Bobcats may be a big underdog going in, but they have plenty of bowl experience as they are making their fifth consecutive appearance in postseason and have won their last two games.
“It means a lot for this senior class to be here all five years and have a chance to go to a bowl game every single year,” Tettleton said. “It’s awesome and hopefully we can win three straight for this university.”
Tettleton had 331 yards and two touchdowns last year in the Independence Bowl to lead his team to a 45-14 rout of Louisiana-Monroe.
The Pirates will be looking to snap a four-game bowl losing streak and I predict this year will be the year to get they get it done to take home the trophy and cap off a 10-win season.
The Pirates fell 43-34 to Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl last December.
Prediction/Pick: East Carolina
By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter