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Temple Looks for Sixth Straight Win Over East Carolina – Picks & Odds

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Football

Oct 1, 2019 · 3:33 PM PDT

Closeup of a Temple football helmet
The Temple Owls bring a stout defense to East Carolina this Thursday, one that rates higher than a couple legit National Championship contenders. Photo by Temple University (flickr).
  • The Temple Owls and East Carolina Pirates square off Thursday Night (8:00 PM ET, Oct. 3)
  • The Owls opened as 13-point favorites but that line has been bet down to 11.5
  • What’s the best bet against the spread for TEM-ECU?

It’s a quick turnaround for both the Temple Owls (3-1, 0-0 AAC) and East Carolina Pirates (3-2, 0-1 AAC) as they square off Thursday Night (8:00 PM ET, Oct. 3) on just four days’ rest.

The Owls are fresh off their second win over a power-5 program this season, while the 3-2 Pirates have won consecutive games for the first time since 2016.

Temple vs East Carolina Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Over/Under
Temple Owls -500 -11.5 (-105) Over 48.5 (-110)
East Carolina Pirates +350 +11.5 (-115) Under 48.5 (-110)

All odds taken 03/01/19.

The Temple vs East Carolina odds opened with the Owls laying 13 points on the road, but that number was quickly bet down to 11.5 where it currently sits.

Temple has won five straight against its AAC rival dating back to 2014, and has outscored them 120-26 over the last three meetings. This year’s ECU program is off to its best start in four years, but their record is very misleading thanks to the quality of opponents they’ve faced so far.

The Pirates Are Easy Prey

The Pirates have played just one team ranked inside ESPN FPI’s top-65, and three ranked outside the top-115. The three wins on their resume are versus Old Dominion, Gardner Webb and William & Mary, while their two losses are by a combined 60 points to NC State and Navy.

They average just 21 points per game and rank 117th in offensive efficiency. Starting quarterback Holton Ahlers has thrown more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4) and has a sub 55% completion percentage. He completed just 8 of his 21 attempts in a win over Old Dominion last week, and hasn’t exceeded 210 passing yards in a game all season.

With the passing game struggling, you’d think the run game must be shouldering the load. Not really. As a team, they’re averaging just 4.5 yards per carry and no running back has rushed for over 200 yards.

ECU’s offensive inefficiencies can be masked when facing opponents like Gardner Webb, William & Mary and ODU, but now they have to go up against a fierce Owls defense that is rated higher than National Championship contenders LSU and Oklahoma.

Temple Will Take Care of Business

Temple has held three of its four opponents to 17 points or less. Georgia Tech’s only two points last Saturday came via a safety. They’re holding opposing quarterbacks to 151.2 yards per game and a passer rating of just 81.77. Enemy backfields are averaging 3.2 yards per carry and only one opponent has gained over 305 yards of total offense against them all season.

They’re by no means elite on the other side of the ball, but this defense is so good and that it will give the offense plenty of short fields, which should translate into easy points.

Running back Re’Mahn Davis is averaging 6.0 yards per carry and should find success against a Pirates run defense that was rocked for 315 yards and four rushing scores by Navy a few weeks ago.

Roll with the Owls

The Owls are no strangers to covering big numbers and appear poised to do so again. They’ve already covered as 9 and 40.5-point favorites in 2019, and should keep ECU off the scoreboard for most of the night.

The Pirates put up just 16 points combined against the only two legitimate opponents they’ve faced all season, and neither Navy nor NC State has a defense anywhere close to as good as Temple’s. Expect the Owls to cruise to a big victory on the road.

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