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American Athletic Conference rivals meet as the East Carolina Pirates visit the UConn Huskies.
Both teams enter today's contest having seen better competitive days. Following a 3-2 start, ECU has lost five straight and sits in fifth in the AAC East. UConn has lost seven of eight, with a brief 56-35 Oct. 26 reprieve vs. UMass. The Pirates' last win came Sept. 28 vs. Old Dominion by a slim 24-21 margin.
UConn enters Saturday's contest with a 1-4 home record. Eastern Carolina enters with a 1-4 road mark. The Pirates are favored today by a +14 line.
East Carolina playing the long rebuild gameAfter three consecutive three-win seasons, Mike Houston's bunch looks to defy that total today and establish positive momentum for 2020. East Carolina's offense has become an inconsistent staple of their current on-field product. The Pirates' 26.6 ppg ranks #82 FBS. Meanwhile, ECU's defense hasn't provided much aid while allowing 33.1 ppg (#108). Prior to a much-needed bye, ECU dropped a 59-51 home scoreboard-fest vs. nationally-ranked SMU.
Enjoying a credible sophomore campaign, Eastern Carolina quarterback Holton Ahlers lobbed six touchdown passes against no interceptions while gaining 498 yards vs. the Mustangs. Unfortunately for Ahlers, SMU signal-caller Shane Buechele added five touchdown strikes and 414 yards as his defense did just enough to eke victory over upset-minded ECU. Mustangs running back Xavier Jones' 157 yards, three-touchdown day helped break SMU legend Eric Dickerson's single-season touchdown total. Dickerson's long-standing total of 19 scores was supplanted Nov. 9 by Jones.
In defeat, East Carolina's defense yielded 636 yards; the Pirates gained 644 yards vs. Southern Methodist. Overall, the Pirates allow 443.6 ypg and add 427. Eastern Carolina's secondary is its Achilles' heel, giving up 237.5 ypg.
UConn looking to win four games for first time since 2015Failing to surpass three wins in any season since 2015, UConn enters Sat. afternoon's contest at 2-8 -one less victory than the 3-8 Pirates On the road Nov. 9, the Huskies were clipped 48-3 vs. nationally-ranked Cincinnati. The Bearcats gained four rushing scores, and two aerial end-zone strikes, to pad their onslaught vs. UConn. Gerrid Doaks (123 yards, one touchdown), Michael Warren (two touchdowns) and Ryan Montgomery (one touchdown) paced Cincy's ground attack. Desmond Ridder, (13 of 23, two touchdowns) led the Bears' efficient 16 of 28 passing game.
Meanwhile, UConn gained just 70 yards from quarterbacks Mike Beaudry (six of nine, 35 yards) and Jack Zergiotis (four of 14, 35 yards, one interception) on a day best consigned to oblivion. The Huskies gained 218 total yards in their recent setback vs. Cincinnati. Running back Kevin Mensah's 115-yard day became UConn's only highlight in recent defeat.
The Huskies average 18.6 ppg (#120 FBS) and allow 40.6 ppg, #128.
- Huskies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 conference games.
- Huskies are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in November.
Trends courtesy of Covers.com
- Pirates are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Pirates are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- Pirates are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- Pirates are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in November.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
In a contest between two hard-luck programs with no immediate bowl-game aspirations, East Carolina enjoys the statistical edge. Facing the nation's third-worst defense Sat. rolling quarterback Holton Ahers will continue his stellar play. Look for an ECU aerial explosion as little return fire comes from UConn. For the Huskies, Mensah will produce, but not surpass Ahers' arm. Keep in mind the Pirates are 5-1 ATS in their last six games. ECU's pre-bye-week performance and UConn's defensive shortcomings are enough to take an East Carolina cover today.
Full-Game Total Pick
The 66 Over is a great value in this weekend's ECU vs. UConn tilt. The main reason for such value is neither team has proven capable of stopping scores this year. An examination shows both programs generally end up on the wrong side of prolific shootouts. When meeting today, the outcome will remain unchanged. Aforementioned team leaders Ahlers and Mensah will lead their respective charges while creating a slight Over lean in Sat.'s American Athletic showdown. Over is 4-0 in the Pirates last four games. Over is 5-1 in UConn's last six vs. losing teams, per Covers.com.