Thursday's NCAAF action: What bettors need to know

Sep 4, 2013 |
East Carolina QB Shane Carden passed for a school-record 447 yards in Week 1.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
East Carolina QB Shane Carden passed for a school-record 447 yards in Week 1.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
With the NFL season opener stealing the spotlight, Thursday's two college football contests are in the dark. That could mean added value with football bettors looking elsewhere for action. Here's a quick look at this pair of games:

FAU Owls at East Carolina Pirates (-20.5, 54)

The Owls expect to have freshman QB Greg Hankerson back under center after he left FAU’s 34-6 loss to Miami with a rib injury. Hankerson fell on the football while being tackled, leaving passing duties to sophomore Jaquez Johnson. Johnson, who started the game and split time with Hankerson, was 11 for 20 for 83 yards passing and added 30 yards rushing. Owls offensive coordinator Brian Wright will alternate between the two Thursday.

East Carolina won’t be rolling out the welcome mat for FAU in its first C-USA game. The Pirates put up 52 points in a warm-up win over Old Dominion in Week 1 (52-38) but failed to cover as 15-point home favorites. Quarterback Shane Carden set a school record with 447 yards passing (ECU had 481 total yards of offense) in that win, finding WR Justin Hardy for 191 of those gains and WR Davon Grayson for three touchdowns on four catches.

Key betting stat:
Over is 6-1 in Pirates’ last seven games overall.

Sacramento State at Arizona State Sun Devils (-37)

Arizona State and Sacramento State will be looking for their first points of the season Thursday night, but only the host Sun Devils will be playing their opener. The FCS' Hornets are coming off a 24-0 loss at San Jose State, and the opposition doesn't get any easier with Arizona State. The Sun Devils are looking to build upon an 8-5 record in coach Todd Graham's inaugural season in the desert, and with 17 returning starters Arizona State plans to contend with nationally-ranked USC and UCLA in the Pac-12 South Division.

Of those returning starters, quarterback Taylor Kelly and defensive tackle Will Sutton stand out. Kelly had a breakout campaign as a sophomore last season, passing for 3,039 yards and 29 touchdowns against nine interceptions. Sutton is the reigning Pac-12 defensive player of the year after recording 63 tackles and 13 sacks in a dominant junior year.

Key betting stat: Over is 7-1 in Sun Devils' last eight Thursday games.
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