East Carolina vs BYU Odds, Picks and Predictions: Pirates Offense Comes Out to Play

This season has been a letdown for a BYU team that had high expectations entering the campaign. Now it'll face an East Carolina team that has plenty of offensive firepower to take over this game — as discussed in our college football betting picks.

Oct 28, 2022 • 17:00 ET • 4 min read
Keaton Mitchell East Carolina Pirates College Football
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There’s Friday night action in Provo in what should be a tightly contested contest as the East Carolina Pirates face off against the BYU Cougars (4-4).

The Cougars had high hopes this season with one of the most experienced rosters in the country, returning 19 starters from a 10-3 team a year ago and ranking second in returning production. With just a 4-4 record, it’s safe to say that they haven't lived up to the hype thus far.

With a stiff test ahead of them in the Pirates, will the Cougs trip to a losing record on Friday night?

Check out our college football betting picks and predictions for East Carolina vs. BYU on Friday, October 28 to find out. 

East Carolina vs BYU best odds

East Carolina vs BYU picks and predictions

Things aren’t going well in Provo. BYU has lost three straight and was most recently blown out 41-14 by Liberty. This team hasn’t been able to shake the injury bug all season with a number of key contributors either banged up or unavailable entirely, and just when it seemed they were returning to full health, another wave of news comes crashing on their beleaguered shores.

Offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick announced that leading rusher Christopher Brooks Jr. will miss Friday night’s game with a hamstring injury, while leading receiver Kody Epps is also out against the Pirates and could be absent for a while. 

ECU head coach Mike Houston won an FCS national title with the James Madison Dukes in 2016. He called Friday night the Pirates’ biggest road test of the season. While that may seem farfetched to some considering they already took a trip to Tulane, Provo is a very difficult place to play and they will be going against a hungry, veteran team anxious to get back in the win column. 

The +3.5 on ECU is popping up as the definite value side in this matchup, and it’s a bet that I will personally be placing. That being said, playing on the road in Provo on a Friday night six days removed from a huge 34-13 upset win over the UCF Knights isn’t what I would call a favorable scheduling dynamic — so I will be instead focusing on ECU’s team total Over as our best bet in this contest.

BYU’s defense has been dreadful. In the last three weeks, the Cougars first allowed 496 yards on 6.8 yards per play against an inept Notre Dame offense, then were walloped for 644 total yards and 7.9 yards per play while surrendering 52 points to Arkansas in Provo. Most recently they were gashed for 547 yards on 7.1 yards per play by a Liberty team on its third-string quarterback. 

ECU’s offense is clicking, averaging 33.2 points per game. Quarterback Holton Ahlers is having a fantastic season, completing 70% of his passes for 8.2 yards per attempt with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. Running back Keaton Mitchell is one of the fastest players in college football and should find success against a defense that allowed 213 rushing yards last week to Liberty’s Dae Dae Hunter.

My best bet: East Carolina team total Over 29.5 (-118 at Pinnacle)

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East Carolina vs BYU spread analysis

Depending on the book, BYU is between a -3 and -3.5 favorite at home.

Backing the Cougars has been a fruitless venture in 2022. The Cougars are just 2-6 against the spread this season while falling well short of expectations for a team that ranked second in returning production nationally after winning 10 games a year ago — including an undefeated record (4-0) against the PAC-12.

Despite the troubles, it’s worth pointing out that Provo is a difficult place for teams to visit — especially one like East Carolina which isn’t used to making that trip. The Cougars are 8-1 ATS in their last nine home games against a team with a winning record. Considering that’s one of the only factors I can name in support of BYU, that stadium better be rocking on Friday night if they hope to stave off an upset.

East Carolina played the NC State Wolfpack close in Week 1, losing by a single point in a 21-20 game that came down to the wire. In retrospect, that was a sign that the Pirates were poised for a strong 2022 season as a team that could compete with nearly anyone. Their other losses came on the road to a 7-1 Tulane team — which is certainly excusable — and by three points to Navy in a game in which they turned the ball over twice.

The Pirates are 7-2 ATS in their last nine October games, usually rounding into form this time of year under Houston. They’re 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games overall and have thrived on the road, going 5-2 ATS in their last seven road trips.

East Carolina vs BYU Over/Under analysis

How poorly has BYU’s defense been this season? The Cougars rank Bottom 10 nationally in the following metrics, to name a few: Expected Points Added (EPA) per play (122nd), Success Rate (125th), Line Yards (126th), HAVOC (124th), Passing Downs EPA (124th), and Passing Downs Success Rate (124th).

To put it in layman’s terms, they haven’t done anything well. This turnstile ranks outside the Top 110 against both the rush and the pass. The defensive line is probably the biggest concern, although it’s difficult to blame one unit too much for an overall moribund menagerie. 

East Carolina is averaging 6.6 yards per play offensively, putting up 473 yards on Memphis and 458 yards on UCF in its last two games. The Pirates rank 23rd in Explosiveness and should find some big plays in this matchup.

When BYU has the ball, they’ll be led by NFL Draft prospect Jaren Hall at quarterback. Despite the injuries on this roster, he still has a star receiver in Puka Nacua to throw to and should find success against an ECU defense that ranks 98th in Passing EPA and 116th in Passing Success Rate. BYU has sufficiently moved the ball this year, ranking 27th in EPA and eighth in Explosiveness.

East Carolina vs BYU betting trend to know

The Over is 10-2 in the Pirates’ last 12 Friday games. Find more NCAA betting trends for East Carolina vs. BYU.

East Carolina vs BYU game info

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UT
Date: Friday, October 28, 2022
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN2

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