East Carolina vs Cincinnati Odds, Picks and Predictions: Pirates Cover Spread on the Road

A pivotal AAC matchup takes place when East Carolina and Cincinnati do battle. One year removed from their playoff appearance, the Bearcats haven't been a great ATS team to back this year. Our college football betting picks touch on that and more below.

Andrew Caley - Senior Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Andrew Caley • Senior Betting Analyst
Nov 11, 2022 • 16:55 ET • 4 min read
Holton Ahlers East Carolina Pirates College Football
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

There is a sneaky good matchup on the college football betting board tonight when the East Carolina Pirates face off against the Cincinnati Bearcats in a pivotal AAC clash.

At 6-3, the Pirates have been one of the biggest surprises in the conference this season and come into this game riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak including big wins over BYU and UCF.

Meanwhile, Luke Fickell’s squad enters this game at 7-2 but has been a little underwhelming, particularly for its backers, as it hasn't covered a spread since late September. 

I dig through the numbers and bring you my best bet in my college football betting picks and predictions for East Carolina vs. Cincinnati. 

East Carolina vs Cincinnati best odds

East Carolina vs Cincinnati picks and predictions

East Carolina has been an under-the-radar good team for most of the season, and it started all the way back in the Pirates season opener when they nearly upset North Carolina State.

Since then, they have just two losses — one in overtime against Navy — and in a close matchup against the top-rated Group of Five team, Tulane. Now, they are coming off three consecutive victories, including the last two as underdogs. That includes beating UCF by three touchdowns. The same UCF that recently beat Cincinnati.

The Pirates have surprised this season thanks to an impressive offense led by quarterback Holton Ahlers. The senior signal caller has been outstanding this season, throwing for 2,632 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 69.9% of his passes.

But East Carolina also has balance thanks to Keaton Mitchell who has rushed for 863 yards at a clip of over seven yards per carry and nine scores.

Meanwhile, on the surface, Cincinnati has been impressive following its appearance in the College Football Playoff and losing a ton of talent. The Bearcats have a 7-2 record and 4-1 in conference play, but they have been about as unimpressive as possible in doing so.

For starters, Cincy hasn’t covered a spread in conference play, going 0-4-1 ATS in five AAC games. The defense is still solid, but what was a balanced offense is now one dimensional — leaning mostly on the arm of Ben Bryant. 

Now, it may seem like Bryant and the Bearcats will have an edge against a Pirates secondary that has given up its fair share of yards. But ECU has also done a decent job of pressuring opposing QBs and creating turnovers. Eastern Carolina ranks 31st in the country in sack rate when facing FBS teams and 48th in takeaways. This means the Pirates should have some success against a Cincy offensive line that ranks 85th in sack rate. 

ECU continues to be underrated this season and in a game with AAC title-game implications, it is still getting overlooked once again. Plus, the Pirates are more well-rested and prepared coming off a bye. They may not win outright, but they’ll keep this one close. Let's take the points.

My best bet: East Carolina +5.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

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East Carolina vs Cincinnati spread analysis

The line for this AAC matchup has already seen a lot of movement. Cincinnati opened between 6.5 and 6-point favorites. Since then, the early money has come in on East Carolina, moving the line down as low as 5, with some 5.5s still on the board.

The Pirates have been a solid bet all season. Not only are they covering spreads going 6-3 ATS, but they are covering with remarkable ease. In the six games they have cashed, they’ve blown past the number by an average of 10.9 points. 

On the other side, we’ve already talked about how the Bearcats have struggled to cover any spread this season. I believe that’s partly because Cincinnati is still getting priced for the team it was last season, as opposed to what it has been this season.

And that is a team that has a one-dimensional, struggling offense that has averaged a ho-hum 357 total yards over the last three games. 

The Bearcats have just felt a little off all season, and going against a feisty East Carolina team could be a problem. While I have +5.5 with the Pirates, with 71% of Covers users on Cincinnati I would think about waiting to see if you can get 6.0 as the weekend approaches.

East Carolina vs Cincinnati Over/Under analysis

The total for this AAC matchup hit the board at 53 and has not seen much action at this point but has been bet down slightly to 52.5. That might be too low to contain these teams.

East Carolina ranks 21st in total yards and is averaging 32.6 points per game this season. By showing they can go into a place like Provo and put up 27 points against a team like BYU, it means the Pirates can certainly put up points at Cincinnati as well. And while Cincy’s defense is solid, it has allowed 21 or more points in five of its last six games.

Meanwhile, even though I like the Pirates to keep this one close, it doesn’t mean the Bearcats won’t be able to move the ball. QB Ben Bryant has thrown for 2,358 yards with 18 touchdowns and six picks and gets to go against a Pirates pass defense that ranks 108th in passing yards allowed per game. 

No official play here, but I would lean toward the Over.

East Carolina vs Cincinnati betting trend to know

East Carolina is 12-4-1 ATS in its last 17 games against teams with winning records. Find more NCAA betting trends for East Carolina vs. Cincinnati.

East Carolina vs Cincinnati game info

Location: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Date: Friday, November 11, 2022
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. ET

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East Carolina vs Cincinnati weather

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