East Carolina Pirates vs Florida Atlantic Owls Betting Odds Preview, Prediction

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 22:  Reggie Bullock #28 of the East Carolina Pirates celebrates after a touchdown against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns during the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bow at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 22, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

East Carolina appears set at quarterback after starter Shane Carden passed for 447 yards in the Pirates’ opening-week win.

The same can’t be said for Florida Atlantic, which partially accounts for the huge point spread favoring the Pirates in this main battle on a light Thursday in college football betting action.

The Owls will continue to use two quarterbacks on Thursday as FAU travels to heavily favored East Carolina. The Pirates are 20.5-point favorites with the total set at 54, according to OddsShark.com.

One of the Owls’ QBs, freshman Greg Hankerson, suffered a rib injury during a 34-6 opening-week loss to the Miami Hurricanes.

However, according to the Sun Sentinel, FAU coach Carl Pelini says Hankerson has healed quickly and claims he’ll be ready to go on Thursday. Sophomore Quez Johnson is expected to start but will split reps with Hankerson.

Neither quarterback was effective against the Hurricanes, but the Pirates’ defense isn’t anywhere close to what Miami put on the field.

ECU is 7-3 against the spread in September the past two seasons under head coach Ruffin McNeill. The Pirates are 11-7 against the spread at home under McNeill. They are also riding an 11-0 SU, 8-3 ATS streak as a double-digit favorite, according to college database search results.

With 18 returning starters, East Carolina is one of the most experienced teams in Conference USA and is expected contend for the conference title. Florida Atlantic is also experienced with 15 starters back. However, the Owls are expected to finish near the bottom of C-USA’s East Division.

Florida Atlantic did go 6-1 against the spread on the road last season but did not play well against Miamiespecially on defense. Johnson and Hankerson combined to complete 16 of 31 passes for 117 yards against the Hurricanes. FAU’s running game averaged just 3.1 yards per carry.

The Owls should find easier sledding against an ECU defense that was shredded by Old Dominion. East Carolina, under new defensive coordinator Rick Smith, surrendered 370 passing yards and 38 points to Old Dominion.

Luckily for the Pirates, Carden had a huge game, completing 46 of 54 passes in a 52-38 win.

Weather shouldn’t be a factor, with a forecast calling for temperatures to dip into the 60s and no rain expected.

Prediction: 46-14 (courtesy of OddsShark.com computer picks)

All stats, trends, odds from OddsShark.com. Follow them on Twitter.