Thursday Night College Football Odds And Betting Preview: Coastal Carolina, ECU Expected To Roll

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College football fans and bettors have the chance to enjoy two games Thursday night. The No. 24 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) host the Troy Trojans (4-3 SU, 2-5 ATS), and the East Carolina Pirates (3-4 SU, 4-2-1 ATS) try to improve to .500 with a win over the South Florida Bulls (2-5, 4-3 ATS).

Coastal Carolina and East Carolina are both heavy favorites on oddsboards, but sports bettors know that favorites — even heavy favorites — lose every weekend. Can Troy or South Florida pull off an upset?

MIAO Miami (OH) vs UAB UAB Odds NCAAF Odds

NCAAF · Fri (12/16) @ 11:35am ET

MIAO Miami (OH) at UAB UAB
Brooks Stadium, Conway, SC

Our Pick: COAS Coastal Carolina at +725. Join Caesars and take advantage of a $5,000 risk-free bet today!

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Like Boise State, Coastal Carolina does not have your traditional green field — it’s teal. Yes, teal. Once you get past that, you can see the Chanticleers are an excellent football team.

Quarterback Grayson McCall is the most efficient passer in the country. He’s completing 77.3 percent of his passes, averaging right around 250 yards a game, and has had two-plus touchdowns in five of seven games. He is not throwing the ball a lot, but the offense does not depend on the run. The Coastal Carolina rushing attack averages about 230 yards a game next to 290 through the air.

The Chanticleers are averaging over 500 yards of total offense and 45.7 points (third in the country). But they do not win by the strength of their offense alone. Their defense allows just 322.7 yards a game (No. 24) and 17.1 points (No. 13).

Troy Trojans

The Troy defense may be the most formidable unit Coastal Carolina is going to face this season. If the Trojans are to record an upset, it will be because of their defense. Offensively, they do not do much. They average just 354.6 yards per game (No. 99) and 25.3 points (No. 89). But defensively, the Trojans are among the best in the nation, allowing just 286.9 yards/game (No. 7).

They are tough against the run and have held teams to just 95.4 yards a game. The Troy defense might be one of the more opportunistic in the country. The pass rush is averaging over four sacks a game (No. 1 in the country). They are averaging nine tackles for a loss per game (also No. 1) and have forced 16 turnovers (No. 8 in the country; No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference).

When the defense can provide the offense with scoring opportunities, the Trojans have been competitive. But when the offense does not get that help, they tend to struggle.

Betting Recommendation

The Troy defense looks like it is good enough to slow the Chanticleers down a little. But the Coastal Carolina offense will not make the mistakes Troy needs to have a shot at the upset. The Chanticleers will probably win, but do not be shocked if Troy stays within a couple of touchdowns.

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South Florida Bulls vs. East Carolina Pirates

Also kicking off at 7:30 p.m. ET, East Carolina lays points against visiting South Florida.

MIAO Miami (OH) vs UAB UAB Odds NCAAF Odds

NCAAF · Fri (12/16) @ 11:35am ET

MIAO Miami (OH) at UAB UAB
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville , NC

Our Pick: ECU East Carolina at 10.5 (-108). Join Caesars and take advantage of a $5,000 risk-free bet today!

The Bulls have struggled on the offensive side of the ball, especially in the passing game (169.6 yards/game; No. 113 in the country). But they are coming off a game against Temple in which they ran the ball for 421 yards on 73 carries. However, they are not going to find it nearly as easy to run against East Carolina. The Pirates are allowing just 143.7 yards/game.

East Carolina’s offense generates over 400 yards of offense and 28.7 points a game and should enjoy some success against a South Florida defense that struggles against the run and pass. But the Pirates defense gives up 424.7 total yards and 28.4 points a game.

Neither defense is going to do a great job in this game. It will likely come down to whoever makes fewer mistakes on offense and/or can make one more stop on defense than the other team.

About the Author
Travis Pulver

Travis Pulver

Senior Writer
Travis Pulver is a senior writer for Gaming Today and a lifelong football fan, something he says comes naturally having been born in the football-crazy state of Texas. Through the years, Pulver's love of sports has extended into baseball, basketball, golf, and rugby. Life currently finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.

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