Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:30 PM EST.
Skelly Field, H.A. Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma
East Carolina +17 -110 over TULSA
Streaming: On ESPN2 in the Sports Group.
9:00 PM EST. The Golden Hurricane are 2-1 this year but they have covered in all three games to run their Against the Spread (ATS) mark to 4-0 dating back to last year. It goes even deeper, as Tulsa has failed to cover the number just once in its last nine games. Not only has Tulsa covered in every game this season but it has obliterated the number by margins of 18, 15, 28½ and 16½ over its last four covers. In other words, anyone that bet against Tulsa anytime this year never had a chance to cash their ticket. We repeat, Tulsa has been destroying the number, which includes last year’s visit to East Carolina in which the Golden Hurricanes were favored by -7 and won 49-24. There are slight overreactions and there are massive ones and there is no question that the oddsmakers or market have over-compensated this week on Tulsa because they have been crushing the point-spread.
East Carolina has been a perennial bottom feeder for years. The Pirates are once again losing frequently with just one win in four tries. That lone victory came against South Florida, which is among the worst teams in Division I college football. Once again, ECU’s stock is low, it’s always low but trust us when we suggest that the Pirates are more than capable of competing here.
We could probably count on two fingers the amount of times Tulsa has been favored in this range against a division foe over the past two decades. Back in 2016, they were a 23-point favorite over Cincinnati and won in OT by three. We point this out because if we’re going to spot big time lumber, we want to do it with programs and coaches that are accustomed to being big favorites and have proven they can cover big numbers. Tulsa does not qualify. Tulsa is usually an underdog. They are usually a double-digit underdog. Other things to consider when spotting a big price:
We want a team with an explosive offense that can score quickly, and also one that scores on defense and special teams. We'll often need the help of some cheap scores to get over a huge number, and we certainly don't want the clock grinding away until after we're on top of it.
Opponent profile. The weaker the opposing team, the better, of course, but beyond that generality, we want to fade teams that won't come back under the number once the favorite gets there. ECU fights. Be more wary of underdogs with backdoor firepower, those with a very slow pace of play or those who play hard for 60 minutes even when overmatched. ECU qualifies. We ran the teams through the checklist above to determine the underdogs suitability before we fire and boy oh boy, we’re ready to fire. Look, Tulsa has played three games this year and in one of those games, they were a 24-point underdog to Oklahoma State. They lost 16-7 but they go from a 24-point dog in one of its games this year to a 17-point fav, a difference of 41 points against a division rival. Win or lose, we’re going with the best of it in a big way here.
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East Carolina +17 -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)