- Cincinnati (11-0) tries to keep College Football Playoff spot as they play ECU
- Pirates have won four straight home games; Bearcats are undefeated on the road
- Read below for odds, analysis and a betting prediction
The Cincinnati Bearcats are breathing in some rarified air.
They’re the first team from a Group of 5 conference to crack the top-4 in the College Football Playoff rankings. If the season ended today, they’d be one of the national semifinalists for the title.
The Bearcats’ job is to keep that momentum going, and they’ll put their perfect 11-0 mark in the line Friday when the visit the East Carolina Pirates in AAC play.
It all gets started from Dowdy-Ficklen Statdium at 3:30pm ET. The game can be seen live on ABC.
Cincinnati is a big 14-point road favorite, but this one isn’t a late-season gimme. The Pirates have reeled off four straight wins.
Cincinnati vs East Carolina Odds
| Cincinnati Bearcats||-630||+14 (-110)||O 57 (-115)|
|East Carolina Pirates||+450||-14 (-110)||U 57 (-105)|
Odds as of November 23 at DraftKings
The weather is calling for sun with a mix of clouds, and temperatures hovering around 55 degrees at kickoff.
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Bearcats’ Recent Results
Talk about a statement game to move into playoff position.
Cincinnati demolished SMU in Week 11 to stay undefeated, with 48-14 drubbing that was flattering to the Mustangs. The Bearcats raced out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, and led 41-0 heading into the final frame.
Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder keeps it for the 40-yard touchdown 🔥
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 20, 2021
Quarterback Desmond Ridder went 17-for-23 for 274 yards and three TD tosses, while adding another on an electric scamper. Tre Tucker had a team-high seven grabs for 114 yards, while Tyler Scott had five catches for 94 yards a TD. Two of Alec Pierce’s three catches on the day went for touchdowns.
On the year, Ridder has thrown for just under 2,700 yards, with 25 TDs and six interceptions, while completing 66.5% of his passes. He is complimented by a competent ground game, which churns out 180.5 yards a contest.
— ✯✯✯✯✯ (@FTBVids_YT) November 20, 2021
Jerome Ford leads the way with 970 yards and 16 touchdowns. This is the 6th-highest scoring team in the nation, pumping out 40 points a game.
Defensively, the Bearcats limited SMU pivot Tanner Mordecai to 66 yards on 15-for-26 passing, a miniscule 2.5 yards per attempt, while sacking him three times. On the year, Cincinnati is allowing 16 points and 304.2 yards per game.
Pirates’ Recent Results
East Carolina is playing its best football on the season, and can put a major dent in their conference foe’s national title dreams if they can close out their season with a fifth straight win.
— Sideline CFB (@SidelineCFB) November 20, 2021
The Pirates are coming off a 38-35 win over Navy last time out. Holton Ahlers racked up a season-high 405 yards passing in the win, while throwing three TD passes. His main target on the day was Tyler Snead, who hauled in five balls for 137 yards and two TD’s.
Keaton Mitchell added 94 yards on the ground on 18 totes and another score.
— ECU Football (@ECUPiratesFB) November 22, 2021
The Pirates can hold their own offensively: they are 19th in passing yards, while putting up a respectable 31.2 points per game. They’re just a few rungs down from the Bearcats in the run game, piling up 172.1 yards a contest.
Cincinnati vs East Carolina Pick
There’s a lot riding on this one. With teams like Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Ole Miss and Oklahoma just waiting for a Bearcats’ slip up, Cincinnati needs to win this game and the AAC championship game against current #24 Houston on Dec. 4. Both need to be convincing.
— Brandon Saho (@BrandonSaho) November 24, 2021
Cincy has been on a good betting roll over ECU in recent meetings, running an 8-3 ATS mark over the last 11 head-to-head matchups, though they are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall.
The Pirates have been a good bet recently, running a 6-1 mark ATS in their last seven outings.
The Bearcats’ defense is strong, but I believe they’ll be susceptible to some scores. In the end, there’s too much at stake for Cincinnati to not crush the competition en route to the bigger prize.
Pick: Cincinnati -14 (-110)