Last Updated Oct 27, 2021, 2:00 PM

USF Bulls vs. ECU Pirates Predictions, Odds, Picks

Oct. 28, 2021
Eytan Shander
VI Betting Expert

Neither of these teams in USF or ECU are playing for any championship, but a winning record is still possible. That fuel may be enough as the Pirates host the Bulls Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Score Prediction

ECU 35, USF 24

Best Bets

ECU -9.5

Over 56.5

USF Bulls vs. ECU Pirates Predictions

The Pirates opened as 7.5-point home favorites but have been bet up since to nearly 10 points. Not a ton separates these two teams in the AAC, but the difference is always in the details. The Bulls come off a necessary win over Temple that keeps a .500 or better season alive.

The Bulls strength of schedule might be enough to give bettors pause in laying the points with the Pirates. USF lost a tight one to Tulsa before beating Temple, and to SMU and ranked BYU before Tulsa. They also lost to Florida. If anything, the Bulls are battle-tested coming into a winnable game against another sub .500 team.

The Bulls may be tested when it comes to strength of opponent, but they’ve been left with plenty of statistical battle scars. They rank 233rd on defense and should be an open hole for the Pirates. It’s not much better on offense for USF, 181st overall. The Pirates defense isn’t much to look at either, ranked 211th in the country. The difference is the ECU offense at 68th overall – 62nd in the air.

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USF Bulls vs. ECU Pirates Betting Odds

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ECU is a 9.5-point home favorite against USF. The line initially opened at 7.5 earlier in the week.

The total for this game is 56.5 points. The combined O/U for both teams is 6-7-1.

USF Bulls vs. ECU Pirates Betting Resources

  • Matchup: AAC
  • Date: Thursday, October 28, 2021
  • Venue: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
  • Location: Greenville, North Carolina
  • TV-Time: ESPN - 7:30 p.m. ET

USF Bulls Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 2-5
  • ATS: 4-3
  • O/U: 4-3
  • ATS - Home: 3-1
  • ATS - Away: 1-2

The Bulls set a school record with 421 rushing yards last week against Temple. Hard to think they won’t keep at it with the run game until ECU finds a way to slow them down. USF QB Timmy McClain was hurt last week but didn’t impact the gameplan, nor the outcome.

The Bulls run – with three backs all getting involved. Jaren Manham leads the group 416 yards and 12 rushing TDs. Both Brian Battie and Kelley Joiner have over 200 yards on the ground. Xavier Weaver is the only receiver to establish himself this year, with 380 yards and just one TD.

The issue for South Florida remains whether their defensive rankings reflect talent or schedule. Friday night is the best test the Bulls face to truly answer that question.

ECU Pirates Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 3-4
  • ATS: 4-3
  • O/U: 2-4-1
  • ATS - Home: 1-2
  • ATS - Away: 3-1

The Pirates are vulnerable after a brutal OT loss at Houston – following a 5+ hour weather delay. There’s letdown in the air in Greenville, but ECU’s offense is in a great position to “get right” following a quick turnaround.

Holton Ahlers leads the Pirates behind center, throwing for 1768 yards and 10 TDs to six INTs. He’s also tied for the team lead in rushing TDs with four. Keaton Mitchell is the dominant back with 677 yards and four TDs on the ground. He’s aided by Rahjai Harris and his 337 yards and two rushing TDs. There’s been equal distribution of the ball to receivers from Ahlers – Tyler Snead the lone exception with 481 receiving yards.

Four players are all tied with two receiving TDs. The defense leaves a lot to be desired – mainly defending the pass. The Pirates enter this game on a short week giving up 297.5 passing yards per-game, good for 224th in the country.

Inside the Stats - USF Bulls

  • Record: 2-5
  • VI Ranking: -
  • Points Scored: 167
  • Points Allowed: 226
  • PS/G: 23.9 (98th)
  • PA/G: 32.3 (108th)

Inside the Stats - ECU Pirates

  • Record: 3-4
  • VI Ranking: -
  • Points Scored: 201
  • Points Allowed: 199
  • PS/G: 28.7 (68th)
  • PA/G: 28.4 (86th)

Key Players to Watch

  • USF: Timmy McClain - QB (74/130, 1,000 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT)
  • USF: Jaren Mangham - RB (96 carries, 416 yards, 12 TD)
  • ECU: Holton Ahlers - QB (144/239, 1,768 yards, 10 TD, 6 INT)
  • ECU: Keaton Mitchell - RB (88 carries, 677 yards, 4 TD)


  • USF: Latrell Williams - WR (ACL-Out)
  • USF: Isaiah Cromarty - DB (Knee-Out)
  • USF: K'Wan Powell - RB (Leg-Out)
  • USF: Darrien Grant - DL (Leg-Out)
  • USF: Will Jones II - DB (ACL-Out)
  • USF: Timmy McClain - QB (Ankle-Questionable)
  • USF: Christian Williams - CB (Ankle-Questionable)
  • USF: Christian Helms - WR (Foot-Out)
  • ECU: Bailey Malovic - OL (Body-Out)

USF Bulls vs. ECU Pirates Betting Conclusion

For as bad as things look for both teams, they are each at least one game above .500 ATS. USF covered two straight games – despite losing one, and ECU covered three straight – losing two over that stretch.

Both teams have awful defenses which is going to be plenty to push this team over the total. It’s the best bet as ECU’s pass defense is finally bad enough to jump start the sluggish USF aerial attack.

If the Pirates can get up 7-10 points and keep the Bulls a little off, it may disrupt USF’s run-first game plan. ECU definitely has the talent on offense and matchup advantage to establish an early lead.

USF Bulls vs. ECU Pirates Betting Trends

  • USF has covered the spread in seven of its last nine games when facing ECU.
  • USF has covered the spread in four of its last five games when playing in Greenville.
  • USF has gone OVER the point total in nine of its last 13 games.

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