The East Carolina Pirates look to find their footing with a road clash against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Friday evening. East Carolina is just 1-3 on the season, with a 1-2 mark in conference games, but head coach Mike Houston and the Pirates did have an extra week to prepare for this matchup. On the Tulsa side, head coach Philip Montgomery leads a program with an unblemished mark in conference play, and this marks the first home game of the season for the Golden Hurricane.
Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET. William Hill lists the Golden Hurricane as 17-point favorites, down 1.5 points from the opening East Carolina vs. Tulsa odds. The over-under is set at 59.5. Before making any Tulsa vs. East Carolina picks, check out the college football predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $4,000 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It is a sizzling 29-19 on top-rated picks through seven weeks of the 2020 college football season, returning nearly $500 in profit already. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- East Carolina vs. Tulsa spread: Tulsa -17
- East Carolina vs. Tulsa over-under: 59.5 points
- East Carolina vs. Tulsa money line: Tulsa -800, East Carolina +550
- East Carolina: The Pirates are 2-2 against the spread this season
- Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane are 10-5 against the spread in the last 15 games
Why East Carolina can cover
The Pirates have a strong quarterback/running back combination, which should help them keep this game competitive against a tough Tulsa squad. Quarterback Holton Ahlers, who is projected to return after missing last week's tilt due to COVID-19 procedure, is a two-way threat. Ahlers has more than 1,000 career rushing yards across two-plus seasons, and he passed for more than 3,300 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2019. On the ground, freshman running back Rahjai Harris is the centerpiece of a top-five rushing offense in the conference, putting up 330 yards and three touchdowns already this season.
Harris averages 5.8 yards per carry and, with his explosiveness, the Pirates are putting up nearly 200 rushing yards per game. Tulsa has many strengths, but has struggled to convert yardage into points this season, ranking third-worst in the AAC at 27.7 points per game. Much of that can be traced to struggles on third down, where the Golden Hurricane are converting a dismal 33.3 percent of their chances in 2020.
Why Tulsa can cover
The Golden Hurricane are a defense-first team so far in 2020, with strong numbers across the board. Led by junior linebacker Zaven Collins, Tulsa is a top-two team in the AAC in both total defense (348 yards allowed per game) and scoring defense (18.3 points allowed per game) this season. Collins has three sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a touchdown already in 2020. In addition, the East Carolina offense isn't terribly explosive, ranking fourth-worst in the AAC in averaging just 387.3 total yards per game.
On the other side, East Carolina is currently the worst team in the AAC in scoring defense, allowing 37.8 points per game, and Tulsa should be able to dent the scoreboard as a result. The Pirates also struggle in rushing defense, giving up 212.8 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry. Running back Deneric Prince, who averages 6.3 yards per carry, headlines an effective Tulsa ground attack.
How to make East Carolina vs. Tulsa picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, with East Carolina projected for less than 3.5 yards per carry and Tulsa's Zach Smith being held under 300 yards passing in the simulations. It also has generated an against-the-spread pick that cashes in almost 60 percent of simulations. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins ECU vs. Tulsa? And which side of the spread hits almost 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Tulsa vs. ECU spread to back, all from the advanced model that is up almost $4,000 on its top-rated college football spread picks, and find out.