Two teams at the bottom of the AAC will meet this weekend, with the 1-5 Charlotte 49ers headed on the road to take on the 1-5 East Carolina Pirates. It should be no surprise with their records, but both teams are ranked at the bottom of the country for offense, and with that said, there is no reason for me not to target the point total in this matchup.
Charlotte didn’t just lose last weekend for the fifth straight week, they were shutout 14-0 by Navy. By the end of the game, the 49ers had managed just 265 total yards of offense, which is slightly under their season average of 295.2 yards, which has them ranked 122nd in the country. Biff Poggi’s team ranks even lower in points per game, coming in at 130th with an average of 13.6.
Part of the 49ers offensive problem is they lack an identity on that side of the ball. At quarterback, Charlotte has rotated between Jalon Jones and Trexler Ivey. That duo has a combined four passing touchdowns and seven interceptions, ranking 108th in passing yards per game and 92nd in completion percentage. Unfortunately, for the Charlotte faithful, their run game has not been much better, ranking 103rd in rushing yards per game.
Getting anything going with the running game this week could be a challenge as well since stopping the run is the strength of the East Carolina defense. The Pirates rank 30th in rushing yards allowed per game and 42nd in yards allowed per rush, but while they can stop the run, opponents have been able to expose them through the air. Last week, ECU allowed 276 passing yards and three touchdowns, bringing them down to 104th in passing yards allowed per game.
In fairness to the Pirates' defense, the team’s offense has not done enough to keep them in most games this season, as they average just 14.2 points per game. Unlike Charlotte, the Pirates do have an idea of what they want to do on offense, but they just aren’t executing. ECU is 38th in average passing attempts per game, yet their quarterbacks, Alex Flinn and Mason Garcia, have the team ranked 132nd in yards per pass and 126th in completion percentage.
The total for this game is currently set at 41 on DraftKings, and for my two plays, I’ll be taking the full game under and the first quarter under of 8.5 for a half-unit play. For starters, Charlotte has scored zero points in the first quarter in four straight games and in five of their six games, while East Carolina is averaging 3.8 first-quarter points per game this season.
Past the first quarter, these teams flat-out struggle to move the ball down the field and lack consistent quarterback play. If Charlotte has had any offensive success this season, it’s been on the ground, and that plays perfectly into what ECU is good at on defense. The Pirates have gone three straight games without allowing a team to go for over 100 rush yards, and with Charlotte’s lack of a passing threat, the Pirates should be able to keep that streak alive.
East Carolina has not had the passing success they’ve wanted this season, but there is a chance they can beat the Charlotte defense ranked 130th in passing yards allowed per attempt (9.5) a few times. Even with that, I don’t think they’ll be able to run up the score enough to affect this total.
Under 41 (-110) on DK
1Q Under 8.5 (-110) (.5 units)