Michigan Wolverines (0-0) vs East Carolina Pirates (0-0)
2023-09-02 12:00:00 EDT
The Line: Betting Odds: Michigan Wolverines -36 -- Over/Under: 52.5
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The East Carolina Pirates and the Michigan Wolverines meet Saturday in college football action from Michigan Stadium. The Pirates come into this one after an 8-5 overall record last year and a victory in the Birmingham Bowl. As for Michigan, they posted a 13-1 overall campaign a season ago—taking a Big Ten championship along the way—but it all ended on a disappointing note in the Fiesta Bowl. Check back all season long for free college football picks at Sports Chat Place.
East Carolina Pirates
The Pirates were pretty solid overall last year at 8-5, but only went a tepid 4-4 in American Athletic Conference play. East Carolina finished off the regular season on a 1-2 run, but turned things around in the Birmingham Bowl with a big 53-29 win over Coastal Carolina.
There’s a lot of positive talk surrounding East Carolina in the new-look AAC this year, but first the team has to navigate through some turnover. QB Holton Ahlers is gone, as are most of the top receiving targets. That said, ex-Georgia receiver Jaylen Johnson should be a guiding force, as should TE Shane Calhoun. The running back spot should be pretty solid as well, even with Keaton Mitchell off the roster. Marlon Gunn, Rahjai Harris and Gerald Green should fill in the gaps well.
East Carolina Pirates Team Facts
East Carolina has lost each of its last 12 games against AP-ranked teams.
East Carolina has covered the spread in each of its last five games against non-conference opponents.
East Carolina has won the first half in three of its last four games against non-conference opponents.
East Carolina has won the first quarter in three of its last four games against non-conference opponents.
Each of East Carolina’s last four road games against AP-ranked teams have gone OVER the total points line.
Over on the Michigan side, they rolled through all comers for most of the year and won their first 13 games. The Wolverines took care of Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game 43-22 and then took on TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. Michigan suffered something of a flukey loss to the Horned Frogs 51-45 however, ending their season prematurely.
Michigan is primed for another deep playoff run this season, as they’ve once again got an abundance of talent all over the field. The offensive line (a driving force last year) is ready to go behind guard tandem Zak Zinter and Trevor Keegan. They’ll make way for a ground game that boasts names like Blake Corumr (1,463 yards; 18 scores last year) and Donovan Edwards (991 yards). JJ McCarthy ties it all together at quarterback and should play well in 2023.
Michigan Wolverines Team Facts
Michigan has won each of its last 23 September games against non-AP-ranked teams.
Michigan has covered the spread in six of its last seven games against non-conference opponents at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan has won the first half in 18 of its last 19 games against non-conference opponents at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan has won the first quarter in each of its last seven games against non-conference opponents at Michigan Stadium.
Nine of Michigan’s last 10 games against non-AP-ranked teams at Michigan Stadium have gone UNDER the total points line.
Michigan ranked 1st among FBS teams for Q4 points per game last season (12.9).
Michigan ranked 1st among FBS teams for H2 points per game last season (22.8).
East Carolina ranked T16th among FBS teams for Q1 win percentage last season (.615).
East Carolina ranked T25th among FBS teams for Q3 points per game last season (8.2).
ANDREW’S FREE PICK
I’m staying with Michigan, even though the line is enormous. The Wolverines have little chance at even allowing East Carolina to stay close in this one; I think they’ll be taking out some Fiesta Bowl frustrations in Week 1 at the expense of the Pirates (who aren’t a bad football team in their own right). On paper, Michigan is once again one of the top teams in the country, and they’ll show their stuff here. If there’s anything Michigan needs to get better at, it’s generating more pressure up front on defense: 21 of their 73 tackles for loss last year came across two games (Indiana and Colorado) and when that unit wasn’t performing the scores got dangerously close. Still, the Wolverines should be ready to go in the opener and I don’t think they’ll keep the Pirates in range for long.