East Carolina Pirates vs. Temple Owls – College Basketball, February 11, 2021

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| February 10, 2021 3:31 pm PDT

The Pirates sail into this game, sitting in the seventh spot in the American Athletic Conference, while the Owls are down in tenth. However, the Owls have plenty of games in hand due to a Covid-19 hit campaign this season. They will be looking to catch the Pirates, and what better place to start than beating them back-to-back over the next couple of nights.

The recent head-to-head record between them is split, with both teams winning three games each from the last six played. However, the Owls have been far superior at home, losing just one of the previous six matches.

Pirates vs. Owls Odds

Pirates +2.5-110
Owls -2.5-110
Pirates To Win+125
Owls To Win-135
Over 133-110
Under 133-110

As you would expect, the betting is close between these two, with the Owls being slight favorites probably because of their superior record at home. The points total looks a little low, and this might offer the most value.

The Pirates have only won one game this season that they entered as the underdogs.

Pirates News

The Pirates come into this game in dreadful form. After winning seven of their opening eight games this season, they have flipped the script and lost seven of the next eight. Bizarrely that one win came against the top of the Conference team Houston who have only lost two matches all season. Houston led by three at halftime and was seemingly on their way to a routine win when the Pirates came back with a swashbuckling second-half performance to run out comfortable winners by 82-73.

They have been poor on the road this season, winning just one of their five games. That sole win was their first away game of the season, and they have gone on to lose the next four.

Latest Betting Trends for East Carolina
Bet Type Trend
ATS The Pirates have only won three of their previous 12 matches.
Total Eight of their last 12 games have gone under the betting total.
SU They have been abysmal on the road, winning just two of their last 19 road trips.
SU East Carolina has lost on their previous five visits to Temple.
Total Their last seven games played on a Thursday have all gone under the points total.

The Pirates have a very honest, well-rounded offense; however, it lacks in most areas of the game. Their shooting has been their biggest problem this season, which for an offense is a massive issue. They usually try to work the ball as close to the basket as possible and rarely opt to shoot from range. This approach has led to them having the second-highest assists average per game in the conference.

They have been even worse going forward on the road averaging seven fewer points per game than they do at home.

East Carolina has a good, solid defense that wins most of their games for them. They are conceding, on average, 67 points per contest, which puts them inside the top 100 in the country. If they could improve their defensive rebounding, they would probably bring this average down three of four points. They could also do with being busier to make more steals, as shooting as poorly as they are currently, they need to be taking more shots, which can only happen if they see more of the ball.

Jayden Gardner has been the captain of the ship for the Pirates this season, and he was recently voted the player of the week after putting in some hot performances over the past few days.

The Pirates could miss Strickland and Coleman for this game as both have been listed as doubtful to play.

Owls News

The Owls are also struggling for form, having only won one of their previous five games, including losing the last three in a row. However, if you disregard their terrible performance against Tulane, they haven’t done too poorly as they beat Tulsa convincingly and lost by three points against Cincinnati and last time out to Wichita State.

Three of their overall four wins this season have come at home. However, they still have a negative record of 3-4 from their seven games.

Latest Betting Trends for Temple
Bet Type Trend
Total Ten of their last 14 games have gone under the betting total.
Total However, their games against East Carolina haven’t been high scoring as eight of the previous 11 has gone under the points total.
ATS They have only won three of their last nine games at home.
SU Temple has a terrible record of 3-12 in their previous 15 games against teams in their Conference.
Total The total has gone under in four of their last six games played in February.
ATS They have an excellent record playing on a Thursday, having won seven of the last eight matches.

Much like their opponents, the Owls have an awful offense; it’s worse than the Pirates attack. They are shooting at under 40% this season, which is not damaging the scoreboard at all. This results in them scoring 64 points per game on average, which is the worst record in the conference.

Again, like the Pirates, they have a better defense, but again it isn’t as good as theirs. They tend to sit deep and soak up the pressure, but this leaves them open from range. However, that shouldn’t be a problem against the trigger shy Pirates. This means, like the Pirates, they don’t make many steals per game. They are averaging two less per game than their opponents.

However, I would have thought that the way they set their defense up, they would be making more blocks per game as they currently have the lowest average this season.

Although to play the way that they do takes great disciple, and this is something that they have.

It’s no surprise that a team with a poor attack and defense has a negative point per game difference. Theirs currently stands at -4.4, which is only marginally better than one other team in the conference.

Damien Dunn has been the primary scorer for the Owls this season, and God knows where they would be without him.

Senior Guard Brendan Barry has also chipped in with his fair share this season, and he is probably the most accurate shooter that they have, so he will need to be at his best if they are to win.

The Owls also have two injury concerns, with both Tolbert and White currently battling with knee injuries. Tolbert will miss the game, but there is a chance that White might make it.

Pirates vs. Owls Pick

Pick
  • Owls To Win
    -135

The obvious play here is to go under the points total with both teams shooting so badly this season and void of confidence. However, I can’t take on a point total that low. Therefore, I will side with the more disciplined team and go with the Owls to win this. They also have a superior record at home, which has to count for something.

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