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Free Picks: East Carolina vs. Florida Gambling Lines & Handicapping Preview

BIRMINGHAM BOWL: Pirates vs Gators Picks

With interim head coach D.J. Durkin leading the way for Florida, the Gators get set to take on one of the best offenses in the Birmingham Bowl. East Carolina’s dynamic duo of Shane Carden and Justin Hardy offer one of the most lethal threats in the country.

NCAA Football Odds

ECU (8-4) vs. Florida (6-5)
Saturday, Jan 3
12:00 PM ET
Legion Field (Birmingham, Alabama)
College Football Betting Lines: Florida -6.5
College Football O/U: 56.5
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East Carolina

Coming off an absolute shock in the American Athletic Conference championship, East Carolina looks to regroup after watching Central Florida convert a Hail Mary pass play as time expired to clinch the AAC Title. East Carolina scored 21 straight in the 4th quarter to take the lead, only to see their comeback fall short.

The dangerous East Carolina offense is led by Senior QB Shane Carden. Carden threw for 4309 yards with 28 touchdowns.

He had at least one touchdown in every game except the 20-10 loss in downpour weather against Temple. Without any doubt, Carden won the 2014 American Athletic Conference offensive player of the year award.

QB Shane Carden’s main target, Senior WR Justin Hardy, caught 9 touchdowns to go along with 1334 yards receiving. Hardy won the 2014 Burlsworth Trophy and leads the country with 9.2 receptions per contest.

Overall, East Carolina’s offense ranks 3rd overall in total pass yards with 367.3 yards a game. The Pirates score 37.2 points a game (14th).


The Gators showed signs of inconsistency and lack of offensive firepower throughout the entire season.


Former head coach Will Muschamp was told he would not return as the head coach of Florida in 2015 following the Gators debacle at home against South Carolina.

The Gators perhaps showed their biggest fight in the finale of their 2014 regular season when they fell just short against rival #3 Florida State 24-19.

Florida ranks 106th in the nation in pass yards (180.7 per game) and only threw for 16 total passing touchdowns between their two QBs.

Expected to be under center Saturday will be freshman QB Treon Harris. Harris had just 869 yards passing with 7 passing touchdowns.

Florida typically leaned on their defense to have success in 2014. The Gator defense allowed just 21.2 points against (22nd) and 308.5 yards total against.

They held opponents 4 times to 10 points or less and held Florida State to just 24 in their contest November 29th.

NCAA Football Handicapping Trends:

  • Pirates are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. SEC.
  • Pirates are 5-16 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Gators are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
  • Gators are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Bowl games.


Bettors will see this and think that laying 6.5 points with a coach less, low scoring Florida Gators team is way too much. This is a typical case of how Florida had to deal with the SEC strength of schedule while East Carolina played lesser opponents.

Free 4* NCAA Football Pick: Florida -6.5

The Gators are much more physical than East Carolina.

Florida 27, East Carolina 13

The Gators defense will be able to shut down the Pirates passing attack and win a low scoring battle.

Check out our Updated College Football Bowl Game Odds.

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About Tony M

Tony is new to Cappers Picks and has been betting on sports since the first day he turned 18. He is a 22 year old Cleveland native who lives and breathes Indians baseball. His dream is to be part of a championship celebration at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.