East Carolina Pirates vs Maryland Terrapins
Wednesday, 12/29/10, 2:30 PM EDT, TV: ESPN
Opening Point Spread: Maryland -9
Current Betting Line: Maryland -7.5
Opening Total: 69
Current Total: 68
East Carolina will make its fifth-straight bowl appearance and seventh since 2000 when it faces off against Atlantic Coast Conference member Maryland in the Military Bowl. “I know we’ll be facing a quality, disciplined and very well-coached opponent,” said coach Ruffin McNeill. “We are excited to have another opportunity to accomplish something special for this senior class, especially against a team the caliber of Maryland.” Today’s game will mark the first meeting between the two schools in the sport of football. The Pirates will be aiming to score 30 or more points in this contest, as they’ve won 27 of the last 31 contests when doing so. East Carolina is 3-1 ATS as an underdog of 3.5 to 10 points and currently in that range on the college football lines page.
The Pirates were handed a 20-17 loss in overtime to Arkansas in last year’s Liberty Bowl and have gone 1-3 in their four consecutive postseason appearances. East Carolina’s offense is centered around a passing game that is among the best in the nation, averaging 319.3 yards with 37 touchdowns. Leading the unit is quarterback Dominque Davis, who finished the regular season connecting on 64.9 percent of his passing attempts. He has a couple of dangerous targets down the field, including receiver Dwayne Harris, who caught a Conference USA-high 93 balls along with 1,055 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Maryland is set to make its fourth bowl appearance in the least five seasons and seventh in the last 10 years. The Terrapins should receive plenty of fan support with today’s game being played in Washington, DC, but the players may lack the proper motivation to cover the spread in this contest. “Finishing third in the ACC, we thought we were going to a better bowl – not a better bowl, but a warmer bowl,” said linebacker Alex Wujciak. “We’re from around here.” Much of the discussion surrounding the team since the end of the regular season has been centered around coach Ralph Friedgen, as his contract was bought out and will be on the sidelines a final time. Maryland was 8-4 ATS on the season and 2-1 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points.
The Terrapins offense was firing on all cylinders at the close of the season and posted over 400 total yards in four of the last five games. Maryland finished the year ranked 42nd nationally in scoring offense at 31.4 points per game and only three teams in the nation had fewer turnovers. The squad is 7-2 when winning the turnover battle and 4-1 in games decided by seven points or less. With a win against the Pirates, the program would capture its 14th nine-win season, including the fifth under Friedgen.
Bettors will be interested in the Pirates being 1-6 ATS versus ACC opponents, while the Terrapins are 4-1 ATS as a favorite.
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