This week’s Thursday night football lines in college football are not showstoppers by any stretch of the imagination, but they offer good opportunities for bettors due to the nature of the matchups.
Florida Atlantic Owls @ East Carolina Pirates
Odds: East Carolina -20.5
This game is not going to be a referendum on how good East Carolina is. It’s going to be a reflection on how bad Florida Atlantic is. There are always two sides to every story, and the key takeaway from FAU’s season opener last Friday night against the University of Miami is that it is going to have a very tough time scoring this season. Florida Atlantic’s defense was very good in the first half of that game against Miami. The Owls bottled up the Hurricanes and repeatedly gave their offense chances to drive the ball down the field. However, Florida Atlantic’s offense just couldn’t get started. FAU drowned in a large pool of mistakes, and that performance is going to leave a mark before this contest on Thursday night in Greenville, N.C.
East Carolina should roll not because it is going to do so many special things. It’s going to thrive because Florida Atlantic’s offense can’t hurt ECU. The homestanding Pirates should be able to get great field position on a regular basis after their defense shuts down FAU’s offense. This should have a cumulative effect over the course of the game. Florida Atlantic’s defense is going to stay on the field too long, and East Carolina will wear down the Owls by the time the fourth quarter arrives. Maybe FAU will stay somewhat close for a half, but this game should unravel for the Owls in the second half, especially the final 20 minutes.
Pick: East Carolina -20.5
Sacramento State Hornets @ Arizona State Sun Devils
Odds: Arizona State -34.5
This game should be completely one-sided in nature. Sacramento State played decent defense against San Jose State, but the Spartans were breaking in a new head coach. Arizona State has a more stable situation under head coach Todd Graham. What’s more is that Arizona State will be playing at home in what should be hot weather conditions that will be punishing for Sacramento State. Moreover, Arizona State runs a fast-tempo offense, one that should quickly take a physical toll on Sacramento State. The Sun Devils should be able to run the Hornets into the ground. In the first half, ASU should be able to power Sacramento State off the ball. As Sacramento State tries to stop the run, ASU will be able to throw the ball more effectively in the middle third of the game. When the second half arrives, it’s hard to see how Sacramento State will have enough depth or resilience anywhere on the field to keep pace with Arizona State. This should be a Sun Devil blowout, well above the football odds.
Pick: Arizona State -34.5