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East Carolina Pirates at Michigan Wolverines Betting Preview

We are ready to get started with the 2023 College Football season. One of the first games of the day on Saturday features the Pirates of East Carolina University against the Michigan Wolverines.

This game will be played in Ann Arbor, where the Michigan Wolverines are huge favorites in this game. In fact, the Wolverines come into the game listed at -36, with a total of 51.5.

The East Carolina Pirates are coming off a bowl win in 2022. The Pirates beat Coastal Carolina 53-29 to finish the season strong in the Birmingham Bowl. East Carolina wrapped up an 8-5 season, which included a 4-4 mark in AAC play.

The Michigan Wolverines were one win away from playing in the National Title game a season ago. Michigan finished with a 13-1 record, with their lone loss coming to the TCU Horned Frogs 51-45 in the Fiesta Bowl. Jim Harbaugh has most of his talent back, with a few guys gone, but studs are filling in those roles.

Pirates Tough Start for 2023

The East Carolina Pirates know they have a tough start to the 2023 season. They were taking on a Michigan team that may be the most seasoned of any in College Football.

The Pirates, a season ago, were one of the top passing teams in all of College Football. East Carolina threw for over 290 yards per game. The offense also added over 170 rushing yards per game and scored 32.5 points per game.

The Pirates in 2022 saw their signal caller Holton Ahlers toss for over 3,700 yards. Ahlers is now with the Seattle Seahawks. Isaiah Winstead and C.J. Johnson were the top two targets for Ahlers. Those two combined for over 2,100 yards and 16 touchdowns.

On the ground, Keaton Mitchell rushed 201 times for 1,452 yards and 14 touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Pirates, none of those guys return in 2023.

Mason Garcia will get the start at quarterback for East Carolina. He is a red-shirt sophomore. Rahjai Harris should be the lead running back, with Jarett Garner and Jsi Hatfield, along with Jaylen Johnson, carrying the receiver load.

Big Ten Favorites Off and Running

The Michigan Wolverines are the favorites to win the Big Ten Conference in 2023. This is the final season for the conference before getting a new look, notably bringing over USC and UCLA into the league. The Wolverines have home games against UNLV, Bowling Green, and Rutgers following this before going on the road for back-to-back games at Nebraska and Minnesota.

The Wolverines will be without head coach Harbaugh as he serves the first of his three-game suspension. Michigan was one of the top rushing teams a season ago and also scoring.

Blake Corum finished the season with over 1,500 yards, and he will return following a knee injury in December. Donovan Edwards is also returning. He was the second running back and will get tons of opportunities as well.

The biggest key for the Wolverines is their quarterback, J.J. McCarthy. When opposing defenses slow down the run game, McCarthy will have to show he can move the offense by using his arm. He did so late in the year last season and looks to build on that in 2023.

Blowout City to Start 2023

This game is going to be ugly. If this were 2022 – the East Carolina Pirates would have a chance to cover this spread. The Pirates had enough offense to play in an offensive shoot-out last season. In 2023, they do not. This is going to be ugly. Look for a game like 49-7 Michigan.

Take the Wolverines -36 over East Carolina on Saturday.

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