Friday CFB: Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Virginia Cavaliers Pick ATS
Pittsburgh Panthers (4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. No. 23 Virginia Cavaliers (6-2 SU, 7-1 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 10
Date/Time: Friday November 2nd, 2018. 7:30PM (EST)
Where: Scott Stadium Charlottesville, V.A.
Point Spread:PITT +7/UVA -7
Over/Under Total: TBA
Friday night lights return to the ACC this week when the Virginia Cavaliers host the Pittsburgh Panthers in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers have emerged as the surprise story in the ACC this season and have coincidently been one of the hottest teams in the country for bettors at 7-1 ATS on the year. Despite a pair of stumbles with road trips to Indiana and NC State, Virginia is still in the thick of the race to claim the ACC Coastal Division. However, Pittsburgh is also in that same race despite the 4-4 SU mark because they are 3-1 SU in conference play. Therefore this Friday’s contest between the Panthers and Cavaliers could be considered an elimination game in terms of hopes for a chance to play for the ACC Championship.
With the stakes raised this week, it’s no surprise that the Cavaliers are mere 7 point favorites. Despite the 6-2 record, Virginia is not the type of team that blows opponents out of the water. The Cavaliers rely on a mix of strong defensive support combined with an opportunistic offense as the basis of their success. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is more challenging to figure out based on the inconsistencies on offense. The Panthers have looked great at times this year on offense and have looked sub-par during other periods. Just look at the last 4 games for evidence. In those 4 games, the Panthers posted 98 points combined in the victories over Syracuse and Duke but scored just 14 points in each of the losses to UCF and Notre Dame. Therefore, what should we expect from the offense this week?
Key Matchups favor Cavaliers
The most significant match-ups in this game lean in the direction of Virginia. The Panthers offense relies heavily on the run because they have been very inconsistent with their passing attack. Quarterback Kenny Pickett has passed for just 1,156 yards with 8 scores and 5 picks for the entire year. Not only are those numbers dismal but Pittsburgh ranks 117th in the FBS in passing offense. Going back to my comments above about the inconsistency of this Pittsburgh offense, it all relates to their inability to move the football through the air.
The good news is that Pittsburgh has been able to be efficient against weaker rushing defenses. The bad news is that Virginia does not fall into that category. The Cavaliers are extremely strong against the run yielding just 119 yards per game, and that factor cannot be overlooked. We are talking about a defense that matches up better against this Pittsburgh rushing attack than arguably the likes of Notre Dame and UCF who had dominant performances against the Panthers. When Virginia starts limiting Panthers running back Qadree Ollison’s room to run, it will put Pittsburgh in an inferior situation as they have to rely on the passing attack to move the football.
Virginia will run the football effectively
Another important match-up revolves around the Virginia offense against the Pittsburgh defense. Again, I think this is another winning match-up for Virginia because they can control the line of scrimmage. Quarterback Bryce Perkins is a dual threat passer that is just as dangerous with his legs. Perkins has rushed for 575 yards with 6 touchdowns this year and has thrown for another 1,623 yards with 15 touchdowns and 8 picks. Throw in running back Jordan Ellis who has compiled 683 yards with 7 scores this year, and you have a relentless running threat equipped to attack this Pittsburgh defense that has struggled against the run. If the Virginia defense can get off the field frequently as I expect, I am betting that this Cavaliers rushing attack wears down this Pittsburgh defense.
Pittsburgh vs. Virginia Betting Trends
As mentioned earlier, the Cavaliers are 7-1 ATS on the year, and they have also gone 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games at home. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games. However, the Panthers road splits have been much worse as they are just 1-9 SU in their last 10 road games and just 3-4-2 ATS in their last 9 road games as well. Pittsburgh does hold the upper hand going 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings between the Panthers and Cavaliers.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take Virginia -7 at GTBets home of the 100% bonus up to $500 free on your first depoist.