Pitt -4 2.2% NCAAF Play

Both teams come into this game with some extra rest, and it will be a cold night in Pittsburgh with clear skies and temperatures in the low 30’s to high 20’s.  I think that benefits the PItt QB who played in cold weather last year vs. UNC’s Sam Howell who is a freshman QB from the state of North Carolina. North Carolina is a public dog here tonight getting 58% of the money and tickets, but I think it’s a bad match-up.  Many will point to the fact that North Carolina has played in a ton of close games, and they have played a lot of top defenses, but their motivation off extra rest has to be questioned here. They have no shot to get to the ACC Championship game and go into their bye, and now they face a Pitt team who does have a shot.  Meanwhile, Pitt has lost 6 straight in the series, including the last 3 by a combined 7 points. I think Pitt easily the more motivated team here.

 

UNC also has some injury concerns that impact this match-up.  Their secondary has been hit hard with injuries, and now they could be without LT Charlie Heck in this game.  The offensive line already ranks 110th in sack % allowed, and are going up against Pitt’s 6th ranks sack % unit and this is all happening on the road.  Now North Carolina has faced 5 top 50 defenses, and they have gone 2-3 with losses by 1, 3, and 7, and their wins have come by 3, and 3. The problem is North Carolina has faced every single one of those top 50 defenses at home.  Here they have to go on the road where they are just 1-2 on the season. They haven’t faced a good defense on the road, and Pitt is probably the most balanced defense they have faced other than Clemson. It will be interesting to see how Sam Howell does in this game as a true freshman going on the road to face a Top 10 defense.  Also worth noting is the fact that North Carolina is 1-4 when they don’t rush for 150 yards. Miami was the lone win, and they probably should have lost that game. Pitt ranks 6th in rushing ypc, and has only allowed Penn State to run over 150 yards this year and that a game was on the road.

 

Pitt offensively has started to find more balance with the running game which is a good thing going into this game, but their overall offensive #’s don’t look good, but I think they are heavily underrated group when you factor in they haven’t faced many poor defenses.  Here they face North Carolina who ranks outside the Top 60 in yards per play allowed, rushing ypc, and opposing QB rating. Pitt has just two other teams ranked outside the top 60 and they won by 7 and 10 points. There is one other opponent that ranked outside the top 60 in one of the categories, and Pitt also won that game by 7 and 2 of those 3 games have been on the road.  So we have a PItt team here who has struggled offensively, but they haven’t played many bad defenses, especially on the road, and we have a UNC team that has played all of their challenging defenses at home. I think that’s worth a couple of points of value. 


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