Virginia @ Pittsburgh NCAAF Game Information and Opening LinesVenue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Date: Saturday, October 10, 2015 Time: 12:30 PM ET TV: ESPN 3/ WATCH ESPN NCAAF Lines: Virginia (+10), Pittsburgh (-10)
Why the Panthers Will Win the GameThe Panthers have been a solid unit this season, showing great improvements in the defense and playing well enough in the offense in their four games so far this season. Essentially, it is because of their resurgence in the ACC that they’ve lost just once, which was in fact a three-point road loss to Iowa in Week 3, a game they fought zealously and nearly got a win. Following that loss, the Panthers took a Week 4 bye before bounced back on the winning column by beating Virginia Tech 17-13 on the road in Week 5, something that is likely to motivate them in this clash against the Cavaliers. 230-pound redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison was Pittsburgh’s star against the Hokies, rushing for 122 yards on just 19 carries, supported by J.P. Holtz, who totaled one reception for 23 yards and one TD. The two will be critical in Pittsburgh’s offense this Saturday. To boost their quest for a second ACC win, the Panthers will be playing in the homely confines of the Heinz Field for the first time in more than a month. In addition, Pittsburgh boasts of having an efficient passing attack that is completing 66.3 percent of its aerial attacks, good enough for 21st in the nation. The offensive weapons, particularly Ollison and the running game, will need to have a good ground game since the Cavs are good at pressuring the QB, so passing the ball won’t be that easy. Transitioning to the Panthers defense, the team owns a the fifth-ranked run defense (giving up just 72.5 rushing yards per game), so you can expect Virginia’s runners to have a lot of headaches in pounding the ground. Even more notably, the Panthers defense averages the most sacks in the nation with 4.5 per game. Virginia’s O-line will thus need to protect its quarterback in a great way if the Cavs passing game is to get something out of this stingy Panthers secondary.
Why the Cavaliers Will Win the GamePrior to their Week 5 bye, the Cavaliers bowed 56-14 to Boise State in Charlottesville in Week 4. Outside .J. Thorpe, who registered one reception for 75 yards and one TD against the Broncos, pretty much everyone performed dismally in that game. The Cavs will therefore need to quickly hit the refresh button and bounce back with a big performance in order to have a chance of upsetting the sprinting Panthers. Given that Pittsburgh is one of the least penalized teams in the nation (25th, averaging only five penalties per game), the Cavs must step up their discipline and avoid many blunders that could hand further advantage to the hosts. In addition, the Panthers have a porous pass protection, which ranks 119th in the country in sacks allowed with 3.2 per game, so the Cavs will need to take advantage of that weakness by harassing the passer. After all, the Panthers are averaging just 22 points versus FBS opponents, which should be manageable for Virginia’s talented defense. And above everything, the Hoos come into this game well-rested and recharged. Combined with the sense of urgency to turn things around before it is too late, you can be sure that the Hoos will be fighting tooth and nail to get the victory this Saturday.
Key Betting Trends
- Pittsburgh is 3-1 SU and ATS this season
- Virginia is 1-3 SU and ATS records this season
- Pittsburgh is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
- Virginia is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games
- Pittsburgh is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games
- Virginia is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
- Pittsburgh is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games at home
- Virginia is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games on the road
- The total has gone OVER in 7 of Pittsburgh’s last 10 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Virginia’s last 5 games on the road