If Pittsburgh wants any chance of getting back to the ACC Championship, they must take care of business at home Thursday night against UNC and in the process, snap a six-game losing streak against the Tarheels. However, those six Panther losses have come by a combined 26 points as these two teams have a knack for playing close games. With a tight spread and relatively low total, the oddsmakers believe that will be the case again this time around.
We break down the game and offer our best bets and predictions for this battle between two ACC teams.
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UNC at Pittsburgh Game Details
*All odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook
This line opened at Pittsburgh -4.5 and moved slightly down to Pittsburgh -4, according to VegasInsider.com. The total has mostly stayed put at 50.5. The majority of the action in this game has come in on the underdog with UNC getting 55% of the bets and 75% of the money, according to The Action Network.
- UNC is 5-4 ATS this season
- Pittsburgh is 6-3 ATS this season
- Over is 5-4 in UNC games this season
- Under is 7-2 in Pittsburgh games this season
- UNC is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings
- Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings
*All betting trends are courtesy of Covers
Prediction & Picks
The Panthers struggle to score points this season has been nullified by their defense’s ability to keep the opponent from scoring. Pittsburgh is scoring just 20.9 points per game this year but allowing just 20.1 and has the second-best defensive unit in the ACC behind Clemson. On the other hand, North Carolina is allowing 27.1 points per game, including 38 in a loss to Virginia last Saturday. Pittsburgh’s offense will go as far as Kenny Pickett can take them. The junior quarterback has shown signs of brilliance this season with 1,952 yards passing and nine touchdowns. But Pickett has also been turnover prone, with eight interceptions and four in the last two games. Pittsburgh needs to protect the football against an aggressive Tarheel defensive unit ranked 33rd in FBS with 24 sacks this season to go along with 12 forced turnovers. That being said, I’ll take the better defense at home laying a short number.
PICK: Pittsburgh -4 (-110)
I’m not sure what to make of this total. The Tarheels haven’t been stellar on defense this season but have shown signs of life on offense with quarterback Sam Howell, who has thrown for over 2,400 yards and 26 touchdowns. Weather will also not be a factor in this one as the forecast in Pittsburgh on Thursday night is calling for temperatures in the low-40’s with winds less than 10 mph. The under is 7-2 in Pittsburgh games this season, which scares me off from making a big play here but I do think we are getting some value with the total being so low, so if you have to bet it, take the over.
PICK: Over 50.5 (-110)
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith