Pittsburgh at Connecticut: What bettors need to know

Pittsburgh at Connecticut (3, 44)

After nearly pulling off a monumental upset in South Bend, Pittsburgh will try to rebound and move closer to bowl eligibility on the road against struggling Connecticut on Friday night. The Panthers had Notre Dame on the ropes, but lost 29-26 in triple overtime last week. A blown 14-point fourth-quarter lead and a missed field goal in the second overtime cost Pittsburgh a chance at giving first-year coach Paul Chryst a signature win. The Panthers need to win two of their final three games to become bowl eligible in their final season as a member of the Big East. They should be able to get past Connecticut, which has lost four straight and six of its last eight. Pittsburgh has won three of the last four meetings, including a 35-20 home victory last season when Tino Sunseri threw for 419 yards and two scores, and ran for another.

TV:  8 p.m. ET, ESPN2.

LINE:  Pittsburgh -3.5, O/U 43.5. Pitt moved from -3 to 3.5 since Thursday and the total dropped a half-point at most books also.

WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for cool temperatures in the mid-30s with clear skies. Winds will blow WNW at 3 mph.

ABOUT PITTSBURGH (4-5. 1-3 Big East): The Panthers are lamenting their missed opportunities against Notre Dame. It was one of their grittiest efforts of the season, but Kevin Harper missed a potential game-winning 33-yard field goal wide right after Pittsburgh recovered a fumble in the end zone. Senior running back Ray Graham (794 yards, eight touchdowns), one of three players who came under scrutiny last week for allegedly assaulting a pedestrian, was the star as he ran for a season-high 172 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. While Graham was spectacular, Pittsburgh was only 1-of-14 on third down.

ABOUT CONNECTICUT (3-6, 0-4): Can things get any worse for the Huskies? Connecticut headed into its off week after a 40-10 loss to Syracuse and wasn’t any better upon its return. UConn fell 13-6 to South Florida – a team that had lost six straight and 11 of its last 12 conference games. Sophomore quarterback Chandler Whitmer threw two interceptions – giving him 13 on the season – and the Huskies ran for only 43 yards on 31 carries against the 85th-ranked rush defense. Connecticut is last in the FBS in scoring (16.6) and rushing (82.0).

TRENDS:

* Underdog is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Under is 4-0 in Huskies’ last four home games.
* Under is 6-1 in Panthers’ last seven road games.
* Huskies are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Panthers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six road games.

EXTRA POINTS:


1. UConn senior DE Trevardo Williams’ sack against South Florida made him the school’s all-time leader with 27.5. He is 11th in the nation with 8.5 sacks this season.

2. Graham, WR Devin Street and DB Lafayette Pitts all played against Notre Dame despite being charged, but not arrested, for simple assault Nov. 1.

3. Because of injuries, Pittsburgh LB Joe Trebitz made his first-career start and finished with a team-high 13 tackles against Notre Dame.

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