Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Low-Scoring Conditions in Play in the 'Burgh

A rivalry is renewed in Pittsburgh on Saturday when the Panthers face off against the Bearcats for the first time in over 10 years. Find out why we're isolating the total for this matchup by checking out our Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh betting picks.

Rob Paul - Betting Analyst at
Rob Paul • Betting Analyst
Sep 8, 2023 • 12:48 ET • 4 min read
M.J. Devonshire Pittsburgh Panthers NCAAF
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

It’s an old Big East party in Pittsburgh this weekend as the Panthers take on the visiting Cincinnati Bearcats in the first River City Rivalry game in 11 years.

With both teams easily defeating FCS programs in Week 1, this will serve as the first true test for both schools and their new starting quarterbacks, both of whom came via the transfer portal.

With plenty of interesting college football odds out there in Week 2, this game is set up for those who love a low-scoring affair dictated by dependable defense; and some potential rain on a grass field.

Find out where my best bets lie in our college football picks and predictions for Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh on Saturday, September 9.

Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh best odds

Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh picks and predictions

With an impressively low college football game total of 45, the oddsmakers understand what’s going on between these two old rivals as both deploy new quarterbacks who haven’t had sustained success at the Power Five level.

For Pittsburgh, that passer is Phil Jurkovec — a former Boston College and Notre Dame quarterback — with the size and arm strength of an NFL passer without any of the accuracy or mechanics.

Last season, Jurkovec threw just 11 touchdowns to eight interceptions while completing under 60% of his passes for a Boston College team that finished the year just 3-9. In Jurkovec’s eight starts, the Eagles scored 15 or fewer points five times and more than 21 just twice.

Needless to say, inserting him at the helm of a Frank Cignetti offense that finished 78th in EPA per play and 84th in EPA per pass last season isn’t inspiring much confidence. To make matters tougher on Pitt this season, the Panthers lost both their leading rusher (Israel Abanikanda) and leading receiver (Jared Wayne) from last season; the only two playmakers to surpass 600 yards from scrimmage.

While Cincinnati has a new head coach in Scott Satterfield, the Bearcats brought back six starters and several contributors from last year’s defense that finished 27th in EPA per play and 18th in EPA per pass. When Satterfield left Louisville for Cincinnati, he brought with him defensive coordinator Bryan Brown, whose Cardinals defense finished 17th in EPA per play last season and ninth in EPA per pass.

This defense has several future NFL players on it like defensive linemen Dontay “The Godfather” Corleone and Jowon Briggs and linebacker-safety hybrid Deshawn Pace. That trio is going to make it tough for Jurkovec to get into any rhythm.

But to keep that total below 45, the Panthers defense will need to contain Bearcats quarterback Emory Jones.

Jones, like Jurkovec, is at his third school after starting games at both Florida and Arizona State the last few seasons. While he is a running threat, Jones has struggled with turnovers throughout his career, throwing 17 interceptions to just 26 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

In the six games that Jones threw at least 20 passes last year, the Sun Devils scored more than 21 points just once and failed to reach 20 points four times. Like the Panthers, the Bearcats also lost last year’s leading rusher and leading receiver, and although Satterfield is known as an offensive coach, his Louisville offense ranked 102nd in EPA per play last season.

Dealing with Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi’s defense won’t make things any easier for Jones. The Panthers return five starters on a defense coordinated by Randy Bates that finished fifth in EPA per play last season and fourth in EPA per pass.

A big chunk of that pass defense is back this season too led by cornerbacks M.J. Devonshire and A.J. Woods. Also working against Cincinnati is the fact that the Bearcats return just two starters on offense from last season and just one of them is on the offensive line.

When Narduzzi’s Panthers clashed with Satterfield’s Cardinals in 2022, they totaled 34 points in a 24-10 Louisville win. 

My best bet: Under 45 (-110 at bet365)

Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh same-game parlay

Under 45 (-110)

Pittsburgh team total Under 27.5 (-115)

Pittsburgh -2.5 (-265)

On what is supposed to be a rainy day in Pittsburgh at Acrisure Stadium, points could be few and far between.

Rarely do two new quarterbacks at their third school playing in offenses known for struggling put up big-time numbers… especially when both teams play stingy defense. To see the Panthers score more than 27.5 points against Brown’s defense would be a surprise, but that doesn’t mean they won’t win. 

They’ve ultimately got more continuity between their players and coaching staff than Cincinnati. If we tease the spread down in this SGP, we’re feeling good about Pitt’s ability to win a low-scoring game by at least a field goal.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh spread and Over/Under analysis

Both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh covered last week against FCS schools. The Bearcats were heavy 21.5-point favorites against Eastern Kentucky and won 66-13, while the Panthers were -37.5-point chalk against Wofford before prevailing 45-7.

This week, Pitt opened between -7 and -8-point favorites at most books with the line coming down to between -7 and -7.5 pretty much everywhere. With the total opening between 48.5 and 49, it slowly dipped down to 45 pretty much everywhere as weather likely played a role.

The game is slated for 6:30 p.m. EST and there’s currently a 60% probability of precipitation in Pittsburgh on Saturday evening. Even if it’s not raining during the game, with a 90% probability of precipitation in the afternoon, the rain ahead of the game could make for tough conditions on a grass field.

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Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh betting trend to know

Cincinnati has hit the game total Under in its last five away games (+5.00 Units / 91% ROI). Find more college football betting trends for Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh.

Kentucky: Sports betting is coming!

Kentucky sports betting will launch on September 28 — but you can pre-register now!
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Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh game info

Location: Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA
Date: Saturday, September 9, 2023
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: CW Network

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Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh weather

Monitor gametime conditions with our College football weather info.

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