I’m a big fan of games in which college football betting fans get to find out if a team is “for real.” And that’s the spot that the AP No. 21 Pittsburgh Panthers will be in this weekend when they aim to go 3-0 for the first time since 2014. An unblemished start? Awesome! A ranking in the AP Poll Top 25? Impressive! Wins against Austin Peay and Syracuse?
Well, college football bettors know there is work to be done.
The Panthers may well be a very good team this season, but they’ll need to prove it with the AP No. 24 Louisville Cardinals making their way to the Steel City on Saturday for an ACC showdown.
Let’s have a look at our best NCAA football picks and predictions for Louisville vs. Pitt, set for September 26 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Kickoff is slated for 12:00 p.m. ET.
Louisville Cardinals vs Pittsburgh Panthers betting preview
It’s absolutely going to be a great day for football in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Expect an afternoon high of 81 with no storms in the forecast and a very slight wind out of the south-southwest at 6 mph. Glorious! Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NCAA football weather info.
Louisville: Jawon Pass QB (Questionable).
Pittsburgh: Rashad Weaver DL (Questionable), Taysir Mack WR (Questionable), Jake Zilinskas TE (Questionable), Damarri Mathis DB (Questionable), Jaylen Twyman DL (Out).
Find our latest NCAA football injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Panthers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games. Find more NCAA football betting trends for Louisville vs. Pittsburgh.
Against the spread (ATS) pick
There’s no question that Louisville can put up points. Even in their 47-34 primetime loss to Miami last week, quarterback Micale Cunningham threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns. When Cunningham drops back, he’s usually looking for Tutu Atwell, who has 15 catches for 192 yards and two scores this season.
But can the Cardinals stop anyone? They’re giving up 34 points a game, which ranks in the bottom 10 in the nation.
Pittsburgh doesn’t “wow” anyone with their style of play: they just get it done. Their defense ranks sixth in the country and is allowing only 26 yards a game on the ground, anchored by Rashad Weaver and Patrick Jones II. Offensively, senior quarterback Kenny Pickett wants to play mistake-free football and let his D do the rest, as he’s thrown three touchdowns and one interception through two games.
The Cardinals’ inability to stop anyone concerns me, but Pickett and Pitt aren’t Miami — the Panthers will give Louisville’s defense a chance to make critical stops. The Cards are going to have to be creative to get their playmakers in space against a stout Pitt defense, and it won’t be easy.
However, this should be a close game that could truly go either way, so I’m more than happy to grab the points.
PREDICTION: Louisville +3.0 (-112)
This game won’t necessarily be a shootout, but I can definitely see Louisville’s porous defense meaning Cunningham will have to work hard to keep his team in the game. If he gets the ball in his hands enough, he’ll generate points. The Over is 7-0 in Louisville’s last seven games, and the money is headed in that direction as well.
PREDICTION: Over 55 (-110)
Team total pick
Pitts has solidified its defensive reputation through two games, and it’s certainly warranted. Still, I want to see the Panthers step up against better competition and until then, I think the Cardinals eclipse their team total.
PREDICTION: Louisville team total Over 26.5 (-110)
Louisville vs Pittsburgh betting card
- Louisville +3.0 (-112)
- Over 55 (-110)
- Louisville team total Over 26.5 (-110)
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