Are Tar Heels & Panthers Headed for a Thursday ACC Yawner?

Willie Bee

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 2:35 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 2:35 PM UTC

Injuries have played a role in North Carolina’s disappointing season, and the Tar Heels limp into Pittsburgh as underdogs on the NCAA football odds in Thursday’s ACC tilt.

NCAAF Season Record: 32-35-4 (-3.95)

Free NCAAF Pick: Under 53Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Granted, it might not be quite as ho-hum of a matchup as, say, UTEP-Charlotte from Conference USA or last week’s Baylor-Kansas battle down in the Big 12. Still, Thursday night’s ACC clash between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Pittsburgh Panthers isn’t nearly the draw ESPN was hoping it might be when the network scheduled the 7:30 PM (ET) kickoff at Heinz Field.

SBR’s top sportsbooks are carrying a 9-9½ point spread favoring Pittsburgh with 53 for a consensus total. North Carolina arrives winless in conference play and dragging a 6-game losing streak onto the pitch. The Panthers aren’t in much better shape, though they have won two in a row to sit 2-3 in the league standings and 4-5 overall.


Both Sides With ‘Under’ Tendencies

It has been a season Coach Larry Fedora would rather forget. Though there wasn’t a lot expected from the Tar Heels to begin with, they are still going to fall well short of the 6½ wins NCAA football futures projected back in July. Injuries have been part of the problem, and UNC’s list of walking wounded continues to grow this week with strong safety Donnie Miles and linebacker Dominique Ross both questionable. The Tar Heels haven’t broken the 20-point barrier during their 6-game skid, the ‘under’ cashing five of those contests.

Pittsburgh had the same win total before the season started and needs to win out in order to push it past the 6½ mark. Pat Narduzzi’s squad has also dealt with its share of injuries, most notably to quarterback Max Browne, but redshirt sophomore Ben DiNucci has stepped in to guide the Panthers to back-to-back wins at Duke and home two Saturdays ago vs. Virginia, covering the NCAA football odds each time. ‘Under’ bettors have cashed seven of Pitt’s nine games.


Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Still a relatively new conference rivalry and nowhere as intense as when the schools collide on the hardwood, North Carolina holds an 8-3 advantage thanks to winning all four ACC matchups since Pittsburgh joined before the 2013 season. Last year’s meeting in Chapel Hill produced an exciting ending as the Heels rallied behind Mitch Trubisky for a 37-36 decision. While UNC did get its 4th straight win over the Panthers, Pitt backers returned to the pay window as 7½-point road dogs. The two recent games in Iron City split the totals.

All the rain from earlier this week should move out of Pittsburgh by Thursday, leaving behind chilly temps in the mid-40s with a 10-12 mph SW breeze off the confluence of the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers. I simply don’t see where much offense will come from, making my free college football pick an easy decision.

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