College Football Picks: Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh ATS

Steve Merril -

Thursday, November 7, 2013 1:30 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 1:30 PM UTC

#23 Notre Dame will travel and play at Pittsburgh on Saturday night. This game will be nationally televised at 8:00 pm ET on ABC. Let's reveiew the betting lines for our ATS sports picks.

Notre Dame is listed as a 4-point NCAFF odds road favorite on the betting lines. The total currently is sitting at 51 at the majority of shops.

This series has been closely contested with the last five meetings being decided by 6 points or less with three of those games being decided by 3 points or less. Going back a bit further, seven of the last eight meetings have been decided by 6 points or less.

Notre Dame comes in with a 7-2 SU record, but a losing 3-5-1 mark ATS. The Fighting Irish have played five of their nine games at home and one neutral site game. They’ve gone 2-1 in their three true road games, but those two wins came against a 1-7 Purdue team and a 2-7 Air Force team. Their lone road loss came at a 6-2 Michigan team by a score of 41-30. Notre Dame has benefitted from an easy schedule but this game at Pittsburgh will be a stiff challenge.

The Irish offense appears to be in good form as they’ve scored 37 points or more in three of their last four games. However, Notre Dame faced three bad defensive teams in those games; those teams allow an average of 29.8 points and 409.4 yards per game. The Irish will be facing a much stronger Pittsburgh defense in this game so we do not expect similar offensive success for Notre Dame.

Pittsburgh is just 4-4 SU and also just 3-5 ATS this season. The Panthers are 3-1 at home with their lone home defeat coming to Florida State who is 8-0 and ranked #2 in the country. Pittsburgh comes in off back-to-back losses, but both of those games were on the road and both were close defeats. They lost 24-21 at Navy and last week 21-10 at Georgia Tech; that game was just 14-10 when Georgia Tech scored a touchdown with 2:41 left to play.

The Panthers also had to face a triple-option offense in those two games. Pittsburgh will face a more conventional pro-style Notre Dame offense in this game which will only help their defense. Overall this season, the Panthers are allowing 5.2 yards per play and 4.2 yards per rush. Their rushing yards allowed (174.1 per game) appears high, but keep in mind they’ve played three run only offenses in New Mexico, Navy, and Georgia Tech. The Panthers’ 4.2 yards per rush allowed is actually quite impressive considering the teams they played.

Jeff Grant also has a pick on the Fighting Irish vs. the Panthers~

Pittsburgh has been able to throw the ball well this season. The Panthers average 8.3 yards per pass attempt which ranks them #21 in the country. Notre Dame’s defense has only faced two strong passing offenses this season and Michigan and Arizona State combined for 75 points after throwing for 656 yards on 8.3 yards per pass attempt. Pittsburgh will also find success thru the air in this game.

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The Panthers will also be quite motivated for this game since they haven’t played a home game since October 19th. Pittsburgh also has triple revenge on Notre Dame with those three losses coming by a combined 12 points. Notre Dame also has a bye on deck, and with Pittsburgh not being a big-name team, the Irish may be looking ahead to their time off just a bit.

Pittsburgh is 7-3 SU at home under head coach Paul Chryst with two of those three losses coming to the aforementioned Florida State this year and Louisville last year who went 11-2 and won the Sugar Bowl. We’ll take Pittsburgh plus the points for our college football picks in this game on Saturday night, especially since the Panthers are getting more than a field goal.

Free Picks: Play PITTSBURGH +4.

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