College Football Picks: Strength of Schedule & Recent Results Favor Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 12:06 AM GMT

Our handicapper takes an early glance at Saturday’s game between Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. Join us in reading this compelling betting preview article culminated by his college football pick.

Rivalry Resumes After One Year Sabbatical
Pittsburgh (6-2) hosts #8 Notre Dame (7-1) on Saturday. The opening kickoff at Heinz Field is slated for Noon ET. Current (11/3) college football odds at BetOnline have Notre Dame as an 8-point favorite. This will be the first meeting between these teams since 2013, and Pittsburgh came away with a 28-21 win as a 5-point home underdog on that day. As a matter of fact, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh met every year between 2008 and 2013, and all six games were decided by 7 points or less.

 

Strength of Schedule
Notre Dame has not only gone 7-1 this year but they’ve done so against some pretty stiff competition. Case in point, over their past four games, Notre Dame has faced Clemson, Navy, USC, and Temple. Those four previously mentioned teams head into this week with a combined 22-5 (.844) record. Even more compelling, when Notre Dame faced each of those opponents, three of the four was undefeated at the time. Their only loss this season came at #3 Clemson 24-22. They made a gutsy comeback during that contest despite terrible weather conditions, and failed on a potential game tying two point try in the final minute of the 4th quarter.

A tell tale sign that then #23 Pittsburgh was overrated became vividly apparent last week. They were installed as an opening 3.0 point home underdog against unranked North Carolina. Well, the oddsmakers certainly were spot on based on Pittsburgh’s 26-19 loss. The truth of the matter, Pittsburgh’s strength of schedule left a lot to be desired well before the North Carolina game. None of their six wins on the year came by a decisive margin. The largest disparity was a 24-7 home win against Akron. Their other five victories came by 8 points or less, including 45-37 against Youngstown State who competes at the FCS level. Putting the Panthers' 6-2 start into perspective, all six wins have come against teams that currently don’t possess a winning record.

 

Final Thoughts & Pick
Those who have followed me over the years are well aware that I avoid betting college football road favorites whenever possible. Like many of my handicapping principles, there’s an exception to the rule. This is one of those times. I’m siding with the road favorite in this contest for one of my college football picks this week.

College Football Picks: Play on Notre Dame -8 at BetOnline

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