Iowa vs. Pittsburgh as Perception/Reality Free Pick of the Week

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, September 18, 2014 8:55 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 18, 2014 8:55 PM UTC

We focus on this weekend's matchup between the Pittsburgh Panthers and the Iowa Hawkeyes with our college football picks, as we have pegged this game as our 'Perception/Reality' game of the week. 


The Panthers are getting a lot of ink courtesy of their 3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS start in which they have covered by a net +36 AFP.  It is hard to defame any of the statistics resulting from that hot start.  Behind the offensive triplets of QB Voytik, RB Connor, and WR Boyd, the Panthers have exploded for an average of 45 PPG.  This includes an overland attack that is averaging 344/6.4, while allowing just 75/2.3.  That has led a defensive unit that has allowed just 15 PPG, 209 YPG and just 3.6 YP play.  These numbers represent the type of profile that could easily propel the Panthers into Top 25 status should they continue.  A manageable schedule includes only 3 more road games against teams rated no better than their equal.  Could it be a special year for the Panthers?  Before putting the cart ahead of the horse, please note the level of competition that Pitt has overwhelmed.  62-0 on this field vs. the Blue Hens of Delaware, a 30-20 road victory at Boston College, and a 42-25 win, no cover, at FIU (trailed 16-0), hardly confirms the excellence of opening week’s play.

Free Pick for Iowa vs. Pittsburgh Over/Under

Clearly, Iowa has underachieved.  The Hawkeyes enter at 2-1 SU, 0-3 ATS with a -36 net AFP.  Combined with the +36 AFP for Pitt, it gives Iowa a -72 net AFP number for this contest.  As such, the College Football odds have swung to Iowa being a touchdown underdog in a game in which they may well have been installed as the favorite were it played September 1st.  Lack luster opening week performances by the Hawkeyes resulted in a 2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS mark with wins of 8 points against N. Iowa and 4 against Ball St., both as 18 point home chalk.  That underperformance keyed our Best Bet call against them with rival Iowa St.  True to my command, the Cyclones won that game outright (20-17) leading these pages to a 3-0 ATS mark on UNDERDOG PLAYS OF THE WEEK with every double digit pup winning the game outright.  Though Iowa did outrush Iowa St. 129-82, they were out passed 255-146. 

Now, the Hawkeyes take to the road the first time.  They will be priced as meaningful underdog followed by a trio of games in which they were a double digit favorite.  It is a meaningful role change for a program that has performed with more intensity and passion in the underdog role under 15th year HC Ferentz. Add Pittsburgh -7 to your College Football picks in this matchup.

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