Pittsburgh Panthers vs North Carolina Tar Heels - Week 4 College Football Predictions

Pittsburgh Panthers QB hugging teammate

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 4:39 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2016 4:39 PM GMT

Pitt and UNC clash in the ACC opener for both teams on Saturday, the Tar Heels laying a touchdown. Join expert capper as he analyses what to be expected to get your college football picks ready.

Pitt Panthers (2-1 SU, 0-3 ATS)
Pitt has failed to cover a spread this season and enters its first conference clash a touchdown pup against the reigning Coastal Division champs. The program is just 6-10 ATS since head coach Pat Narduzzi took over, dropping its last five straight.

On offense, expect Pitt to run a lot. The team has called a rushing play 70.1 percent of the time, sixth most in the country and highest of any non-triple option school. It’s averaging 5.7 yards per carry (13th).

Defensively, Narduzzi employs a similar attacking style defense he did as a coordinator at Michigan State. It’s paying off. The unit is averaging 3.0 takeaways per game, fourth most in the nation. Bettors will have to see if it can rattle UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky who set a school record in last week's game with 155 passing attempts without an interception. The unit is also stuffing the run for 87.0 yards per game.

 

North Carolina Tar Heels (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS)
In addition to the interception-free streak mentioned above, Trubisky set another school record in last week’s 56-28 over James Madison by completing 17 straight passes. The Junior is 67-of-91 for 853 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, and zero picks to begin the season. No Marquise Williams. No problem.

Defensively, the Tar Heels can’t stop the run. The unit allows 5.4 yards per carry, ranking 106 in the FBS. Couple that with a quick-strike offense, and its opponents are controlling the clock 60.4 percent of the time (122nd nationally); not a good recipe for a showdown with the run-first Panthers. Coordinator Gene Chizik called out his own unit on Tuesday as “soft” and predicted the Pitt matchup could get “ugly.”

UNC averages 43.5 points per game at Kenan Memorial Stadium under head coach Larry Fedora. The team has scored 40 points or more in 10 of 14 ACC games when home chalk in this span. The OVER is 7-1-1 un the Tar Heel’s last nine games.

 

Final Analysis
Pitt doesn’t have enough fire power on offense to overcome the Tar Heels late, but should hang tough throughout as it controls the clock. A similar scenario played out in its 45-38 defeat to Oklahoma State last weekend. The Panthers’ only experienced wide receiver, Dontez Ford, is out with a broken collarbone. The team struggles to throw when chasing a lead.

The Panthers, though, have only dropped two games by more than a touchdown since Narduzzi took over. The hook here could be instrumental. Our numbers have UNC winning by four. The line opened at 6.5 points but has bounced back and forth between 7 and 8 throughout the week. We jumped on board at +7 for the Panthers for our week 4 college football picks. Shop those sportsbooks to find your best number. 

 

Free NCAAF Picks:  Panthers +7 -110
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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