Notre Dame escaped at Temple last weekend to keep its playoff hopes alive, while Pittsburgh fell at home to North Carolina, which puts them in a hole in the ACC. Playing at Heinz Field, the Fighting Irish are up to an -8.5 point favorite (as of Tuesday at 5 Dimes Sportsbook).
The Irish almost let last week’s Game slip away from them in the Fourth quarter after Temple took a lead late in the Game. However, DeShone Kizer led the offense down the field for a Game-winning touchdown. With the only blemish on their Schedule being a road loss to Clemson, it wouldn’t be surprising if Notre Dame was in playoff contention the rest of the way.
This won’t be an easy Game, though. Pat Narduzzi had his team rolling to a 6-1 record in his first season in charge, but had trouble against North Carolina this past weekend. The Panthers don’t do a ton of things exceptionally well, but they aren’t terrible in any specific area, which is all a college football team needs.
Maybe the biggest task for Pitt will be on the defensive end. They struggled to contain UNC last weekend and Notre Dame poses a similar threat. A slight advantage may be that Narduzzi has plenty of coaching experience against the Irish from his time at Michigan State. No one has really gone off on this defense, and that will be key for Pitt to cover here.
DeShone Kizer has been great in his first season starting under center. While he has six interceptions on the year, his legs have been a major factor in this offense and that was seen against Temple. Despite two INTs in that Game, he ran for 143 yards and two TDs to negate those turnovers. It’s been a pretty impressive season for the formerly inexperienced QB. Top receiver Will Fuller (nine TDs) could be targeted a bunch in this Game as Pitt doesn’t really have anyone to cover him. C.J. Prosise should also have a better Game after getting held to 25 yards last week.
To stick around in this Game, the Panthers will need to get their offense going. Notre Dame can be beat and quarterback Nathan Peterman will have to do just that.
Peterman, like Kizer, has been solid this season. He hasn’t thrown an interception in five Games, which is important, but only has 10 TDs on the year. This group won’t blow anyone away, but they get the job done. Freshman running back Qadree Ollison has scored in seven of eight Games this year and they’ll get him the ball early in this one after he had only 11 touches against UNC.
Notre Dame is the better team, but this line seems a bit iNFLated, and that’s what usually happens for the Fighting Irish. These teams didn’t play last year, but Pitt has covered in the last three meetings. In fact, this matchup has been decided by seven points or less in the last six Games. Is there a reason Notre Dame can buck that trend on the road?
The Fighting Irish have failed to cover in five straight November Games, while the Panthers haven’t covered in Four straight home Games. The underdog is an incredible 8-0-1 ATS in the last nine meetings between these schools.
Our Pick – We have Notre Dame winning this Game by 10. Which is close to the current line which means this Game is a pass for us. As a guide, for those who are going to bet this Game anyways, we’d consider playing Notre Dame at -7 or less and Pittsburgh at +10 or more.