The hype surrounding Notre Dame is growing by the week as it keeps winning and the remaining Schedule is extremely favorable compared to the rest of the undefeated teams. Back at home against Pittsburgh, the Fighting Irish were -21 point favorites with an over/under of 57 as of Tuesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The only downside to this matchup is that Pitt seems to ruins someone’s season almost every year. In 2017, Pitt took down Miami in the final regular-season Game and the year before that, it was Clemson, though it didn’t completely ruin their season. This is a perfect spot for another upset, but there are no signs showing that it’s even possible.
The Panthers are coming off a nice win against Syracuse, but that might be their only legit one. Their losses include a 45-point beat down by Penn State, 38-35 to UNC and then a 45-14 road contest at UCF. Notre Dame’s had an arguably tougher Schedule and has already beaten three ranked teams, though Stanford and Virginia Tech can’t be considered ranked anymore. Still, the Irish have one of the most balanced teams in the country since Ian Book took over at quarterback and he’s going to be a problem all Game for this Pitt defense.
The Panthers are getting destroyed by any relevant offense, allowing 420 yards and 32.8 points per contest. To go with nine touchdowns and only one pick, Book has led the Notre Dame offense to at least 38 points in every start and Pitt’s defense is more similar to Wake’s than VT or Stanford. That means Notre Dame could be looking at another 50-point outburst if all goes well. In addition to Book passing the ball, the Irish should run all over a Pitt team allowing 200 rushing yards per Game. Dexter Williams leads the team with 8.9 yards per rush, while Tony Jones and Jafar Armstrong are both over five yards per carry. If Notre Dame doesn’t reach 40 points, it’d be a surprise.
To cover this Game, Pittsburgh is looking at around 20 or 30 points and that’s a hard thing to bet on. They scored against UNC and Syracuse, but couldn’t do anything against better teams and Notre Dame is one of those better teams, allowing less than 20 points per Game. While they haven’t played an elite offense yet, Pitt doesn’t have one either with Kenny Pickett under center and his 6.20 yards per attempt. The only way the Panthers have a chance is if Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall both go off and while they’re averaging 6.5 yards per carry, it’s likely Notre Dame will stack the box and force Pickett to beat them. Even if Ollison and Hall get going, it’s asking a lot for them to top 20 points on a defense that’s giving up only 3.4 yards per carry.
The Panthers are 5-2 ATS against a team with a winning record, yet only 1-5-2 ATS in their last eight following a straight-up win. The Fighting Irish are 7-2 ATS in their last nine following an ATS win and 5-2 ATS in their last seven against the ACC. The underdog is 8-1-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these schools and the road team is 7-2-1 ATS in that period.
Our Pick – Notre Dame -21