Pittsburgh at Connecticut Spread
The Connecticut Huskies (3-6) host the Pittsburgh Panthers (4-5) Friday night in Big East Conference action. Oddsmakers have listed Pittsburgh as a 3.5-point favorite.
Why Pittsburgh Covers
Since opening the season with a pair of duds against Youngstown State and Cincinnati, the Panthers have been a quality investment. They are 5-1-1 against the spread in their last seven games and easily covered as a 16.5-point underdog at Notre Dame last week.
Connecticut has gone the other way since winning three of its first five. It has lost each of its last four games by an average of 14.0 points and is 0-5-1 against the spread in its last six games.
The fact Pitt checks in off a straight up loss bodes well for backers. That’s because it is 17-5 against the spread in its last 22 games following a defeat. It is also on a 3-0-1 against the spread run following a game in which it covered the number.
It is also worth noting that the Panthers are 4-1-1 against the spread in their last six road games, 9-1-2 against the spread in their last 12 games versus a team with a losing record, 6-2-1 against the spread in their last nine Friday games and 19-7-1 against the number in their last 27 conference games.
Connecticut, meanwhile, is 0-4-1 against the spread in its last five conference games and 0-4-2 against the spread in its last six versus a team with a losing record.
Connecticut is one of the worst offensive teams in the nation. It ranks 120th in scoring with just 16.6 points per game. It is 113th in total offense with 317.9 yards per game.
The Huskies likely won’t get anything easy against a respectable Pittsburgh stop unit that ranks 37th in total defense (360.1 yards allowed per game) and 39th in scoring defense (22.6 points allowed per game).
Why Connecticut Covers
Pittsburgh is just 1-3 in conference play and 0-2 in conference road games. It is 1-3 in all road games this season.
Pitt’s losing road mark is significant because the Huskies are 13-4 against the number in their last 17 home games versus a team that has a losing road record.
Connecticut fell 13-6 at South Florida last week, but it is 38-18-1 against the spread in its last 57 games following a loss and 19-6-1 against the spread in its last 26 games after being held to 20 points or fewer.
The Huskies have been competitive at home where they are 2-2. Each loss came by just three points.
The fact they’ve been at their best at home this season should come as no surprise. That’s long been the case. They are an impressive 31-15-1 against the spread in their last 47 home games.
While the offense has struggled, the defense has kept UConn in just about every game. The Huskies rank ninth in the nation in total defense with 290.2 yards allowed per contest and 21st in scoring defense with 18.6 points allowed per game.
The Panthers have relied on their 42nd-ranked passing game (268.4 ypg) to move the football, but they could struggle to get much done through the air against a defense that ranks 14th nationally with only 176.0 passing yards allowed per game.
The Huskies have been pretty tough on the run too. They rank 22nd with 114.2 yards allowed per game.
The underdog has covered the spread in five of the last six meetings.