The Miami Hurricanes are just two wins away from playing in the College Football Playoff. Up first, is a game against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Kickoff is set for noon EST on Friday, November 24 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The game will be nationally televised on ABC.

The Hurricanes enter the game as 14-point favorites on the road. The over/under is set at 50 points. Click here for a full list of Week 13 betting odds and links to game previews.

Miami vs Pittsburgh Game Preview & Betting Odds

The no. 3 Hurricanes have already clinched the ACC Coastal division and a spot in the ACC Championship Game next week. However, one loss, especially against a team with a losing record, could knock them out of the top-4 and prevent them from reaching the Playoff. 

At times this season, the Hurricanes have played down to their competition level. That was the case again last week, as Miami trailed Virginia 28-14 in the 3rd quarter before coming back to win comfortably. They definitely don’t want to do that this week against a Pitt team that has nothing to lose.

The Panthers lost any hope of reaching a bowl game after losing to Virginia Tech last week. Of course, Pitt would love nothing more than to play spoiler against their old Big East rivals. Remember, the Panthers knocked off Clemson last year and nearly cost them a playoff spot. They could potentially do the same to Miami this year.

Free College Football Against the Spread Pick: Miami -14

It’s been difficult to trust Miami to cover a spread like this against an inferior team this year. The Hurricanes are undefeated, but they don’t always make it easy for themselves. That being said, Mark Richt’s team will see the finish line and know that they have to start fast and put Pitt away early. I’ll take my chances on Miami being able to cover a two-touchdown spread.

Much of my faith in Miami this week relates to a lack of faith in Pitt. The Panthers made a valiant stand to keep their bowl hopes alive last week against Virginia Tech but came up a little short. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi has already mentioned getting younger players more involved this week. If the Panthers are already looking ahead toward next year, it swings the game even more in Miami’s favor.

Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.

True freshman Kenny Pickett may even get the start at quarterback for the Panthers. Pickett may end up being a good college quarterback, but he’d probably be better off not seeing Miami’s defense in his first start. With every member of the Miami defense hungry to wear the turnover chain, the Hurricanes could eat a true freshman quarterback alive.

Aside from no longer playing for a bowl bid, the other thing that concerns me about Pitt is their inability to run the ball last week against Virginia Tech. The Panthers managed just 1.8 yards per carry on the ground. To be fair, the Hokies are a quality defensive team. Of course, so is Miami. No matter who plays quarterback for the Panthers, they aren’t going to get anywhere offensively against the Hurricanes if they can’t run the ball consistently.

With both teams coming off a short week, I just don’t see the Panthers having the motivation to upset Miami and ruin their season. I can see Pitt being emotionally drained after a close loss last week and already looking ahead to next season. Recent history tells me the Hurricanes will play down to their competition and struggle to cover the spread. But I’ll take my chances on Miami finally blowing out an inferior opponent this week.