The Pitt Panthers (1-2) host the #15 overall UCF Knights (3-0) this weekend in Pittsburgh. Kickoff is set for 3:30 PM EST on Saturday, September 21st at Heinz Field and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
Taking a look at the Week 4 college football odds, UCF opened as a 10-point road favorite earlier this week. That line has increased by three and a half points after early betting, as the Knights are currently listed at -13.5. The total for the game is sitting at 57.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Pittsburgh vs UCF
UCF remains undefeated on the season through three games, most recently taking down Stanford 45-27 in Week 3. The Knights offense exploded in the first quarter, scoring four touchdowns to put the game out of reach early. QB Dillon Gabriel was fantastic, going 22/30 for 347 yards and four touchdowns. RB Greg McCrae also had a monster game, rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries. UCF also received contributions from four separate players in the passing game, as Tre Nixon, Marlon Williams, Gabriel Davis, and Jake Hescock all found the end zone. As a whole, the offense racked up over 550 total yards and scored six touchdowns against a shell-shocked Cardinal defense.
The Knights defense was pretty solid for the most part, as Stanford scored only 10 points through the first three quarters of the game. While UCF did surrender 17 points over the final fifteen minutes of action, the game was basically already over with the Cardinal trailing by four touchdowns.
Pittsburgh dropped back below the .500 mark last weekend, losing a close 17-10 decision to #13 overall Penn State on the road despite being tied at the half. The Panthers fought hard and gave themselves a shot to pull off the upset before coming up just short in the fourth quarter. QB Kenny Pickett was very busy, going 35/51 for 372 yards despite failing to find the end zone. Pittsburgh hardly moved the ball on the ground at all against the Nittany Lions, as they had only 24 total rushing attempts. WR Taysir Mack tormented Penn State all game long, making a game-high 12 receptions for 125 yards.
The Panthers defense was fantastic in Week 3, holding Penn State to well under 400 yards of total offense and just two touchdowns. Pitt was especially strong against the pass, limiting Nittany Lions QB Sean Clifford to only 222 passing yards and zero touchdowns on a 47% completion rate.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Pittsburgh +13.5
When UCF opened at -10 earlier this week, I really liked the Knights side of this matchup. However, this line has moved so far the other way that I think that the Panthers now offer the better value. Pitt has had an extremely tough schedule to open the regular season, facing Virginia, Ohio, and Penn State. While they didn’t look all that impressive in Week 1 at home against the Cavaliers, they really showed a ton of heart in Week 3 against a very skilled Nittany Lions squad. In fact, Penn State is currently ranked two spots higher than UCF is in terms of the AP Top 25. While I certainly think that the Knights will move to 4-0 overall and remain undefeated, laying almost two full touchdowns on the road against a tough defense seems like a pretty risky proposition to me.
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It is also worth noting that the Panthers are a perfect 4-0 ATS over their last four non-conference games. They are also a very solid 7-2 ATS in their last nine matchups against opponents with a winning record. Finally, Pitt is also 5-1 ATS over their last six home games against teams with a winning road record. I’m expecting all of those trends to continue on Saturday, especially considering how much easier the Knights schedule has been to start the season. While their win over Stanford last weekend was pretty impressive, the Cardinal have been horrific defensively this season. Even if Pittsburgh comes up short at home this weekend, I think they will manage to stay within two touchdowns of this powerful Knights offense. Give me the Panthers!