College Football Predictions: Miami at Pitt Odds for Betting and Picks
by Alan Matthews - 9/23/2010
An old Big East rivalry is renewed for the first time since Miami left for the ACC when the No. 19 Hurricanes visit Pitt on Thursday night. And really both teams – and both struggling conferences – could use a nice nonconference win such as this one.
The Panthers laid an egg in their premier nonconference game to date, losing 27-24 at Utah. Nobody can know if they fixed what was wrong considering they beat up on New Hampshire on Sept. 11. Pitt has lost arguably the Big East’s defensive player in Greg Romeus, who didn’t play in the second game after being ineffective in the opener against the Utes. He has had surgery on a lower disc in his back and could be done for the year.
The Hurricanes once had national title aspirations, but those ended in a 36-24 loss at Ohio State on Sept. 11. Jacory Harris’ 2009 interception problems returned as he threw four against the Buckeyes, including one OSU’s Cameron Heyward returned 80 yards when Miami appeared set to close the gap to 26-24 in the third quarter. The Hurricanes’ kick-return game, however, was spectacular in that game.
One interesting side note here is that Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt was the defensive coordinator for Miami from 1986-88, a three-year stretch that saw the Hurricanes go 34-2. One of his players was current Miami coach Randy Shannon, who was a linebacker at the school from 1984-88.
College football predictions: Team breakdowns
Harris was 22-for-39 for 232 yards with four interceptions and one TD against the Buckeyes. Those four picks led to 20 Ohio State points. And before the Ohio State game, Harris had gone a career-high three consecutive starts without throwing an interception, dating back to last season. But also dating to last year, Harris has five touchdowns and 12 interceptions in the Hurricanes' last five losses.
But that Ohio State result is misleading as UM receivers dropped nine passes. One was in the end zone, another was on the two-yard line, and another on the three-yard line. And UM coaches have backed their QB, admitting that three of the interceptions weren’t really Harris’ fault.
Pitt’s offensive line, with three new starters, is struggling so far this year. Running back Dion Lewis, who broke the school freshman rushing record last season by running for 1,799 yards on the way to being named Big East Offensive Player of the Year, was held to 75 yards in the opener against Utah and a career-low 27 yards against New Hampshire. He is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry.
That O-Line could have issues against a Miami defense that leads the country with an average of 12.5 tackles for a loss per game. However, the Canes did allow 181 yards rushing to Ohio State.
Miami at Pittsburgh betting odds
The Hurricanes are 3.5-point favorites with the total at 50.5. Currently about 70 percent of the lean is on Miami. This line moved a half-point at nearly every book early in the week – down to 3.0, and then back where it is. The total, however, has taken a precipitous drop, as much as five points from its opening at some books.
Miami at Pittsburgh betting trends
Miami is 7-3 ATS in its past 10 non-conference games
Pitt is 7-3 ATS in its past 10 at home
The ‘under’ is 10-4 in Miami’s past 14 Thursday games
The ‘under’ is 10-4 in Pitt’s last 14 home games
Miami at Pittsburgh Betting Predictions and College Football Picks
Pitt has beaten Miami just once in 15 meetings since 1984. Miami has won 32 consecutive games against unranked conference opponents. Pitt is 1-10 against ranked nonconference opponents since 1996.
Those seem like pretty telling trends. Defenses don’t really respect new Pitt QB Tino Sunseri yet, so they are stacking the box to stop Lewis. UM will do the same, and I can’t see Sunseri doing enough to pull the upset. Expect a Miami win by a touchdown but the game to go ‘under’ the posted total.
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