College Football Updated Odds, Predictions, Picks: How to Bet Pitt vs. North Carolina (November 11)

College Football Updated Odds, Predictions, Picks: How to Bet Pitt vs. North Carolina (November 11) article feature image
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Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Kenny Pickett.

Pitt vs. North Carolina Odds

Thursday, Nov. 11
7:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Pitt Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-6.5
72
-115o / -105u
-240
North Carolina Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+6.5
72
-115o / -105u
+195
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Hope. That’s the most important thing any college sports fan can hold onto.

All mine was drained when my North Carolina squad dropped its opener at Virginia Tech in Week 1. But after last week’s thrilling win over a top-10 Wake Forest team, I’m all the way back in.

That is, until I realized Pitt — the leader of the ACC Coastal — is on the schedule this week. The Panthers come out of last week with a dominant win over lowly Duke.

This matchup will be a quarterback battle for the ages as North Carolina’s Sam Howell and Pitt’s Kenny Pickett are some of the most prolific quarterbacks in the nation.

Will UNC claw back its way to the top of the ACC Coastal? Or will Pitt strengthen its lead in the Coastal en route to the ACC Championship game? Let’s find out.


Pittsburgh Panthers

Kenny Pickett Leads Explosive Offense

It’s criminal that Pickett is not receiving serious consideration for the Heisman, as he’s silently having one of the best passing performances this season.

So far this season, Pickett has thrown for 3,171 yards, 29 touchdowns, and three interceptions at a completion percentage of 68.7%. He’s been the Energizer Bunny of this Pitt offense, leading the Panthers to a ranking of fourth in Pass Success.

They are one of the speediest and explosive teams in football. Ranking 22nd in plays per minute and fourth in big play, Pitt is the definition of a “pedal to the metal” style of play.

The Panthers should have no problem moving the ball against the UNC defense. Pickett will find himself with plenty of time in the pocket with a top-10 offensive line against a unit that fails to generate much of a pass rush.

With extra time to make the right read, the Pitt offense should continue to find success with scoring any time it passes the 40.

Pitt Should be Prepared for UNC’s Offense

With Pitt having one of the most high-powered passing attacks in football, its defense should be well-prepared for what’s to come this weekend.

The passing has taken a step back this season, but Howell is still the most lethal downfield passer on passes 20+ yards or more. This is a glaring weakness for Pitt, as it ranks 54th in defending big plays in comparison to UNC’s top-five ranking in the metric.

A correlation to the defense giving up big plays is its lack of tackling. Ranking near bottom in the nation at PFF Tackling at 109th, Pitt will need to limit extra yards on this explosive offense by wrapping up on first contact.


North Carolina Tar Heels

Ground Game Leads North Carolina Offense

Last week’s game against Wake Forest is what I imagine when any gamer plays my two nephews in Madden when they don’t know the controls — video game numbers.

Sam Howell is building back up his case to be a top quarterback pick in next year’s NFL Draft after a 216-yard, one-touchdown performance. While not the most impressive passing game, he also added 104 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

While UNC was one of the greatest passing units in football last year, it’s a different story this season.

The Heels boast one of the best rushing units in football, ranking fourth in Rush Success and 12th in Line Yards. They rely on stud running back Ty Chandler, who has 884 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season.

If North Carolina wants to find any success against this vaunted defense, then it will need to take care of the ball. Constantly shooting itself in the foot all season, UNC ranks 106th in Havoc Allowed. In not-great news for the Tar Heels, Pitt ranks 17th in Havoc.

Tar Heel Defense Trending Down

North Carolina backers be warned, this defense is bad. Very bad.

Ranking on the wrong side of 50 in every defensive metric, the UNC defense has been torn to shreds every weekend.

The secondary is due for another long night, as Pitt comes in with one of the most efficient passing attacks in football. This is an area the UNC defense struggles mightily in, ranking 54th in Def. Pass Success and 109th in Pass Rush.

If North Carolina wants any realistic chance to win this game, it will need to get to Pickett early and often. If it can’t, that might be all she wrote, as the Tar Heels generate little to no Havoc while allowing teams to score at will once they get past UNC’s 40.

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Pitt vs. North Carolina Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how North Carolina and Pitt match up statistically:

North Carolina Offense vs. Pitt Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 4 29
Line Yards 12 19
Pass Success 53 34
Pass Blocking** 32 64
Big Play 5 54
Havoc 106 17
Finishing Drives 20 38
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pitt Offense vs. North Carolina Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 52 95
Line Yards 60 73
Pass Success 4 54
Pass Blocking** 8 109
Big Play 4 66
Havoc 17 105
Finishing Drives 4 104
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 60 109
Coverage 94 83
Middle 8 109 1
SP+ Special Teams 67 27
Plays per Minute 56 22
Rush Rate 57.2% (50) 49.3% (104)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Pitt vs. North Carolina Betting Pick

North Carolina at home and away is as clear as night and day. It simply does not perform on the road, a trend that I expect to continue.

We may witness another track meet-type shootout, as both offenses are some of the best in the nation with some glaring weaknesses on defense.

I give the edge to Pitt, as it possesses a better ability to stop the opposing offense. Pickett is expected to have another big game, receiving extra time in the pocket behind his top-10 offensive line to exploit the horrific UNC defense.

If Pitt can generate pressure and get to Howell early and force UNC to make mistakes, then it will find itself firmly in position to win this game.

I grabbed Pitt on the opener at -5 and would play this no higher than -6.5.

Pick: Pitt -5 (Play to -6.5)

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