NCAAF Betting: Notre Dame Heads to Pittsburgh on Week 10

Posted by Aaron . on November 6, 2015 in

The Fighting Irish football schedule has had a gauntlet of tough road games waiting of it for some years. They opened that stretch by barely surviving then-undefeated Temple in Philadelphia. They go back to Pennsylvania this weekend (albeit the opposite end) when they take on the Pittsburgh Panthers in one of the hottest games programmed for the coming NCAAF Betting weekend.

Date/Time: Saturday, November 7, 12:00 PM
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: ABC
Radio: 93.7 FM The Fan
Game Odds: -8½

Irish Look to Improve Its Playoff Chances Against the Panthers

Pitt had climbed up to #23 in the AP rankings but fell out again after they lost at home to North Carolina, 26-19, on Thursday. Pitt is now 6-2 and would love to knock off #8 Notre Dame (7-1), which does not want any more blemishes on the resume heading into the playoffs. Notre Dame faces now-#9 Stanford at home. As Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly told The Bleacher Report, “October is for pretenders, and November will be for contenders.” Kelly had said that before right before the Fighting Irish came to Pittsburgh a couple of years ago. The Irish had been 7-2 but were on the outside realm of possibility for a BCS bowl berth. However, Pitt won that night, 28-21. Before that, Notre Dame had gone 11-1 during the setback.

It’s worth pointing out that, of the last six matchups in the series between the two teams, no game has gone longer than an hour and a half or so. The first key for Notre Dame to win is converting trips into the end zone into touchdowns. Against Temple, Notre Dame had two key interceptions in the red zone that let the Owls remain in the game far longer than they would have otherwise. Notre Dame needs to eliminate the red zone turnovers if they want to advance far in the College Football Playoff – or even get there. As Kelly put it, “You can’t go down there twice and come out with no points.” Notre Dame is #99 in the nation in red-zone conversions.

Notre Dame NCAAF

Notre Dame also needs to figure out how to defend against the big play. Huge plays have killed the Irish defense all season. Temple tailback Johad Thomas did grab a 39-yard gallop, but Notre Dame stonewalled him fairly effectively the rest of the way. Pitt ranks #91 in the nation in total offense, averaging 365  yards per game.

Pitt ranks #91 in the nation in total offense, gaining 364.9 yards each game, and they rank #89 in their scoring calculus. The Panthers have 91 plays that go at least 10 yards from scrimmage, one of the lower FBS totals (tied for 114th, in effect). Star receiver Tyler Boyd has the ability to make huge plays but is only averaging 9.2 yard per catch and only has four receiving touchdowns all season.

Pittsburgh Panthers

College Football Betting Odds Trends

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

So expect Notre Dame to continue winning against Pitt this week. There are simply too many things for us to fit comfortably in an area like that. I’d stay away from the over-under, though, because I don’t know exactly how much of the defensive burden Pitt will be able to handle.