The Louisville Cardinals, who are ranked 24th in the nation, will visit the Pittsburgh Panthers ranked 21st in the nation on Saturday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. Louisville has split its first two games of the regular season opening with a victory over Western Kentucky 35-21 and losing this past week to Miami 47-34. Quarterback Malik Cunningham is the catalyst on offense for the Cardinals.
Pittsburgh has opened the season with two consecutive victories. The Panthers routed Austin Peay 55-0 in the first game of the season and followed that with a mistake-filled 21-10 victory over the Syracuse Orange last Saturday. Pittsburgh has one of the best front sevens in all of college football. The offense sputtered against Syracuse in Week 2, but was saved by its defense and mistakes that the defense forced Syracuse to make.
Louisville falling short on defenseThe Louisville offense is averaging 34.5 points per game thanks to excellent play by quarterback Malik Cunningham who has thrown for 650 yards, six touchdowns and currently has a quarterback ranking of 71.5. Cunningham's favorite target through two games is wide receiver Tutu Atwell who has 15 receptions for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Javian Hawkins is carrying the load on the ground with 235 yards rushing on 46 carries with two touchdowns. The 325 yards passing per game Louisville averages is eighth in the nation while it's rushing average of 176.5 yards per game is 27th.
However, it's the defense that is letting the Cardinals down and why they are just 1-1 after 2 games and gave up 47 points to the Miami Hurricanes. Louisville is allowing 34.0 points per game which is 10th worst-in-the-nation. Overall, the Louisville team defense is ranked 43rd in the nation allowing an average of 139.5 yards per game on the ground and 227.0 yards per game through the air. The Cardinals are allowing an average of two touchdowns per game on the ground and two touchdowns per game through the air. The leading tackler for Louisville is linebacker Dorian Etheridge with 15.
Pittsburgh defense carrying more than its share of the loadThrough two weeks of the college football regular season the Pittsburgh Panthers defense is ranked 6th in the nation. The Panthers are allowing just 26 yards per game on the ground and just 128.0 yards per game through the air. The Pitt defense has yet to allow a rushing touchdown through two games played and is forcing an average of 2.5 turnovers per game. Opponents are scoring an average of just 5.0 points per game against Pitt. The leading tackler for Pitt is linebacker Cam Bright with nine.
The Pittsburgh offense is led by quarterback Kenny Pickett who has thrown for 492 yards and three touchdowns and has a quarterback rating of 80.1. Pickett's favorite target through two games is wide receiver DJ Turner who has seven receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown. On the ground, running back Vincent Davis has carried the ball 28 times for 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Panthers are averaging 137.0 yards rushing per game and 262.0 yards passing per game, which ranks them 38th and 21st respectively.
- Pittsburgh is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 games versus a team with a winning record
- The Panthers are 6-2 ATS in the last eight games at home versus a team with a winning road record
- Louisville is 4-11 ATS in the last 15 ACC games
- The Cardinals are 3-9 ATS in the last 12 games on the road
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Pittsburgh Panthers will be facing an above-average offense from the Louisville Cardinals but the Panthers have the sixth-best defense in the nation after two weeks. The Panthers are allowing just 26 yards per game on the ground and 126 yards per game through the air. Pittsburgh is also covering the spread in six of its last eight at home when playing against a team with a winning record on the road and 9 of the last 13 following a victory against the spread. Great defense stops above-average offenses.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Panthers -3
Full-Game Total Pick
This will be a clash of offense against defense. Louisville has an above-average offense led by quarterback Malik Cunningham, but will be facing one of the best front sevens in all of college football. The total has finished under in eight of Pittsburgh's last 10 when playing a team with a winning record and 14 of the Panthers last 19 overall. When playing head-to-head the total has finished under in five of the last seven games between the two.
Prediction: UNDER 54