- North Carolina visits Pittsburgh in Week 12 (Thursday, Nov. 14)
- The Tar Heels have dominated this series historically
- How should you bet on UNC vs Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh will be looking to end a six-game losing streak to UNC when they host the Tar Heels on Thursday. The Panthers are being listed as 4-point favorites at Heinz Field.
Both teams are coming off bye weeks, but Pittsburgh has the better record this season and has a dominant defense.
How should you bet on the North Carolina vs Pitt odds?
North Carolina vs Pittsburgh Odds
|Team||Spread at Bovada||Moneyline||Total|
|North Carolina||+4.0 (-110)||+160||O 50.5 (-105)|
|Pittsburgh||-4.0 (-110)||-180||U 50.5 (-115)|
Odds taken Nov. 13
Pittsburgh is 6-3 on the season and still has a chance at winning the ACC Coastal Division as long as they run the table. The Panthers have won five of their last six games due to strong defensive play. They had a bye in Week 11 after beating Georgia Tech 20-10 the prior week.
Great job yesterday. On to UNC! Hail to Pitt ! pic.twitter.com/CLLeEPXVx1
— Pat Narduzzi (@CoachDuzzPittFB) November 3, 2019
The Tar Heels also had a bye in Week 11 after losing 38-31 to Virginia in Week 10. UNC is 4-5 on the season and can no longer win the division. They can still gain bowl eligibility by winning two of their remaining three games.
UNC Has Dominated Series
Despite North Carolina coming off consecutive nine-loss seasons, they’ve dominated Pittsburgh in recent years. The Tar Heels have won six straight games against the Panthers, including a 38-35 victory last season.
While the Tar Heels appears to have Pittsburgh’s number, these games have been played very closely. The last three games have been decided by three points or less, while neither team has beat the other by more than a touchdown since UNC won 29-10 in 1998.
Pittsburgh Has Elite Defense
Pittsburgh is favored in this game due to their elite defense. The Panthers have one of the best defensive lines in the country and rank second nationally with 40 sacks. They have several weapons on their defensive line, including Patrick Jones II, Jaylen Twyman, and Kylan Johnson, who each have at least six sacks.
Pitt is currently in the midst of its best 5-game defensive stretch since the end of the 2001 season.
Delaware – 170 yards
Duke – 288 yards
Syracuse – 328 yards
Miami – 208 yards
Georgia Tech – 194 yards
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) November 5, 2019
Pittsburgh’s dominant defense is going to pose a real problem for the Tar Heels. UNC’s offensive line hasn’t done a good job protecting quarterback Sam Howell this season, as they rank 119th with 3.22 sacks allowed per game.
Not only does Pittsburgh put loads of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but they also have the seventh-best rush defense in the country. The Panthers are allowing just 85.9 rushing yards per game and will provide a big challenge for a UNC team that has relied on their run game all year.
UNC Has Vulnerable Secondary
The Tar Heels enter this matchup with the better overall offense, but Pittsburgh can win and cover the spread by taking advantage of North Carolina’s weak secondary. The Tar Heels are allowing 234.9 yards in the air per game and are dealing with injuries to several key players.
UNC DB Storm Duck headed to locker room. Carolina can’t catch a break with injuries in the secondary.
— Taylor Vippolis (@tvippolis) October 26, 2019
Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett has two talented receiving targets in Maurice Ffrench and Taysir Mack, who can taken advantage of UNC’s young and depleted defensive secondary. Pittsburgh’s pass offense has been shutdown by elite defensive teams, but we’ve seen their potential in wins over UCF and Duke.
The Panthers have a much better secondary that is allowing just 194.3 yards per game. Given how good their rush defense has been, Pittsburgh can win this game by making big plays in the air.
Pittsburgh’s dominant defensive line is a big reason why the Panthers should win and cover the spread against the Tar Heels. They’ll take advantage of UNC’s lacklustre offensive line and create chaos for QB Sam Howell.
Pittsburgh should also win the battle in the air and rely on their elite rush defense to shutdown UNC on the ground.
Expect a big game from Pittsburgh’s defense and QB Pickett to help the Panthers snap their six-game losing streak to North Carolina.
Pick: Pittsburgh (-4)
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