[12:30 PM] Pittsburgh @ Virginia

Who will WIN this matchup?

Pittsburgh Panthers (4-2)

@ Virginia Cavaliers (2-3)


Current odds:

Pittsburgh Panthers: (-175)

Virginia Cavaliers: (+155)


ESPN simulations have Virginia as XX% favorites to cover the spread.

XX% of sports bets are currently on Pittsburgh to win as (TBD) underdogs.

The line for this game is Pittsburgh by 3 points.

Thanks in large part to the right arm of record-setting Kurt Benkert, Virginia’s offense is starting to roll. With a struggling Pittsburgh defense coming to town Saturday for Homecoming, the Cavaliers and first-year coach Bronco Mendenhall return from the bye week in search of their first three-game winning streak since 2011.

In the Panthers’ fifth straight nail-biter last week, tight end Scott Orndoff turned a tipped pass into a 74-yard TD with under four minutes left and kicker Chris Blewitt banked in a field goal off the upright from 31 yards out as time expired to provide the win. Quarterback Nathan Peterman (65 completion percentage, 1,115 yards, nine TDs, two interceptions) and versatile Quadree Henderson (second in FBS with 1,046 all-purpose yards) are having strong seasons while star back James Conner (441 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, five TDs) is not having the type of year he had in 2014 (1,765 yards, 5.9, 26) prior to knee surgery and lymphoma. The depleted defense, which is down four starters due to injury, has been getting an All-American season from defensive end Ejuan Price (FBS-bests 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss), while the team is tied for first in the conference with 3.5 sacks per game and 10th nationally in rushing yards allowed (98.3).

The Cavaliers’ defense chipped in against Duke by tying a school record with five interceptions, including two apiece by defensive backs Bryce Hall and Juan Thornhill. Linebacker Micah Kiser is leading the ACC and tied for third in the nation in tackles per game (11.6), while safety Quin Blanding (9.2) ranks sixth in the conference despite playing most of the season with an injured leg. Running backs Albert Reid (318 yards, 5.4 yards per carry, four TDs) and Taquan Mizzell (260, 5.0, two) split carries, while wideouts Olamide Zaccheaus and Keeon Johnson have combined for 52 catches, 604 yards and seven scores.

Pittsburgh leads the all-time series by a 5-3 margin, including wins in two of three since joining the ACC in 2013.

Peterman threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns in last season’s 26-19 home win over Virginia and Orndoff hauled in a 37-yard TD pass to open the scoring.

Mizzell has a reception in 38 straight games, which is tied for the fourth-longest streak in the nation.


StreakSmarts Pick: Virginia Cavilers

Confidence: 4/10

StreakSmarter Pick