It might be a trendy play to take the road team in the NCAA week 9 Miami at Pittsburgh free pick. The Hurricanes come into Heinz Field with two stunning defeats in their last three games though. Pittsburgh meanwhile is starting to get some national love with a 4 game win streak and back-to-back conference road victories. The Panthers are a -4 favorite Saturday morning, too many or not enough points?
Miami Has Blown Their Season Last Three Weeks
Maybe being an underdog in the NCAA week 9 Miami at Pittsburgh free pick is what the Hurricanes need. Being favored in games sure hasn’t worked in the month of October. On 10/5, the ‘Canes lost a 35-42 game to Virginia Tech as -14 home favorites. Last week things got even worse with a 21-28 loss to Georgia Tech when Miami was a -18 favorite at Hard Rock Stadium.
Miami does have a 17-9 win over Virginia mixed in there though. That win is Miami’s only victory when they weren’t 30+ point favorites as they were vs. Central Michigan (W 17-12) and Bethune Cookman (W 63-0). Another thing working against Miami on Saturday afternoon is that it’s their first road game since a September 7th visit to North Carolina. Even the season opener against Florida (L 20-24) was at a neutral site in Orlando so Miami has only played one true road game this season.
Miami’s defense will need to stop Pitt’s #36 pass offense on Saturday afternoon. That hasn’t been the problem in their two losses over the last 3 games as VT threw for just 138 and Georgia Tech 184. Against the Hokies, Miami threw 4 INTs while the Yellow Jackets had two 30+ yard passing TDs as well as a fumble recovery in the end zone. A bounce here or there and UM could easily be riding a 5-game win streak. The good news is that they will have starting QB N’Kosi Perry on Saturday (prob-shoulder) as he has big game potential with 422 yards passing vs. VT.
Pittsburgh Looks to Stay Hot
Unlike Miami, Pittsburgh has controlled their destiny over the last month, getting victories at Duke (W 33-30 as +3.5) and Syracuse (W 27-20 as -3.5) with a bye week mixed in. The Panthers come into the NCAA week 9 Miami at Pittsburgh free pick having won 5 of the last 6, with a 10-17 loss at #6 Penn State being their only blemish.
The Hurricanes got revenge in this meeting last year, winning 24-3 at home as -6 favorites. The Miami defense held the Panthers to 200 yards of total offense as the ‘Canes ran for 293. What is interesting is that Miami QB Perry was just 6/24 for 52 yards in that game. The reason last year’s contest was a revenge game for Miami was because in 2017 Pitt scored a 24-14 as 12 point home underdogs. The Hurricanes were 10-0 and ranked #2 in the country at the time.
Kenny Pickett guided that 2017 win as freshman quarterback, even though he had just 193 yards and a TD. Pickett threw for 372 in the Penn State loss and had 230+ in each of the last two games (which were on the road) while throwing 5 TD to 2 INT. Miami has a top 20 defense though which is 14th nationally vs. the run. Pitt is going to be very one-dimensional on offense today.
NCAA Week 9 Miami at Pittsburgh Free Pick
If Miami can avoid the mistakes that have doomed them in 2 of the last 3 games, they’ll have a great chance at the outright win (ML +166). It’s just that the Hurricanes offense is so bad though. The Miami defense will keep them in this one though, making it a low scoring game.
Pick: Miami @ Pittsburgh *Under* 43