The week 11 North Carolina at Pittsburgh matchup looks like some points are going to be scored with an O/U of 72 points. We’ve got two of the best QBs in the ACC squaring when Sam Howell leads the Tar Heels to Heinz Field to meet up with Kenny Pickett and the Panthers.
UNC is in a tough letdown spot, outlasting Wake Forest 58-55 last week to give the Demon Deacons their first loss of the season. That’s great offense from the Tar Heels, but giving up 55 points is problematic as well. Pitt put up 54 points in a win over Duke last week so there’s going to be some scoring in this one.
UNC’s Offense Can Keep Them In This
North Carolina QB Sam Howell had his hopes on a Heisman Trophy run before the season started after throwing for 68 TDs in his first two seasons. Howell started off the year living up to the hype going for 300+ yards passing in four of the first five, but he’s been limited to 216 or less in three of the last four.
Many would assume that Howell had a huge game in a 58-55 home win over Wake Forest last weekend which barely covered the -2.5 spread, but he was just 16/26 for 216 yards with a TD. It’s not that Howell had a down game, just that the UNC rushing game was on point with 330 yards on 52 carries.
Howell has the potential to light things up in each and every game, but they’re dangerous because Ty Chandler had 213 yards rushing and 4 TD while Howell added 104 yards and 2 TD on the ground. Pitt does have the #2 rush defense in the ACC though giving up 107.1 ypg on the ground.
Another Statement Game for Pickett
Kenny Pickett has a great opportunity to outduel Howell in a nationally televised game on ESPN. The Senior has really stepped up his game this season with 29 TDs against just 3 INT. Pickett had posted a career high of 13 TD passes the last three seasons so he’s really come into his own this year.
Pickett has erupted all season, but especially the last two games with 935 yards passing and 6 TDs. Pickett has six 300+ yard games in his last seven total, putting up the numbers that UNC’s Howell is used to having. The Panthers also had 222 yards rushing last week against Duke, so they’re just as potent as the Tar Heels offense.
North Carolina has the 2nd worst scoring defense in the ACC giving up 33.4 ppg, and are 10th vs. the run allowing 80.9 ppg.
Week 11 North Carolina at Pitt Pick
These offenses basically seem like a wash, both have experienced QBs that can take over a game as well as a running game that can support them. The Panthers are -6.5 favorites at home in this one which seems high, but Pittsburgh is at home and have the better defense in this matchup.
Ultimately, the line being on the high side does favor Pittsburgh a bit as the betting public are liking North Carolina and the points. The Tar Heels had a big win in handing Wake Forest their first loss last week, but that also leaves them susceptible to a letdown on the short week.
Pitt 48 – North Carolina 35
Free Pick: Pitt -6.5