The #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will aim for their seventh consecutive victory when they host the Pittsburgh Panthers in week seven action Saturday afternoon from Notre Dame Stadium. The Panthers are coming off a solid 44-37 overtime home win against Syracuse, and the Fighting Irish handled Virginia Tech 45-23 last week. These teams last met in 2015 in a game the Fighting Irish won 42-30.
Panthers Snap Two Game Skid with OT Win vs. Orange
The Pittsburgh Panthers head into this challenging matchup aiming for their third ACC win after registering a 44-37 OT home win against Syracuse last week. Kenny Pickett registered 137 passing yards with one TD. The sophomore QB hasn’t stood out this season, completing only 61% of his passes, and he has 880 passing yards with a 6:5 TD to INT ratio on the season. Panthers’ leading rusher Qadree Ollison is one to watch in this one. The talented senior RB accumulated 192 rushing yards against Syracuse last week, and he has racked up 596 rushing yards on the year. Pittsburgh’s top receiver Taysir Mack sat out against Syracuse last week with a lower-body injury, and he is questionable for this one. Mack has notched 265 receiving yards in five games this season. The Panthers offense relies heavily on their running game to generate a significant portion of their offense, and they will need increased production from their weak passing game going forward.
✅ Homecoming Win
🎥 Game Highlights 🎥
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) October 6, 2018
The Panthers defense has not been effective this season. They are allowing an average of 422.8 total yards per game, ranking them down at 97th overall, although they did limit Syracuse to 384 total yards last week. Pittsburgh has improved to 2-1 in conference play with their first ACC win a 24-19 triumph over Georgia Tech. They are now averaging 26 points, ranking them 93rd overall. The Panthers defense is allowing an average of 32.8 points, positioning them 99th in the country.
Fighting Irish Rout Hokies to Improve to 6-0
The red-hot #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish are looking very tough to beat, winning all six games which included a convincing 45-23 road win against Virginia Tech last week. Ian Book continued his strong play with 271 passing yards and two TDs. The junior QB has taken over as the #1 QB and he has excelled, accumulating 887 passing yards with a 9:1 TD to INT ratio. The Fighting Irish feature multiple running backs that can do damage including Tony Jones Jr. The junior RB only saw two carries against VA Tech last week due to a sore ankle, and he has tallied 302 rushing yards on an average of 5.2 yards per carry. Notre Dame’s leading receiver Miles Boykin collected 117 receiving yards against VA Tech last week, and the talented senior WR has notched 428 yards on the season. The Fighting Irish’ offense has scored at least 38 points in three consecutive games led by a balanced attack from their passing and rushing offense.
🛣 games, no problem.
— The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) October 7, 2018
The Notre Dame defense has consistently neutralized their opponents this season. They limited VA Tech to only 23 points last week, and they also held the Wolverines to 17 points in week one. The Fighting Irish rush defense has been exceptionally sharp, while they are below average against the pass, ranking 72nd in the FBS. Notre Dame is scoring an average of 34.8 points, ranking them 40th overall. They are limiting opponents to 19.5 points, pegging them 27th in the FBS.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are:
- 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
- 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games following an ATS win.
The Pittsburgh Panthers are:
- 6-19-1 ATS in their last 26 conference games.
- 1-5-2 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up win.
- over is 15-6-2 ATS in their last 23 games following an ATS win.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am taking Notre Dame in this matchup. Notre Dame has steamrolled their competition recently, winning by at least 21 points in three straight games which included a 45-23 win at Virginia Tech last week. This is not an ideal matchup for the Pittsburgh offense. They rely on their running game to generate offense, and Notre Dame features a strong rush defense that is holding opponents to only 127.8 rushing yards per game.
Furthermore, the Pittsburgh defense is struggling to defend the run, conceding an average of 198.8 rushing yards per game, and Notre Dame is averaging 196.3 rushing yards per game with three running backs that can do damage. The Panthers defense ranks near the bottom of the FBS in multiple categories, and the Fighting Irish should pour on the points.
Prediction: Notre Dame Fighting Irish -21
Full-Game Total Pick
The over is worth a look in this matchup. Pittsburgh has surrendered at least 37 points in three consecutive games, and they are squandering an average of 422.8 total yards per game, so I anticipate a big afternoon from the Fighting Irish, plus the over is 4-1 in Notre’ Dame’s last five games following a straight up win of more than 20 points. In addition, the Panthers have shown some life offensively, averaging 31 points in their last three games, and the over is 10-4 in their last 14 games following a straight up win.
Prediction: Over 54
Full-Game Prop Bet
I am taking the over on the Fighting Irish team total. The Pittsburgh defense is in for a rough afternoon. They surrendered 51 points to Penn State in week two, and 37 points to Syracuse last week. Notre Dame has found a rhythm on offense, averaging a sizzling 46.3 points in their last three games.
Prediction: Notre Dame Team Total: Over 38.5
Half-Time Side Pick
I am taking the points with Pittsburgh in the first half. The Panthers are productive in the first half, averaging a solid 16.4 points. They struggled in the second half where they are only averaging 6.8 points, and I expect the Fighting Irish to take control in the second half of this one.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Panthers +12
Half-Time Total Bet
The over on the halftime total is a solid play. Notre Dame has consistently put up points in both halves this season, and they are averaging a stellar 19.5 points in the opening half. As mentioned Pittsburgh is averaging 16.4 points in the first half, and 17.5 points on the road in the first half this season.
Prediction: Over 28
Half-Time Prop Prediction
I am taking the Fighting Irish to score first in the form of a touchdown on the six-way line. Notre Dame has been very effective in the opening quarter, averaging 10.3 points, plus they have scored first with a touchdown in two of their three home games. Also, the Panthers rank down at 94th in the country with an average of 8.4 points against in the first quarter.
Prediction: First Scoring Method 6-Way: Notre Dame Touchdown