Free College Football Pick: Louisville at Pittsburgh

Nov 19, 2015


My math model actually favors Louisville in this college football game, and the Cardinals are a profitable 26-10 ATS in their last 36 road games, including 19-7 ATS versus teams with a winning home record. Louisville takes the field with a very good defense that is allowing 22.3 points and 311 total yards per gamer at 4.7 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.4 yards per play against a mediocre defensive squad. Over its last three games, Louisville has limited opponents to a mere 302 total yards at 4.4 yards per play so they arrive in Pittsburgh in excellent form.

Pittsburgh is 0-4 ATS at home this season and possesses a pedestrian offense that is averaging 5.6 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.6 yards per play. The Panthers ground attack has been subpar this season, averaging 4.4 yards per rush attempt against teams that would combine to allow 4.5 yards per carry.

That is bad news for the Panthers as they now go up against an elite Louisville front seven that has been an incredible 1.2 yards per rush play better than average against the run (3.1 yards per rush attempt to teams that would combine to average 4.3 yards per rush attempt).

Pittsburgh will also have a difficult time moving the chains through the air against a very good Cardinal secondary that has limited opposing quarterbacks to a 49.1% completion rate at 6.2 yards per pass attempt over its last three games. Overall, Louisville’s stout defense possesses a significant 0.7 yards per play advantage from the line of scrimmage over the Panthers’ mediocre attack. The issue for Pittsburgh has been a declining stop unit that is yielding 409 yards per game at 6.3 yards per play at home and 414 yards at 6.5 yards per play over the last three games.

While Pittsburgh’s defense appears to be in decline, the Cardinals’ offense is surging over the last three weeks. Specifically, Louisville is averaging 33.0 points and 440 total yards per game at 6.6 yards per play over that span. Louisville’s aerial attack has been the most impressive with a 64.4% completion rate at 8.6 yards per pass attempt.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s secondary has fallen on hard times of late, allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 60.9% of their pass attempts at 8.5 yards per pass attempt in the last three games. I expect Louisville offensive coordinator Garrick McGee to implement a pass-heavy game plan to exploit the Panthers’ deficiencies in the defensive backfield.

Louisville has reeled off four consecutive wins and six of seven after starting the college football season with three straight defeats at the hands of opponents who currently own a combined record of 28-2 (Clemson, Houston and Florida State). The Cardinals are 12-1 ATS on the road versus .666 or greater opposition and 15-3 ATS on the road versus ACC foes, while the home team is 1-9 ATS in Pittsburgh’s last ten games.

Finally, Pittsburgh is a money-burning 5-11 ATS in its last sixteen games following a win and 1-4 ATS in its last five home games versus .501 or greater opposition. The wrong team is favored as the Cardinals are superior on both sides of the ball – grab the points as Oskeim Sports’ Free College Football Pick and invest with confidence.

Oskeim Sports’ Free College Football Pick: Louisville (+2) (-110)