Big East Football Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers at Pittsburgh Panthers

West Virginia Mountaineers at Pittsburgh Panthers
Friday, 11/26/10, 12:00 PM EDT, TV:  ABC
Opening Point Spread:  Pittsburgh -3
Current Betting Line:  Pittsburgh -3
Opening Total:  41
Current Total:  38.5
Current Moneyline:  Pittsburgh -140 / West Virginia +120

Pittsburgh Panthers Football Picks
The Pittsburgh Panthers are slight home favorites in hosting the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Backyard Brawl

West Virginia is solely focused on gaining a victory in this year’s Backyard Brawl due to possibly heading into the final week tied for the Big East lead.  “At the end of the day, it’s all about winning and losing,” said linebacker J.T. Thomas.  The Mountaineers have compiled a solid 58-16 record over their last 74 games and produced a 30-10 mark in the Big East over that span.  Much of that success can be contributed the team forcing 278 turnovers since the start of the 2001 season, ranking fourth nationally in that category.  This year’s defense is the only FBS unit that has not allowed more than 21 points in a game this season.  West Virginia is 9-10 ATS versus conference opponents and the college football lines page has them listed as an underdog.

The Mountaineers defense is not only the best in the Big East but it also ranks fourth nationally in total yards allowed.  West Virginia has posted a 47-4 record when holding an opponent under 100 yards rushing, which will be a major part of the team’s game plan.  In last year’s 19-16 victory in Morgantown, the team pulled off a win despite allowing 155 yards rushing to Panthers star running back Dion Lewis.  Luckily, the offense finished with 205 rushing yards of its won and totaled 369 yards of offense in total.

Pittsburgh comes in off a 17-10 win over South Florida and is now ready to collide with its rival in the 103rd installment of this highly-contested series.  “My freshman year, I didn’t understand what the Backyard Brawl was.  It seemed like it was jsut another game with a little bit of hype around it,” said defensive end Jabaal Sheard.  “It’s a fight in the back yard.  Everything goes.”  The two teams have split the last 10 games in the series, but the Panthers have won two of the past three meetings.   Pittsburgh has also compiled a 26-11 record over its last 37 games, the program’s winningest stretch since the 2001-04 seasons.  The squad is 4-0 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record.

The Panthers will be paying tribute to 11 seniors who will be making their final appearance at Heinz Field on November 26.  Pitt’s victory last week also made the program bowl eligible for the third consecutive season.  Since grabbing a 13-9 victory in this rivalry in 2007, the team has garnered a 15-5 record in Big East games.  Also, the team’s seven losses over the past two seasons have been by a combined 50 points, an average of just 7.1. points per game.

Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Mountaineers are 4-0 ATS in November, while the Panthers are 4-1 ATS as a home favorite.

The college football handicappers at Maddux Sports is ready for a huge week of winning selections!

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