College Football Week 5 Predictions: Virginia Cavaliers vs. Pittsburgh Panthers

Virginia Cavaliers vs. Pittsburgh Panthers
Saturday, 9/28/13, 12:30 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Pittsburgh -6.5
Current Betting Line:  Pittsburgh -6
Opening Total:  51
Current Total:  52
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Pittsburgh Panthers are 5-5 ATS as favorites of 3.5 to 10 points since 2011
The Pittsburgh Panthers are 5-5 ATS as favorites of 3.5 to 10 points since 2011

Virginia is 0-5 when facing a new ACC member for the first time in conference play, while it has compiled a 22-37 all-time record in conference openers.  The Cavaliers are 10-14 all-time in seasons that were active NFL stadiums at the time of the contest, including a 0-1 mark at Heinz Field.  The program is playing its 12th game in Pennsylvania since the end of World War II—posting a 4-7 mark in that type of situation.  Virginia is 5-6 SU and 2-9 ATS in September the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 5-4-2 in those 11 opportunities.

The Cavaliers will dress only eight seniors against the Panthers, which ranks tied for the second-fewest in the nation.  Virginia is one of four FBS programs in the country that entered the 2013 season without any quarterback on its roster that played at all in 2012.    Junior running back Kevin Parks is the player to watch in this matchup, as he’s rushed for 1,443 yards during his first two seasons in Charlottesville.

Pittsburgh has rebounded from its season-opening loss to nationally ranked Florida State, as it has picked up victories over Duke and New Mexico.  The Panthers have some major weapons offensively, with wide receivers Devin Street and Tyler Boyd averaging 129 and 104.7 receiving yards per game respectively.  Senior quarterback Tom Savage leads the conference in averaging 287 passing yards per game.  Pittsburgh is 6-4 SU and 5-5 ATS as favorites of 3.5 to 10 points over the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 6-4 in that situation.

The Panthers’ last three-game winning streak occurred during an 8-5 season in 2010, which is important to consider when making your college football predictions in Week 5.  Pittsburgh has played 12 true freshmen this season, with running back James Conner being a player to watch, as he leads the team in rushing for 326 yards.  On the season, the program’s true freshmen have accounted for 70 percent of the school’s scoring.

Sports bettors will likely back the Panthers, as they’ve gone 13-5 ATS versus teams with a winning record, while the Cavaliers are 1-8-1 ATS in September.

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