College Football Week 7 Picks: Louisville Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Panthers

No. 18 Louisville Cardinals at Pittsburgh Panthers
Saturday, 10/13/12, 11:00 AM EST, TV:  ESPNU
Opening Point Spread:  Louisville -1.5
Current Betting Line:  Louisville -3
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Pittsburgh Panthers are dangerous home underdogs in an early kickoff Saturday

Louisville has lost the last four games in this series, including a 21-14 setback as three-point home favorites last year, as it lost the statistical battle by a 116-yard margin.  The Cardinals are playing their third consecutive road game, but it’s important to note that the program is coming off its bye week.  Saturday’s game also serves as the Big East Conference opener for the program, as it’s compiled a 1-6 record in that situation.  Louisville is 7-3 ATS in October the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 8-2 in those contests.

The Cardinals are just 10-15 on the road during their history in the Big East, but have won three league games in a row in that situation.  Louisville has tallied an even 5-5 record in the calendar’s 10th month under head coach Charlie Strong.  Offensively, the team is averaging just 24.5 points per game away from home, which directly reflects the fact that the unit is averaging just 296 yards in that situation.  The team has won its last three games by a total of 16 points—marking the first occurrence of pulling off such a feat since 1999.

Pittsburgh is set to host an undefeated opponent after suffering a 14-13 loss to the Syracuse Orange as one-point road underdogs last Friday, but the team has won the statistical battle in its last three games.  The Panthers have given up only two touchdowns and two field goals over their last three games, while forcing eight turnovers after creating zero in the first two weeks of the season.  Pittsburgh is 3-0 ATS off a loss by three points or less against conference opponents.

The Panthers have compiled a 25-13 record in Big East home games played inside Heinz Field.  Pittsburgh is led by senior quarterback Tino Sunseri, who has completed 73 percent of his passes for 946 yards and six touchdowns with a single interception over the last three weeks.  He leads the conference and ranks 11th nationally with a 164.67 passer rating.  Running back Ray Graham is starting to round into form, gaining 419 yards on 89 carries through five games.

Sports bettors will likely back the Panthers due to their 19-6-2 ATS mark in October, while the Cardinals are 0-5 ATS in the last five meetings.

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