Cincinnati @ Pitt
Cincinnati +6½ +101 over Pitt

Posted at 10:30 AM EST. Odds subject to change.

Pinnacle +6½ +101 BET365 +6½ -110 Sportsinteraction -6½ -110888Sport -6½ -110

Cincinnati +6½ over Pitt

Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA

Streaming: CW Network

6:30 PM ST. The rain is expected to pour at Acrisure Stadium throughout the day, but it's about the time when this game kicks off when those rains are supposed to be at their wettest. The wet stuff might just be appropriate on a day when the River City Rivalry is played for the first time in 11 years, as the Bearcats of Cincinnati will battle the University of Pittsburgh for the first time since 2012.

Both of these schools played weaker than FCS competition last week, with Pitt knocking off Wofford, 45-7, as a -38-point favorite and that is exactly the number that the game landed on, resulting in a push for anyone who made a wager where 38 points was to be the margin of victory. As for the Bearcats, they whacked Eastern Kentucky 66-13, as a -21½-point favorite. With both games being little more than glorified practices, we are not going to focus much on those results, but we thought we'd let you know what everyone was up to in Week 1.

We might as well start with the home side, as the Panthers bring a journeyman passer in Phil Jurkovec, who played at both Boston College and Notre Dame before heading east to Pitt. Jurkovec has yet to taste any success at the Power Five level thus far, as he's a QB that has the size and arm strength NFL scouts beg for, but he does not have the mechanics to back that up, which causes his accuracy to suffer greatly. In 2022, Jurkovec threw 11 touchdowns to eight interceptions. If that wasn't poor enough, he completed less than 60% of his passes and finished the season at Boston College at 3-9. Under Jurkovec, the Eagles scored 15 or fewer points five times and more than 21 points just once.

To think that Jurkovec can come in and spark head coach Frank Cingnetti's offense, one that ranked 78th in Expected Points Added (or EPA) per play and 84th in EPA in passing. EPA is a metric used to determine success on a per-play basis, which gives a better understanding of the ups and downs that a player will go through. At its core (at least in relation to QBs), EPA is a stat that sifts through the dumpster fire to help determine if a quarterback is weak or strong and how much of an impact he will have on his team. If his skill set and the situation he is walking into weren't tough enough for Jurkovec, he also inherited an offense that lost both its leading rusher in Israel Abanikanda and leading receiving option in Jared Wayne from last season. They were the only two playmakers on that anemic offense to surpass 600 yards from the line of scrimmage in 2022.

Now let's go to the Bearcats, who have a new coat of paint this fall, with a new head coach in Scott Satterfield, who returns six starters from the defense last year that was 27th in the nation in EPA per play and 18th in EPA per pass. Satterfield comes to Cincinnati from Louisville, where he also took with him his defensive coordinator, Bryan Brown, whose Cardinals' unit finished 17th in EPA and ninth in EPA in defending the pass last season. That Bearcats defense is loaded with NFL-quality talent, and you will hear the names of Dontay "The Godfather" Corleone, Jowon Briggs, and Deshawn Pace called come April when the NFL Draft hits downtown Kansas City. The Bearcats are a hungry unit that is going to eat, and this situation appears to be the perfect opportunity to do just that.

We'll close with where we started, which is to point out that this game is going to be played in the rain, and because of that, it boasts the lowest total on the board today. Now it might be tempting to attack that total, but rather, we are going to use it to point out just how much more difficult it is to cover a significant number (and make no mistake, this Pitt team is being asked to cover a touchdown or better in the rain, which is a significant number and it's a tough mountain to climb with all those wet rocks. There might be new faces in places on the Bearcats' sidelines, but those new faces are rock solid and have a pretty damn good foundation on which to build; the Panthers of Pitt do not. One could argue that the wrong side is favored here, which makes taking back this touchdown spread a must. There might not be a better value play on the board today than the Bearcats of Cincinnati.


Our Pick

Cincinnati +6½ +101 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.02)