College Football Betting: Pittsburgh at Virginia

College Football Betting:  Pittsburgh at Virginia

A bad pointspread team on the road laying points against a good pointspread team with an excellent coach coming off a bye week? Sign me up! Seriously, that dynamic is clearly at play in this ACC matchup between Pittsburgh and Virginia in Charlottesville. The Cavs have won two straight after losing their first three games and have covered four straight. That sort of trajectory isn’t surprising in this situation–UVA finally hired a legitimate professional coach after six years of Mike London and Al Groh before that. It’s not a shock that UVA has only two winning seasons in the past decade. That could change quickly with former BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall taking over the program. Mendenhall never really got the credit he deserved for the job he did at BYU. He not only cleaned up the mess Gary Crowton had made running the program LaVell Edwards built into the toilet but he completely changed the culture of Cougars’ football. BYU was known for their high octane offense and endless lineage of NFL level quarterbacks during Edwards’ tenure. During Crowton’s run in Provo the team became downright ‘soft’. His record at BYU looks better than it really was thanks to a 12-2 debut season but he went 14-21 in his remaining three years.

Enter Mendenhall who rebuilt ‘Quarterback U’ into a team that could run the ball as well as pass it. He also focused on defense–never a priority during Edwards’ run when they were dropping 50 points on opponents every week. The BYU faithful didn’t buy in at first as the Cougars struggled to a 6-6 record in his first year on the job. They started to believe in his second year as BYU put up an 11-2 record. Mendenhall posted double digit wins in four of his first five years and never had a losing season at BYU. The most impressive thing he did was completely change the character of BYU football. You’ll never hear anyone suggest that BYU is ‘soft’–to the contrary, they’re very similar to in state rivals Utah. There are few tougher and more physical teams in college football. Other teams might have more talent but few will be able to physically intimidate BYU.

Mendenhall is making the same transition at UVA though the defense is a mess. It’ll take a recruiting class or two to get the right personnel on hand but he’s already in the process of ‘toughening up’ the culture. At this level just playing hard on a consistent basis can do wonders for a team. Pittsburgh’s defense can’t stop anyone. The Panthers are 5-13 ATS L3 years as a favorite and 2-7 ATS after two or more SU wins. Virginia is 4-1 ATS this year, 4-0 ATS as a dog and have covered 17 of their last 20 when getting points. This is a game they can win outright and they’re the play getting more than a FG.