Virginia faces a major challenge in its quest for a berth in the ACC title game, hosting Pittsburgh on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Cavaliers have won three straight conference games and can maintain the Coastal Division lead with a victory, while the Panthers have just one ACC loss and can tie for the division lead with a win. Last week, they rallied from a double-digit deficit to upset Duke, 54-45, at home. The Cavaliers are 7.5-point favorites and the over-under for total points scored is 47.5 in the latest Virginia vs. Pittsburgh odds. Before you make any Virginia vs. Pitt picks, check out what SportsLine senior analyst Josh Nagel has to say.
A Nevada-based expert with 20 years of experience in the sports wagering industry, Nagel specializes in handicapping college athletics. He's having another solid season for SportsLine members, hitting on 60 percent of his spread selections. Moreover, he's had a sharp eye for handicapping the ACC and has an astounding 9-0 record on spread picks involving these two teams over the past two seasons.
Just two weeks ago, Nagel advised SportsLine members that the Panthers were likely to catch Notre Dame in a letdown spot. He recommended backing them as a three-touchdown road underdog, and they nearly pulled an outright upset in the 19-14 loss. Anyone who followed Nagel's advice booked an easy winner.
Now, he's studied Pitt vs. Virginia from every possible angle and released a strong point-spread selection that is available at SportsLine.
Nagel knows the Cavaliers lost at Indiana in Week 2 and fell 35-21 at N.C. State a month ago. But they have since won three straight with a combination of efficient offense and a big-play defense.
In last week's 31-21 win over North Carolina, emerging dual-threat quarterback Bryce Perkins led the offense with four total touchdowns. The junior threw for 217 yards and three scores and rushed for 112 yards and another touchdown. The Cavaliers (6-2) held the Tar Heels to 66 rushing yards and had a two-to-one advantage in time of possession.
The Cavaliers have covered the spread in all of their victories this year, but there's no guarantee they will do it again facing a Pittsburgh club that has a history of playing spoiler.
Last year, the Panthers ruined Miami's bid for an undefeated regular season with a home upset as a two-touchdown underdog. Two weeks ago, they nearly did the same to playoff-hopeful Notre Dame in a 19-14 loss as a three-touchdown underdog.
Pittsburgh (4-4) stumbled out of the gate to a 2-3 start that included blowout losses to Penn State and UCF by 76 combined points. A perpetually leaky defense appeared to be the main culprit, but the Panthers have made strides. They held the powerful Irish offense to 344 total yards and Notre Dame had to rally with two late scores to overcome a 14-6 second-half deficit.
We can tell you Nagel is leaning toward the Under, but he's also identified a crucial X-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's only sharing it at SportsLine.
Who covers in Pittsburgh vs. Virginia? And what crucial X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side you need to jump all over Friday, all from an expert who's an astounding 9-0 in his picks involving these teams.