College Basketball Odds, Picks and Predictions for Notre Dame vs. Pitt (Tuesday, Dec. 28)
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images. Pictured: John Hugley (Pittsburgh Panthers)
Notre Dame vs. Pitt Odds
|Notre Dame Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
In each team’s second ACC matchup of the season, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will head to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers.
Notre Dame has one resume-building victory under its belt against Kentucky, while Pitt has a couple, beating Towson and St. John’s.
These are two of the slowest teams in college basketball and after the holiday break, it is hard to envision that pace suddenly changing in this game.
Notre Dame has a top-30 adjusted offensive efficiency, according to KenPom, but this does not seem to factor into its tempo. The Irish are the 274th-slowest team in the NCAA, occupying 18.1 seconds per possession on both offense and defense.
Even if their defense is not necessarily their strong suit, they at least slow teams down to their pace.
One of the Irish’s weaknesses is turning over their opponents. However, this should not be much of a problem against the Panthers, as they cough the ball up around 21.7% of the time.
Pitt should have a sizable rebounding advantage. ND only crashes the offensive glass 25.4% of the time. This essentially says that the Irish will only have one chance to score on each of their methodical possessions.
If they shoot poorly — which they have in their last two Power-6 matchups (Indiana and Boston College) — they will not eclipse 60 points.
This is significant because 3-pointers encapsulate 37.8% of their offensive production. Dane Goodwin, Nate Laszewski and Blake Wesley are the Irish’s outside scoring threats. Pitt’s size and length should be a factor when it comes to Notre Dame’s shot outcomes.
One hiccup — which could cause this game to possibly go over the total — is how poorly ND guards the arc. The Irish allow opponents to shoot 37.6% from downtown, ranking 315th in college basketball. Luckily, for them, Pitt shoots less than 30% from long range, so this should not be too much of a concern.
Pitt’s size advantage is noteworthy here, particularly on the wings. Even though this season will be tough for them, the Panthers guard the arc well. They hold opponents to about 33% from downtown.
Like ND, they will not turn over opponents, but William Jeffress should be able to lock down one of the Irish’s wings (potentially Wesley).
Pitt is brutal on offense. The Panthers have absolutely no specialty. Even with their length, they only shoot 45.5% from inside the arc. Also, they cannot shoot 3s (29.3%) and they hit just 65.7% of their free throws.
They do get to the line a ton, as they have the second-highest free-throw-to-field-goal ratio in the NCAA. ND does foul its opponents, so this is Pitt’s best chance of putting up points in this game.
The Panthers can at least crash the glass — especially on the offensive end — but if they are not sinking their shots, like usual, this may not matter.
This is a top-heavy offense with John Hugley, Femi Odukale and Jamarius Burton being the only players averaging double digits on the season.
Given their slow pace (334th in the NCAA), even if they do get second chances and make it to the free throw line, they will not accrue many points. After all, they only average 60.7 points per game on the season.
Notre Dame vs. Pitt Betting Pick
Both of these teams like to play to their tempo, which is good news for under-backers.
Notre Dame might struggle a bit from beyond the arc, and this is one of its main scoring sources.
If Pitt cannot hit free throws and it does not snag many offensive rebounds, that eliminates its only advantages. Take the under at 128.5 and play it to 127 in this matchup.