Pittsburgh vs. Virginia College Basketball Odds & Pick: Saturday’s Betting Value on Cavaliers
Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Virginia guard Kihei Clark.
- Saturday's Louisville-Virginia game was postponed due to a COVID--19 issue with the Cardinals, so the Cavaliers are taking on Pittsburgh instead.
- Virginia is heavily favored in this newly scheduled matchup, and Pitt had little time to prepare for this ACC showdown.
- Mike Randle breaks down Saturday's game and shares his betting pick below.
Pittsburgh vs. Virginia Odds
Pittsburgh (9-5) has enjoyed a surprisingly successful season after being predicted to finish 13th in the ACC preseason poll. It sits at a respectable 5-4 in the conference, actually tied with Duke.
But no team has been more impressive in the ACC than No. 14 Virginia, residing atop the ACC with an 8-1 record, 1.5 games ahead of Florida State.
The oddsmakers have made the Cavaliers a heavy 11.5-point favorite at home. Is Virginia still the class of the ACC by a wide margin, or will the Panthers prove Vegas wrong?
Virginia (12-3) has again battled its way to the top of the ACC standings behind an impressive 8-1 conference record. The Cavaliers’ success has been based on superior metrics on both ends of the floor. Tony Bennett’s team ranks 11th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 19th in defensive prowess.
The Cavaliers feature a balanced scoring attack with four players averaging between 9.7 and 14.5 points per game. Virginia is led by senior Sam Hauser (14.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG) who is shooting a blistering 41.4% on 87 attempts. The interior is anchored by 7-foot-1 forward Sam Huff (13.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG), who ranks 27th in the nation with 2.3 blocks per game.
Junior Trey Murphy (11.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 49.3% 3-point) stretches the floor, and junior point guard Kihei Clark (9.7 PPG, 4.3 APG) brings leadership and controls pace.
The Cavaliers rank first in ACC play in offensive turnover percentage, rarely beating themselves. They also led the conference with an incredible 81.7% free throw percentage in conference play.
The Cavaliers’ defense is once again at an elite level. Since being eviscerated by Gonzaga for 98 points, Virginia has held five of its nine opponents to under 60 points, including a brilliant 85-50 win at Clemson.
Virginia has ascended to the top of the ACC standings despite experiencing some of the worst free-throw luck by its opponents. The Cavaliers have seen teams shoot 75.4% from the charity stripe, 323rd in the country.
Pittsburgh is 0-2 against Virginia in the Jeff Capel era. In its last trip to Charlottesville, the Panthers were destroyed, 73-49.
The Panthers don’t have the strengths that cause the Cavaliers difficulty. Pittsburgh only shoots 67.5% from the free-throw line and 48% (235th) from inside the arc. Virginia is vulnerable from deep, but the Panthers only generate a mark of 27.9% from 3-point range.
The Panthers rely on the three-headed scoring attack of Justin Champagnie (19.3 PPG, 12.2 RPG), Au’diese Toney (14.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG), and Xavier Johnson (14.5 PPG, 6.1 APG).
However, Pittsburgh’s offense is much more about volume than efficiency, as illustrated by its 48.4% effective field goal percentage (228th overall).
Pittsburgh has been exposed by the better teams in the ACC, losing three consecutive games to Wake Forest away, North Carolina at home and Notre Dame at home by 26.
The Panthers are coming off an 83-72 comeback win at home to Virginia Tech, but the Cavaliers’ superior offensive metrics pose a much different challenge to the streaky Hokies.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This game was a last-second change after the Louisville-Virginia game was postponed due to a COVID-19 issue with the Cardinals. That is an advantage to the Cavaliers as the home team and limits prep time for the Panthers.
The Cavaliers are dominant at home against the spread. Under Tony Bennett, Virginia is covering at a 58% rate at home in ACC play, per BetLabs.
This is a big line, but Pittsburgh does not present the type of matchup that concerns me. A defensive-minded team like Georgia Tech can cause the Cavaliers problems, but the Panthers will struggle on the interior on both ends of the floor.
Look for Virginia’s hot 3-point shooting to open up a comfortable lead on Pittsburgh, and their elite free throw shooting to cover this large spread.
This line opened at 11.5 and has dropped to UVA -10.
Wait to see if you can get it at single digits, and grab the Cavaliers to win and cover at home against Pittsburgh.
Pick: UVA -10 (up to -10.5).