Clemson vs. Pitt Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bet the Panthers to Pull Away (Saturday, Oct. 23)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Kenny Pickett.
- The action picks up on Saturday afternoon, as DJ Uiagalelei and the Clemson Tigers take on Kenny Pickett and the Pitt Panthers.
- The Panthers have had a hot start to the season, while the Tigers have flopped after entering the year with lofty expectations.
- Check out Doug Ziefel's betting guide for the game below, including odds and picks.
Clemson vs. Pitt Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
This is a marquee matchup that you are not going to want to miss. The Clemson Tigers travel to face off against the Pittsburgh Panthers.
In a conference that was pegged as “Clemson’s to lose” in the preseason, things have been turned upside down. The Tigers’ early-season losses have opened up the ACC.
One of the teams that is now vying for the ACC title is the Panthers.
Behind a juggernaut of an offense, Pitt has opened the season 5-1 and has impressed the college football world so much that the books have put Clemson in a position that it has not been since 2016.
Our own Brett McMurphy highlighted the rare occurrence and the success Clemson has had in it.
Clemson is a 3-point underdog at Pitt Saturday, only 3rd time Clemson has been ACC underdog in past 8 years.
From 2005-13, however, Clemson was an underdog in ACC games 18 times.
Overall, since 2005, Clemson is 15-5 vs. spread as ACC underdog, winning 10 of 20 games
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) October 20, 2021
But is Kenny Pickett good enough to buck the trend?
Dab-Oh No: Clemson’s Offensive Drop Off
Coming into the season, we all assumed that Clemson would be just fine with D.J. Uiagalelei taking over at quarterback after the talent he flashed filling in for Trevor Lawrence last year.
The transition has been anything but smooth.
The sophomore quarterback has shouldered the blame for the offense’s struggles. He is 104th in QBR with only a 4:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Uiagalelei has completed just 55 percent of his passes with an average of 5.6 yards per pass. Though Uiagalelei’s struggles are apparent, they may not be the only issue.
The play of the offensive line has stunted the production of the unit all season long. It was clear in the season opener against the elite Georgia defense when Uiagalelei was sacked seven times.
The poor play of the offensive line has also greatly impacted the run game. The Tigers have not been able to get anything going on the ground, averaging just 3.9 yards per rush.
We are now six games in and the metrics tell the whole story. Clemson is 76th in Passing Success, 120th in Rushing Success and 130th in Big Plays
Tigers Defense Still One of the Best
The Clemson offense may be disappointing so far this season, but the defense has remained true to form.
The Tigers are fourth in the country in points allowed per game with 14.4. What may be even more impressive is that they are 13th in opponent yards per play at 4.4.
While this high-flying Pitt offense may light up the advanced metrics, Clemson actually outranks them in multiple aspects.
This Clemson defense will be a true test for the Panthers.
The Second Coming of Dan Marino
Pickett is having an outstanding season and that may even be an understatement. He’s third in the country in QBR and holds an incredible 21:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Being the leader of what was the highest-scoring offense in the country until last week will earn you some lofty comparisons.
After passing the Pitt and NFL legend Dan Marino in career passing yards earlier this season, many have drawn comparisons between the two.
I certainly agree they are similar especially after seeing this:
Pitt Gunslingers 🎯
Kenny Pickett, 2021
Dan Marino, 1981@KennyPickett10 🤝 @DanMarino#H2Ppic.twitter.com/nm63UT1Qox
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) March 12, 2021
Though on a more serious note, the metrics reveal a key part of this offense. The offensive line has been stellar and has everything to do with Pickett being successful. It’s ninth in pass blocking and 17th in Havoc allowed.
Panthers Defense Deserving of Recognition
Pickett and the offense may be lighting it up, but the Panthers are not sitting where they are currently without the play of their defense. They’ll hold an edge in every facet over the Clemson offense.
The strength of the unit is the defensive line. Ranking fourth in defensive Line Yards has impacted the opponent’s ability to both run and pass.
They are ninth in yards per rush and 11th in Sack Rate.
Clemson vs. Pitt Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Clemson and Pitt match up statistically:
Clemson Offense vs. Pitt Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pitt Offense vs. Clemson Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||24||23|
|Plays per Minute||51||44|
|Rush Rate||51.2% (85)||52.2% (82)|
Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.
This may wind up being more of a defensive battle than originally pegged.
Just as in Clemson’s opener, the defense will be counted on to match their opposition.
The X-factor in this matchup though is the explosiveness and efficiency of the Pitt passing game. Even if Pickett is slowed by the Clemson defense, he does not need many opportunities to make an impact.
Clemson vs. Pitt Betting Pick
Clemson is really in the midst of a lost season for what was once a team that was a lock to compete in the College Football Playoff.
Now, it goes on the road against a Pitt team that has had this matchup circled, as it wants to prove itself against an elite program.
With exterior motivation and home-field advantage, all considered, this game is going to come down to who can come through for their team on offense.
I’m confident Pickett can as much as I’m confident Uiagalelei will not. Take the Panthers at home here.
Pick: Pitt -3 or better
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