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College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks for Pitt vs. Virginia Tech: Why to Bet the Panthers (Oct. 16)

College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks for Pitt vs. Virginia Tech: Why to Bet the Panthers (Oct. 16) article feature image

Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kenny Pickett.

  • The Pitt Panthers take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in Saturday college football action at 3:30 p.m. ET.
  • Kenny Pickett has really started to shine for Pitt under center, and Matt Wispe thinks he will lead the Panthers to victory today.
  • Check out Wispe's full betting breakdown for the ACC game below, including odds and picks.

Pitt vs. Virginia Tech Odds

Pitt Odds -5 (-108)
Virginia Tech Odds +5 (-113)
Moneyline -205 / +165
Over/Under 56 (-112 / -109)
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Pittsburgh travels to Blacksburg for an afternoon kickoff against Virginia Tech.

Pitt comes into this game after a dominating win against Georgia Tech, one that moved the Panthers to 4-1 against the spread (ATS) with all five of their games going over the total.

Virginia Tech moved to 2-3 ATS following a tough loss to Notre Dame, having gone over the total just once.

There are steady winds of 10 mph or more forecasted, but they’re not expected to cross the field, which should still allow for both teams to operate their offenses.

Pitt vs. Virginia Tech Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 16
3:30 p.m. ET

Pittsburgh Panthers

Pittsburgh Offense

Gone are the days of the Pitt offense trying to win games in the mid-20s. This year’s Panthers are leading the FBS in points per game and rank third in yards per game.

One cause for the change is Pitt’s improved pace. The Panthers are averaging 24.4 seconds per play — with an overall Success Rate of 52.4% — are averaging 5.778 points per opportunity and have only allowed Havoc on 14.2% of plays.

Fifth-year senior Kenny Pickett has transformed himself into one of the most productive passers in the country, completing 72% of his passes for an average of 10.3 yards per attempt. Pitt has a Passing Success Rate of 56.4% and has completed an average of 6.6 passes over 20 yards per game.

Vincent Davis and Israel Abanikanda have led the way in the Pitt backfield. Neither has been particularly efficient, as the two are averaging just 3.9 yards per carry.

Overall, the Panthers have a Rushing Success Rate of 48.2%, but it doesn’t appear that the offensive line is making it easy for the backs. They’ve generated 3.05 Line Yards per attempt and have allowed a 19.5% Stuff Rate.

Pittsburgh Defense

Pitt’s defense has been a strong complementary piece to its improved offense.

It has allowed 22.6 points per game — which ranks 49th in the FBS — and 5.2 yards per play, but they’ve only allowed a 34.9% Success Rate and 3.29 points per opportunity.

The Panthers are allowing opposing QBs to complete 60.4% of passes for an average of 7.4 yards per attempt while allowing a Passing Success Rate of 38.4% and 3.2 passes over 20 yards per game. They’ve forced just four interceptions, but have defended 14 passes.

The run defense has allowed a 30.3% Rushing Success Rate and has held opponents to just 3.0 yards per carry. They’re allowing opposing offensive lines to create just 2.2 line yards per attempt and have forced a 20.5% stuff rate.

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Virginia Tech Hokies

Virginia Tech Offense

The Hokies offense has been more methodical than Pittsburgh’s, averaging 27.5 seconds per play.

Unfortunately, methodical does not also mean efficient. Virginia Tech has an overall Success Rate of 40.8% and has only scored 3.27 points per opportunity.

Braxton Burmeister has played to an average level as the starting quarterback. As a passer, he’s completed 58.8% of his passes for an average of 7.1 yards per attempt, throwing five touchdowns to two interceptions.

As a team, the Hokies have a 40.3% Passing Success Rate and have averaged three passes of 20 or more yards per game.

Burmeister’s biggest contributions have been as a runner, however. He’s averaging just 3.5 yards per carry on a team-leading 54 attempts, but he has contributed two rushing touchdowns.

The two leading running backs, Raheem Blackshear and Jalen Holston, haven’t faired much better from an efficiency standpoint averaging 3.8 yards per carry.

As a team, Virginia Tech has a 41.5% Rushing Success Rate, but that hasn’t stopped the Hokies from leaning on the running game. They’re running the ball on 57.9% of plays with 38.8 attempts per game.

Virginia Tech Defense

Virginia Tech’s defense has been the driving force behind its success. The Hokies allowed a 39.3% Success Rate and have held opponents to 3.2 points per opportunity.

In addition to the Hokies’ ability to stop opponents from finishing drives, they’ve also created Havoc on 22.3% of plays, including causing eight turnovers.

Seven of the Hokies have forced eight turnovers while defending 13 passes. They have allowed a Passing Success Rate of 34.5% and have held opposing quarterbacks to a 59.1% completion percentage and 6.6 yards per attempt.

The run defense has been slightly weaker. Virginia Tech is allowing a 43.8% Rushing Success Rate and 4.0 yards per attempt. The defensive line has forced a 17.2% stuff rate, but on average opponents have averaged 3.33 Line Yards per attempt.

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Pitt vs. Virginia Tech Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Pitt and Virginia Tech match up statistically:

Pitt Offense vs. Virginia Tech Defense
Rush Success 59 78
Line Yards 74 100
Pass Success 6 14
Pass Blocking** 9 73
Big Play 9 101
Havoc 24 55
Finishing Drives 1 30
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Virginia Tech Offense vs. Pitt Defense
Rush Success 113 5
Line Yards 118 4
Pass Success 96 37
Pass Blocking** 31 37
Big Play 84 102
Havoc 94 11
Finishing Drives 107 41
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 116 23
Coverage 80 68
Middle 8 2 80
SP+ Special Teams 15 56
Plays per Minute 32 93
Rush Rate 51.8% (78) 57.9% (46)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

On both sides of the ball, it appears that Pittsburgh has an edge. The Panthers’ offense has been explosive in the passing game and while they’re less strong in the running game, that’s where the Hokies have struggled.

Virginia Tech’s edge in pass blocking and explosiveness will be critical if they’re going to come away with a win. If the Hokies aren’t creating explosive plays in the passing game, this will likely be a runaway win for Pitt.

Pitt vs. Virginia Tech Betting Pick

The play on this game largely comes down to Virginia Tech’s ability to slow down the Pittsburgh offense. Thus far, this season, the Hokies haven’t allowed more than 32 points, which is 20 points below the Panthers’ season average.

This line opened at 1.5 but the money immediately came in for Pittsburgh. However, it hasn’t gone quite far enough.

With the Panthers’ current play, they’re the best offense Virginia Tech has seen this season and the Pitt defense appears to be strong enough to allow for slight underperformance on offense and still get a cover.

Pick: Pittsburgh -7

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