Pitt vs. Syracuse Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Orange (November 27)
Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Kenny Pickett (8) and the Pitt Panthers football team.
- Updated odds make Pitt -12 favorites over Syracuse in Saturday's ACC matchup.
- Kenny Pickett has been dominant for the Panthers this season, but the Orange run game will be no easy task for the Pitt defense.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the game below and shares a betting pick.
Pitt vs. Syracuse Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Pittsburgh clinched the ACC Coastal division last week with a win against Virginia and has very little to play for this Saturday when it visits the Carrier Dome.
The Orange have dropped two consecutive games in blowouts following a 5-4 start to the season and have bowl eligibility on the line.
All signs point to Syracuse head coach Dino Babers returning for a seventh season regardless of Saturday’s result, but the Orange have only been to one bowl game in his six-year tenure.
Pittsburgh is a bad matchup for the Orange, but it’s unclear if Pitt is all-in for this game given the stakes of next week’s ACC Championship.
There’s a potential chance that the Panthers will rest some key players, keep things vanilla or be thinking more about one of their three potential opponents in Charlotte next week.
Pitt Vertical Attack Can Give Orange Trouble
No player has seen their draft stock rise higher this season than Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett, who is now getting first-round buzz following a stellar season at the helm.
Pitt boasts the seventh-best passing offense by Success Rate in the entire country, finishes drives at the ninth-best rate in the country and has an ability to hit big plays through the air with ease.
These kinds of vertical passing offenses have given the Orange trouble this year — Wake Forest and NC State exposed the Syracuse secondary.
Pickett has struggled with turnovers in recent weeks, he’s thrown six interceptions in the last four games, but the Panthers offense has been very good at preventing Havoc this season.
Pitt ranks 15th in Havoc Allowed, and despite a solid Syracuse pass rush and run defense, Pickett should have enough time to throw and pick on an Orange defense that doesn’t grade out well in coverage, per PFF.
The only concern here is whether Pitt rests Pickett or some of its offensive skill players with next week on the mind.
Pitt Defense Not Consistent Enough
Pittsburgh’s defense has been a very inconsistent unit this season that has cost the Panthers on more than one occasion.
It’s played a very mediocre schedule of opposing offenses and still been exposed on multiple occasions — a home loss to Western Michigan in which they allowed 44 points, 29 allowed to a Duke offense that has been dead for more than a month, a late collapse against Sam Howell that nearly led to a loss and 38 to Miami in another loss.
The Panthers are an aggressive defense that grades out well against the run with a rank of 23rd in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and a mark of 12th in Defensive Line Yards. That’s the handicap to stop the Syracuse offense, and the Panthers should be able to slow down elite running back Sean Tucker out of the backfield.
Syracuse doesn’t do much through the air, but when it does, it tends to look vertical, and that’s the concern here for the Pittsburgh defense.
Pitt allows a ton of big plays on the ground and through the air, and Syracuse’s boom-or-bust offense makes for a tricky matchup on Saturday.
QB Garrett Shrader Trying to Regain Form for Syracuse
The Orange have been outclassed in the last two weeks because their offense has been almost nonexistent — 17 points against NC State and 3 against Louisville are major red flags for Garrett Shrader entering this week, but the Orange should be able to break off some big plays against an aggressive Pitt defense.
Tucker has been able to run against pretty much anyone this season, so even though Pittsburgh has edges on Syracuse in rush offense vs. rush defense, Tucker will break off enough runs and one or two chunk plays to keep the Orange offense alive.
Syracuse Defense Has Even More Issues
As much as the Orange’s offense has struggled the last two weeks, the defense has even more red flags.
It couldn’t stop the run or explosive plays against Louisville and fell apart after a solid start against the Wolfpack last week.
The run defense should be able to keep the Panthers in check and force Pickett to beat them, given that SU is 36th in Defensive Line Yards and 54th in Rushing Success Rate.
But the issues at defending explosive pass offenses mean Pitt could move the ball up and down the field on Syracuse. Add in the Orange’s struggles at Finishing Drives on defense, and it’s hard to see Pickett not having his way with the secondary and scoring plenty of points.
Pitt vs. Syracuse Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Pitt and Syracuse match up statistically:
Pitt Offense vs. Syracuse Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Syracuse Offense vs. Pitt Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||35||117|
|Plays per Minute||15||80|
|Rush Rate||48.4% (107)||63.7% (12)|
Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.
Pitt vs. Syracuse Betting Pick
This is a classic situation of spot vs. matchup.
The Pittsburgh passing offense should be able to have plenty of success against the Orange’s defense, and Syracuse doesn’t really have the passing acumen to exploit Pittsburgh’s secondary and will have a hard time consistently running the ball.
With that being said, Syracuse has some explosiveness on offense, and this is a terrible spot for Pittsburgh with the ACC Championship looming next week. We’ve seen time and again that Pitt will play down to its competition, and I can’t back it as a 13-point road favorite against a team chasing bowl eligibility.
There’s a chance Pickett and some of the Pitt offense doesn’t play the whole game, and if Babers has shown anything in his time with Syracuse, he can keep it motivated as a big home underdog.
Take the points with the Orange and hope Pittsburgh has one eye on next week. It might be worth a look on the moneyline too if the Panthers are truly flat.
Pick: Syracuse +13
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