Pitt vs. Florida State Odds & Picks: Hold Your Nose & Back the ‘Noles on Saturday (Nov. 7)
Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Carlos Becker III (15) and Jaiden Lars-Woodbey (6).
- Having lost four straight, Pittsburgh heads south to face Florida State in a Saturday afternoon ACC matchup at 4 p.m. ET.
- The Seminoles are coming off a blowout loss vs. Louisville and are in the midst of a 2-4 season.
- In this battle of ACC strugglers, Stuckey explains why he likes Florida State to cover the spread on Saturday.
Pitt vs. Florida State Odds
|Pittsburgh Odds||+2 [BET NOW]|
|Florida State Odds||-2 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+106 / -129 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||51 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 4 p.m. ET|
Unless you’re a diehard fan of either squad, this ACC matchup between two sub-.500 teams is a game only a bettor would watch. Let’s take a closer look from a betting perspective at both clubs to see who’s more likely to bounce back after a bye week.
Florida State Seminoles
Outside of a shocking upset over then-ranked North Carolina, it hasn’t been pretty in Tallahassee this season. The offensive line still has issues, and the passing game has struggled immensely with four different quarterbacks seeing action — one of whom is 0-for-9 on the season.
The lone bright spot has been the rushing attack, which has still found a way to average 4.9 yards per carry (top-30 nationally) despite losing Cam Akers to the NFL. Part of the rushing success can be attributed to new quarterback Jordan Travis. The dual-threat sophomore hasn’t been uber-efficient throwing the ball, but he has rushed for five touchdowns while averaging 5.5 yards per rush. He’s clearly the best option Florida State has under center.
In fairness to Travis, his receivers haven’t really helped him out. However, that could change this weekend with the likely return of star wide receiver Tamorrion Terry, who hasn’t played since Oct. 10 with an injury. Terry, who eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in 2019, is the best wideout on the roster by a wide margin.
On the other side of the ball, the story hasn’t been much better for a Florida State defense that ranked in the bottom 10 nationally in yards per play allowed at a putrid 7.0 clip. There is NFL talent on the roster with defensive tackle Marvin Wilson and cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., but neither has lived up to high expectations.
The linebackers have struggled across the board, in addition to the defensive line that ranked 89th in Line Yards and 95h in Passing Downs Sack Rate out of 103 teams that have played coming into this week, per Football Outsiders. The Seminoles have also allowed 5.6 yards per rush, which ranks in the bottom 10 in FBS.
FSU is hopeful it will benefit from the return of preseason All-ACC safety Hamsah Nasirildeen, who has yet to suit up this season but practiced this week. The future Sunday safety does so many different things for FSU’s defense, so his presence would provide an immediate boost on the back end.
After jumping out to a quick 3-0 start, it has been all downhill for Pat Narduzzi’s Panthers. They dropped a pair of one-point games as favorites before being handed two lopsided losses by Miami and Notre Dame.
The offense has been the main culprit, starting up front with an offensive line that ranks 98th in Line Yards, 97th in Standard Down Line Yards and 99th in Passing Down Line Yards. Consequently, the running game has been nonexistent. Pitt has averaged a meager 2.9 yards per carry on the season, which ranks in the bottom five nationally.
Things got even worse when starting quarterback Kenny Pickett went down with an injury. As a result, Pittsburgh turned to freshman Joey Yellen, which hasn’t worked out well. Yellen was a highly-touted recruit with loads of potential, but he clearly needs time to develop. Just take a look at the statistical output discrepancy between the two:
- Pickett: 59.1% completion percentage, 136 QB Rating, 7.7 yards per attempt, 8 TD to 3 INT
- Yellen: 44.7% completion percentage, 85.1 QB Rating, 5.2 yards per attempt, 1 TD to 3 INT
From an Adjusted Completion Percentage perspective, Pickett sits at 72.5% compared to Yellen’s 57.1%, which ranks 113th out 116 quarterbacks with at least 50 dropbacks on the season. Yellen also lacks the mobility that Pickett brings to the table. The drop-off from the senior to the freshman has been significant. Plus, for the second straight season, the Panthers’ receivers have been plagued by major drop issues.
Defensively, Pitt has been much stronger, allowing only 4.4 yards per play, which ranked ninth nationally coming into Week 10. Led by seniors Patrick Jones and Rashad Weaver, the defensive front has been extremely effective, leading the nation in combined tackles for loss and sacks and ranking second in sacks. The Panthers have no real weaknesses up front, ranking No. 3 in Line Yards and No. 1 in Sack Rate.
Narduzzi runs a press-quarters base scheme, which means he utilizes a lot of Cover 4 that looks like man-to-man coverage on the outside. His corners are left on islands most of the time. He will frequently bring the safeties up into the box in order to shut down the run, which Pitt has done successfully. It’s allowed opponents to average only 2.0 yards per carry, which tops the nation.
However, Pitt’s ultra-aggressive defense can be vulnerable against explosive runs and passes. And while Florida State may be getting its star safety back for the first time, Pitt will have to play without potential first-round pick Paris Ford for the first time all season after Ford opted out of the season. The junior is not only the emotional leader of the defense, but also led the team in tackles and interceptions through seven games.
Pitt will now need Brandon Hill to step up in Ford’s place. While the Panthers are high on Hill, he’s still just a freshman. It’s a substantial loss for a team that already had to make do after star defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman opted out before the season.
Bet to Watch
As I mentioned earlier, both teams are coming off of a bye week. That said, I think it could benefit Florida State more under a new regime that had limited time to implement changes in the offseason.
Florida State is also getting healthier with the potential return of its two best players (Travis was also banged up, so the time off should serve him well). Meanwhile, Pitt lost its best defensive back and it looks as if the struggling Yellen will once again get the start at quarterback even though Pickett did take some reps at practice this week.
I can’t say too many good things about the Florida State defense, but I’m not sure Yellen and a poor offensive line can fully take advantage. On the other side of the ball, Pitt should still be elite defending the run, but Travis may be able to create with his legs. Also, the presumable return of Terry gives Florida State a bona-fide deep threat. The 6-foot-4 NFL prospect will boast a striking size advantage over both of Pitt’s corners, especially Marquis Williams.
Give me the ‘Noles at home against a reeling Pitt team that will most likely be without its emotional leader on offense and defense.
From a total perspective, it’s under or nothing. I think both teams will have trouble establishing the run, leading to plenty of third-and-long situations with two inefficient passing quarterbacks.
The PICK: Florida State -1.5