Odds, Picks and Predictions for Virginia vs. Pitt: Bet is Dependent on Armstrong’s Status

Odds, Picks and Predictions for Virginia vs. Pitt: Bet is Dependent on Armstrong’s Status article feature image
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Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Brennan Armstrong.

  • Pittsburgh can clinch the ACC Coastal division with a victory over Virginia.
  • Meanwhile, the Cavs are hoping to get Brennan Armstrong back so they can try to snap a two-game losing streak.
  • Alex Hinton breaks down the matchup.

Virginia vs. Pitt Odds

Saturday, Nov. 20
3:30 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Virginia Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+14.5
-110
66
-110o / -110u
+460
Pitt Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-14.5
-110
66
-110o / -110u
-650
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Virginia and Pitt have met 12 times historically, and seven of those have come since Pitt joined the ACC in 2013. None of those meetings have had the stakes of this weekend’s game.

Virginia will enter this one at 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the ACC, while Pitt is 8-2 and 5-1 in the conference.

If the Cavaliers win, they will have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Pitt and will clinch the ACC Coastal with a win over Virginia Tech next week. If Pitt wins, the Panthers will be ACC Coastal champs on Saturday.

While a division championship will be on the line, it might not feel like Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong won’t play. And if he does, there may be a ton of offensive fireworks.


Virginia Cavaliers

The main story regarding Virginia entering this week is Armstrong’s health.

The Cavaliers quarterback left the game against BYU two weeks ago with an injury to his ribs, and he missed last week’s loss to Notre Dame. As of Thursday, he’s day-to-day.

There are a few reasons why Armstrong’s status is such a big deal.

When healthy, Armstrong has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country this season. He’s completing 64.3% of his passes and has 3,557 passing yards, 27 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. The Cavaliers are 15th in Passing Success Rate and average 40 points per game when Armstrong plays.

True freshman Jay Woolfolk was overmatched against a strong Notre Dame defense last week, when the Cavaliers managed only 278 total yards and three points, well below their season averages.

Virginia also wants to put the ball in the air, throwing the ball on nearly 61% of its offensive snaps.

Armstrong is also vital to the Cavaliers’ success because, for as many points they score, their defense gives them right back up.

Virginia is 99th in scoring defense (30.5 points per game) and 120th in total defense, giving 461.9 yards. The UVA defense struggles to defend the run and the pass, giving up over 200 YPG in each area.

The Cavaliers are 77th in Finishing Drives and 111th in Havoc. It will be a long day against this Pitt offense.

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Pitt Panthers

On a wet and rainy night, Pitt grinded out a 30-23 overtime win over North Carolina last Thursday night.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett continued his impressive season with a 346-yard, three-touchdown performance. For the season, he’s completing 67.5% of his passes for 3,517 yards, 32 touchdowns and four interceptions.

The Panthers are second in the country in total offense at 531.1 YPG and fourth in scoring at 43.5 PPG. Pitt doesn’t beat itself and capitalizes on its scoring opportunities. The Panthers rank 12th in Havoc Allowed and seventh in Dinishing Drives.

Wide receiver Jordan Addison has been Pickett’s top target all season, and he was recently named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award. Addison has hauled in 60 passes for 1,070 yards, and 11 touchdowns, which leads the country.

The Panthers play an attacking style of defense and thrive on getting after opponents. The Panthers rank 11th in Havoc and third nationally with 36 sacks.

Last week, Pitt sacked UNC quarterback Sam Howell five times and limited the Tar Heels to 88 yards rushing. The Panthers have six different players with at least three sacks, led by defensive end Habakkuk Baldonado.

However, Pitt’s defense can be attacked through the air. The Panthers are 88th in passing yards allowed per game (242.9) and 61st in passing play explosiveness allowed. Armstrong could have a big day if he’s healthy.


Virginia vs. Pitt Matchup Analysis

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

Virginia Offense vs. Pitt Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 42 19
Line Yards 9 12
Pass Success 9 24
Pass Blocking** 15 72
Big Play 2 41
Havoc 71 10
Finishing Drives 29 35
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pitt Offense vs. Virginia Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 52 97
Line Yards 49 115
Pass Success 5 113
Pass Blocking** 46 123
Big Play 5 109
Havoc 12 109
Finishing Drives 7 77
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 73 81
Coverage 65 79
Middle 8 29 1
SP+ Special Teams 78 49
Plays per Minute 36 17
Rush Rate 39.1% (127) 48.5% (106)

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


Virginia vs. Pitt Betting Pick

I would not lock in a ticket on this game before hearing about Armstrong’s status.

If Armstrong is out, I would take the Panthers to cover. Virginia’s defense will not get many stops against this Pitt offense. Additionally, Pitt’s defense is better than Notre Dame’s and will cause similar problems for a Woolfolk-led Cavaliers offense.

However, given the ACC Coastal is on the line, I would expect that Armstrong will give it a go. If he does, this game will be a shootout.

Armstrong and Pickett are two of the best quarterbacks not only in the ACC but nationally as well. They each have favorable matchups against coverage units that rank 65th (Virginia) and 79th (Pitt), according to PFF.

Additionally, the weather on Saturday is shaping up to be overcast in the low 50s and with little wind. You couldn’t ask for much better throwing conditions for a November game in Pittsburgh.

The over is 7-3 in Pitt games this season and 4-2 in its home games. I would play it up to 68.

Pick: Over 65.5 (Play to 68)

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