Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh Odds & Picks: Bet on a Hokies Bounce Back vs. Panthers?
Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Pat Narduzzi and the Pittsburgh Panthers.
- Hendon Hooker and the Virginia Tech Hokies will travel to Pennsylvania on Saturday to take on Kenny Pickett and the Pittsburgh Panthers.
- Despite its strong defense, Pitt has struggled in recent weeks, while Virginia Tech has blasted off with stars including Hooker and Khalil Herbert.
- Check out how BJ Cunningham is betting this game below.
Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh Odds
|Virginia Tech Odds||-3 (-115) [BET NOW]|
|Pittsburgh Odds||+3 (-105) [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-160 / +135 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||53 [BET NOW]|
|Time||4 p.m. ET|
Virginia Tech looks to bounce back after two consecutive losses when it hits the road to Pennsylvania to take on Pittsburgh in a Saturday showdown.
This season has really been a disappointment for the Hokies, who had ACC title-game aspirations at the start. Now, they sit at 4-4 and need a win to finish the season strong. The duo of Hendon Hooker and Khalil Herbert was shut down against Miami last weekend, but face a much easier test against this Panthers defense.
As for its opponent, Pittsburgh’s season has been full of ups and downs. Starting quarterback Kenny Pickett has been in and out of the lineup, and the Panthers had some of their best defensive players opt out of the season.
Yet, somehow, Pittsburgh finds itself on the .500 mark and looks to get above that number before next weekend’s meeting with Clemson.
Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech has run the ball at will this season, toting the rock for 6.1 yards per carry and ranking fifth in the nation in Rushing Success. Herbert, a Kansas transfer, may be the best back in the country, as he’s running the ball for a ridiculous 8.2 yards per carry.
Even though the Hokies have lost their last two games, Hooker has been on fire through the air and on the ground. Against Liberty, the Virginia Tech quarterback rushed for 156 yards and added 217 through the air. Hooker doesn’t attempt many passes per game compared to most college quarterbacks, but he may have to in this spot, given how good Pittsburgh’s front seven has played this season.
Even if Hooker has to attempt more passes than he wants, the Hokies should be able to break off a lot of explosive plays against a Pittsburgh defense prone to putting itself in those kind of situations.
The defensive side of the ball has been a big issue for the Hokies this season. Virginia Tech ranks 100th in Defensive Success Rate, allowing opponents to run all over it. That was big concern for the team entering the season.
The Hokies are 110th in the Defensive Rushing Success Rate, allowing 4.8 yards per carry to opposing runners. However, that shouldn’t be an issue in this contest since Pittsburgh has absolutely no run game.
The strength of the Hokies’ defense is in the back seven. Middle linebacker Rayshard Ashby is as fundamentally sound as any defender in the country. He’s already racked up a whopping 274 tackles in two-plus seasons as a starter.
So far, the Hokies have somewhat struggled against the pass, ranking 78th in Defensive Passing Success and allowing 7.7 yards per attempt. However, with a lot of experience in their secondary, Virginia Tech should keep Pittsburgh’s passing attack in check.
To say the Panthers’ offense has been struggling would be putting it lightly. Pittsburgh sits at 100th in Offensive Success Rate and 82nd in explosiveness. Both the run and the pass have been struggling, as they are near the bottom of the ACC in both Passing and Rushing Success Rate.
Pickett has missed three games this season due to injury, but when he plays, he’s been solid. The quarterback is throwing the ball for 7.7 yards per attempt and has developed a nice connection with Jordan Addison, who has 52 catches for an 11.8 yards per catch average this year.
The problem for Pittsburgh’s offense is that is struggles mightily in the running game. The Panthers average just 2.8 yards per carry and rank 125th in Offensive Line Yards. Virginia Tech is terrible versus the run, so the Panthers need to find some semblance of a rushing attack in this contest.
The defensive side of the ball is where the Panthers excelled last year, and that stellar play has continued into 2020. The Pitt defense has held opponents to just 4.2 yards per play and 2.4 yards per carry this season.
However, Pittsburgh has lost some of its best defenders, who opted out the season, including one of the best safeties in the conference in Paris Ford.
Pittsburgh has been one of the best defenses in the ACC, but it’s been prone to giving up explosive plays. It ranks 111th in the country in defensive explosiveness and 106th in passing explosiveness allowed.
That’s going to be an issue against Virginia Tech, which has one of the most explosive offenses in the country.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I think we’ll see a different Virginia Tech squad than the one we’ve seen the last few weeks. Pittsburgh’s offense is not good enough to keep pace with Hooker and Herbert, so I like the Hokies in this bounce-back spot.
I have Virginia Tech projected as -6.7 favorites, so I think there’s some value on them at -3.
Pick: Virginia Tech -3 (up to -3.5)