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Pittsburgh vs. NC State Betting Odds & Pick: Oddsmakers Can’t Set This Over/Under Low Enough (Saturday, Oct. 3)

Pittsburgh vs. NC State Betting Odds & Pick: Oddsmakers Can’t Set This Over/Under Low Enough (Saturday, Oct. 3) article feature image

Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kenny Pickett.

  • There's a reason the Pittsburgh vs. NC State matchup sports one of Saturday's lowest college football totals -- but it's still not low enough.
  • With the Pitt defensive line's edge over the NC State offensive line coupled with the Wolfpack's pourous run defense, this is the perfect low-scoring recipe.
  • Our betting analyst Pete Ruden explains why this matchup has all the makings to still go under the 46.5-point total below.

Pittsburgh vs. NC State Odds

Pittsburgh Odds -13.5 [BET NOW]
NC State Odds +13.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -530/+380 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 46.5 [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
TV ACC Network

Odds updated Saturday morning and via Parx, which offers new customers a 20% profit boost + $500 risk-free wager on their first bet AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.

There are a lot of differences between Pittsburgh and North Carolina State.

For one, the Panthers boast one of the best defenses in all of college football. The Wolfpack? Not so much.

NC State enters the game with a 1-1 record after picking up a solid victory over Wake Forest in its first game before suffering a 45-24 thrashing at the hands of Virginia Tech last week.

Pitt, meanwhile, has cruised to a 3-0 start, including a win over then-No. 24 Louisville.

With more ACC action on the docket, let’s take a look at this matchup’s most actionable angle.

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Pittsburgh Panthers

Pittsburgh boasts a seemingly impenetrable defense, which has helped propel it to its 3-0 record by holding opponents to a shutout, 10 and 20 points, respectively.

In addition to tying for sixth in scoring defense at 10 points per game — the best mark of any program that has played three games — the Panthers also sit at second in total defense, giving up just 177 yards per game.

A key reason for that is Pitt’s pass rush.

The Panthers lead the nation in sacks, racking up 17 through their first three games. For those keeping track at home, that’s 5.67 a game.

Rashad Weaver and Patrick Jones II both have 3.5 sacks on the season, while seven other players have added at least one. That shows the depth of this Pitt defense, most notably in the trenches.

This isn’t just a fluky stat to start the season, either. In 2019, the Panthers ranked sixth nationally in sack rate, taking opposing quarterbacks down on 10.6% of dropbacks, per Football Outsiders.

The D-line’s mouths will only be salivating more this week as it takes on an NC State offense that has given up the 11th-most sacks in the country. Through two games, the Wolfpack have allowed their quarterback to go down seven times.

Offensively, the Panthers have been solid, but nothing special: Pitt is a middle-of-the-pack team in both total offense and scoring offense, ranking 10th (391.3) and seventh (33.0), respectively.

The Panthers average only 22 points per game in ACC play, but when their defense is as good as it is, they don’t need many points to win.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett has posted a solid stat line with 712 yards, five touchdowns and two picks through three games. On the ground, running backs Vincent Davis, A.J. Davis and Israel Abanikanda have combined for 307 yards and three scores.

NC State Wolfpack

Even with its abysmal protection of the quarterback, NC State has found a way to move the ball at a slightly better rate than Pitt: The Wolfpack rank eighth in the ACC at 424.5 yards a game compared to the Panthers’ 391.3 at 10th.

But even going back to last season, NC State has not been an explosive team. Its Explosive Drive Rate of 0.91 from 2019 ranked 108th in the country, per Football Outsiders. Still, it has improved on that through two games in 2020: The Wolfpack sit fifth in the ACC with 14 plays of 20 or more yards, topping both Clemson and Notre Dame in the category.

That said, I’ve never been one for a two-quarterback system, and head coach Dave Doeren throwing both Bailey Hockman and Devin Leary into action within the first two games — then not naming a starter for this game — doesn’t sit well with me.

The Wolfpack’s biggest problem, however, comes on defense.

NC State is 12th out of 15 teams in the ACC, giving up more than 440 yards per game. And it ranks dead last in rushing defense, allowing more than 230 yards on the ground.

The loss of Larrell Murchison, who was drafted by the Tennessee Titans, hurts the team as much as anything.

Remember when I mentioned the Wolfpack improving on the explosive play front on the offensive side of the ball? The same can’t be said about its defense: The NC State defense has given up six plays of 30 or more yards and 11 plays of 20 or more yards through two games in 2020.

There’s no question that Pitt’s defense will play a huge role in this game.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

On one side of the ball, I think NC State’s offensive line will be completely overmatched by Pitt’s defensive line, and the Panthers will wreak havoc on whichever quarterback Doeren throws into action.

On the other side, Pitt will have to rely on its ground attack against this porous NC State run defense.

Now, I’m no math major, but I took one math class my freshman year of college, and it taught me one thing: More sacks + more running = more clock ticking away.

Neither team will wow you on offense or run up the score.

With the Panthers set up to attack NC State’s holes on the ground and the Wolfpack’s probable inability to move the ball against a stout Pitt defense, the recipe for the under is there.

Let’s hope the sacks keep coming for Pitt, and let’s hope Pitt recognizes the defensive weakness of its opponent.

Pick: Under 47 (-110)

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