Pittsburgh at Boston College Betting Odds & Pick: Can Eagles Topple Pitt’s Defense? (Saturday, Oct. 10)

Credit:

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Phil Jerkovec.

  • Pittsburgh and its stout defense will travel East to take on Boston College in an ACC matchup on Saturday.
  • Quarterback Phil Jurkovec has helped the Eagles immensely, and BJ Cunningham thinks he can take advantage of a Pitt defense that struggled against NC State last week.
  • Check out Cunningham's full preview with updated odds below.

Pittsburgh at Boston College Odds

Pittsburgh Odds -6.5 [BET NOW]
Boston College Odds +6.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -240/+190 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 43 [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 4 p.m. ET
TV ACC Network

Odds as of Saturday afternoon 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.


Both Pittsburgh and Boston College dropped their first games of the year in different fashions last Saturday. The Panthers lost outright as a 14 point favorite at home against NC State, while Boston College’s upset bid against North Carolina fell short in the closing minutes.

Pittsburgh’s defense was projected to be one of the best in the ACC coming into the season. However, it was torched through the air by NC State last weekend and could be in store for another tough day against Boston College’s improved passing attack.

Boston College’s new regime under Jeff Hafley is off to a better-than-expected start in 2020. The Eagles have put together a solid few games after failing to post an eight-win season in over a decade. With plenty of talent back in 2020, a win on Saturday could propel them over the hump.


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Pittsburgh Panthers

Offense

Last season, the Panthers made an offensive transition away from their usual ground-and-pound game to more of an aerial attack. So far this year, Pittsburgh has utilized a more balanced attack, splitting play calls evenly between the run and pass. That change has seen some success in the passing game, as Kenny Pickett has improved his yards per attempt to 7.4 in 2020.

Pittsburgh’s ground game took a step back in 2019 and has taken an even further step back in 2020. The Panthers ran the ball for only 3.5 yards per attempt and ranked 104th in rushing effectiveness in 2019. Now, the Panthers are rushing the ball for only 3.1 yards per carry in 2020.

The running game will likely improve as the season goes on, as Pitt brings back its entire offensive line that includes three All-ACC players. However, Boston College’s run defense will be a big test early in the season.

Defense

The defensive side of the ball is where the Panthers excelled last year, and that defensive excellence has continued into 2020. The Pitt defense has held opponents to only 4.0 yards per play and 2.4 yards per carry in 2020.

Pittsburgh brings back eight starters on a defense that ranked in the top 30 in defensive passing and rushing success last season. The Panthers also ranked eighth in Havoc, so this defense is no joke.

The Panthers’ secondary was one of the best in the country last season, ranking 18th defensive passing success. They have two of the best safeties in the ACC in Paris Ford and Damar Hamlin, and the back end has allowed 6.3 yards per attempt in 2020.

Boston College Eagles

Offense

Boston College running back David Bailey was is in store for a potential breakout season in 2020, with four of the Eagles’ five starters back on the offensive line. However, Boston College has run the ball for only 2.4 yards per attempt and will have a difficult matchup up against Pittsburgh’s front seven.

But running the ball is not Boston College’s identity this year. The Eagles received an upgrade at quarterback with Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec entering the program. Jurkovec was the fourth-ranked dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school in 2018 and was perhaps the most successful Pennsylvania high school quarterback of all time.

So far in 2020, he’s thrown for 7.0 yards per attempt and has developed a nice connection with tight end Hunter Long. Long has already caught 25 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns this year. The Panthers allowed two passing touchdowns to NC State tight end Cary Angeline last week, so I expect Long to be Jurkovec’s No. 1 target on Saturday.

Defense

The Eagles’ defense got a big boost when fifth-year linebacker Max Richardson decided to stay for his final season. With a new head coach coming from one of the best defensive programs in the country, it’s paramount to have a senior leader on defense in a time of transition. So far, that has paid dividends; the Eagles have allowed only 5.1 yards per play.

Boston College’s defense was horrific against the pass last year, ranking 125th in defensive passing success. However, the Eagles return their entire linebacking corps and secondary and have improved to only allowing 6.9 yards per pass attempt in 2020.

With experience on the back end, they should find a way to hold Pickett and the Panther passing attack in check on Saturday.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

This game is projected to be a defensive struggle, as the total currently sits at only 44 points. The Panthers are reeling after giving up four touchdowns through the air against NC State last week. I think Boston College’s improvement in the passing game will help it move the ball on Pittsburgh’s secondary.

Boston College won this game in Pittsburgh last season by forcing four turnovers and held the Panthers to only 3.0 yards per carry. I have this game projected at Boston College -0.53, so I think there’s plenty of value on the Eagles +6 at home.

Pick: Boston College +6 (down to +2.5)

[Bet Boston College +6 at Parx up to $500 risk-free AND get a 20% profit boost if it wins]

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