Pittsburgh Betting Odds Preview
After 22 seasons as members of the Big East the Pittsburgh Panthers move into the Atlantic Coast Conference, although what they're doing there, we have no idea. Also, after some serious shuffling of head coaches Pitt enters its second season under Paul Chryst.
The Panthers have some key holes to fill this year, and a tough schedule. But with the talent remaining and a small sense of continuity Pitt, while a longshot to contend in the ACC, has a good chance to make a bowl for the seventh straight season.
Pittsburgh had 14 starters back for their first season under coach Chryst last year, including an experienced starting QB, so the Panthers were expected to survive the first year of yet another coaching change in decent shape. Basically that's about what happened. Pitt started terribly last season, getting upset by FCS Youngstown State and losing handily to Cincinnati. The Panthers then pulled an upset of their own, beating Virginia Tech, but later lost by a point at Syracuse, by 10 at Louisville, by a field goal (in heartbreaking fashion) in overtime at Notre Dame, and by a touchdown at Connecticut.
Pitt then won its last two games of the regular season, beating a ranked Rutgers and UCF by a combined score of 54-9, to become bowl-eligible. The Panthers then lost the Compass Bowl for the second straight season, this time to Ole Miss 38-17. So Pitt also ended up with its second straight losing record at 6-7. But almost amazingly, and thanks in part to a +12 turnover margin, the Panthers posted their sixth straight winning ATS record, going 8-5 vs the numbers.
So over the past six seasons Pitt is 43-30-2 ATS. This year the Panthers return 13 starters, just five on offense but eight on defense. They get back leading receiver Devin Street, three along the offensive line, three along the defensive line, and five of the defensive back seven. But they lose Sunseri, RB Ray Graham, and WR Mike Shanahan, and could end up going with a red-shirt freshman at QB this year.
Pitt's 2013 schedule is tough; they host Florida State, Virginia, Notre Dame, North Carolina, and Miami, and visit Duke (which made a bowl last year), Virginia Tech, Navy, Georgia Tech, and Syracuse. The Panthers were favored in seven games last year, but from afar it looks like they might only be chalked in five or six this year.
ACC Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of July 30
Florida State +240
Virginia Tech +775
North Carolina +850
Georgia Tech +1050
NC State +7000
Boston College +8500
Wake Forest +15000