It wasn’t so long ago that a Pitt football backer could get 66/1 odds on the team winning the ACC title from the Pennsylvania online sportsbooks. That early September opportunity has passed, just like days spent at the beach or barbecuing on the patio.
By virtue of a surprisingly high-powered offense and even more by disappointing early-season performances across the rest of the conference, the best price for Pitt to win its first ACC championship is now +350 at DraftKings and sites using Kambi odds, such as BetRivers, Unibet, and TwinSpires. Only Clemson has shorter odds, ranging from +110 to +125.
And that comes with the Panthers having played only one game in the conference, a 52-21 whipping of Georgia Tech two weeks ago before a bye week.
Virginia Tech is in a similar boat, having played and won its only ACC contest, and the two teams are tied atop the ACC Coastal at 1-0. That adds considerable import to Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. meeting between the teams in Blacksburg, where Pitt is uncharacteristically favored to win in front of a hostile Hokies crowd.
Pitt catches Hokies after their Notre Dame letdown
Most betting sites Friday morning had Pitt favored by 5 points, but FanDuel had a better option for those betting the Panthers: -4.5 with slightly inflated vig at -112.
The best moneyline return one could get for a Panthers win was the -200 offered by DraftKings, FOX Bet, and Caesars.
The points total over/under was either 55.5 or 56, depending on the site, with an “over” bettor best off using the 55.5 offered by FOX Bet at reduced juice of -105.
That opportunity for the over is very much in play if Pitt continues what it has done thus far, averaging 52.4 points per game, tops in the nation. Of course, Virginia Tech’s defense is considerably stouter than the defenders put on the field by the likes of the New Hampshire Wildcats.
The Hokies are only allowing 18.6 points per game, and in their lone ACC game, the season opener, they stifled North Carolina, 17-10.
Virginia Tech is coming off an extremely disappointing home loss, however, having led Notre Dame by 8 points with less than four minutes to play Saturday before losing 32-29 on a field goal with 17 seconds remaining.
The Hokies’ junior quarterback, Braxton Burmeister, had to leave part of that game with an injured shoulder, but he returned and will be under center against the Panthers.
Fringe Heisman candidate for Panthers
Pitt’s quarterback, as has been the case in at least one game every year since 2017, is fifth-year senior Kenny Pickett, whose sterling performances — albeit against questionable competition — have nudged him up to eighth in DraftKings’ Heisman Trophy odds at 40/1.
Pickett has completed 72% of his passes for 19 touchdowns with one interception. Against Georgia Tech, he threw for 389 yards and four TDs, with receivers Jordan Addison and Taysir Mack both going over 100 yards receiving with a TD.
Those are the type of performances that would have Pitt in national rankings if not for an upset loss to Western Michigan last month. The Panthers, and those holding 66/1 tickets on them from early September, will forget all about that blemish if take another step Saturday toward getting to the conference title game in Charlotte in December.
Photo: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY