The Backyard Brawl is back!
The 127-year rivalry resumes this weekend after an 11-year hiatus when West Virginia travels down the I-79 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
No love is lost between these two teams, as evidenced by Panthers QB Kedon Slovis’ comments earlier this week. Pittsburgh is coming off an 11-3 season that saw them atop their division in the ACC, whereas the Mountaineers finished 4-6 and fifth in the Big 12. For WVU to win, this game will need to live up to its moniker.
Here’s everything you need from a betting perspective on the game between the Mountaineers and Panthers from the point spread, moneyline, total over/under and expert pick (odds via FOX Bet)
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West Virginia @ #17 Pittsburgh (7 p.m. ET Thursday, ESPN)
Point spread: Pittsburgh -7 (Pittsburgh favored to win by more than 7 points, otherwise West Virginia covers)
Moneyline: Pittsburgh -303 favorite to win (bet $10 to win $13.30 total); West Virginia +250 underdog to win (bet $10 to win $35 total)
Total scoring over/under: 52.5 points scored by both teams combined
Pittsburgh went 10-4 against the spread (ATS) and 11-3 straight up (SU) last season and the over hit in 8 of 14 games. The team is 26-23-1 ATS and 40-10 SU as a favorite under head coach Pat Narduzzi.
West Virginia went 6-7 ATS and 6-7 SU last season and hit the under in 8 of 13 games. The team is 18-16 ATS and 18-14-2 SU vs. Pittsburgh since 1978.
West Virginia head coach Neal Brown is 6-6 ATS and 3-9 SU when a road underdog. On the other hand, Pittsburgh is 13-18-1 ATS and 25-7 SU as home favorites under Narduzzi.
Pick via FOX Sports Betting Analyst Jason McIntyre:
“The backyard brawl features two former USC QBs, with JT Daniels (West Virginia) battling Kedon Slovis (Pittsburgh),” he said. “These heated rivals separated by a mere 75 miles haven’t played since 2011, when WVU won 21-20.”
“Playing at home, off last year’s tremendous season behind QB Kenny Pickett, the public is gravitating toward Pittsburgh, which returns more starters than West Virginia and has a fantastic wide receiver duo for Slovis to connect with.
“I hate the hook (7.5), and think there’s a better edge in the total. It opened at 54 in the summer and has cratered to 51.5,” he continued. “Why? Pittsburgh’s high-octane offense lost its pass-happy offensive coordinator – Mark Whipple – who liked to push tempo (9th in the country in plays per game last year) and replaced him with an old-school coach in Frank Cignetti, who turned Boston College’s offensive into a snail last year (109th in the country in plays per game).
“I like to play unders early in the college football season as coaches feel their teams out, and when you toss in the rivalry aspect, I think that’s the biggest edge in this game.”
PICK: Under 52.5 points scored by both teams combined
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