The Pittsburgh Panthers have some high expectations for the new season and are ready to showcase their talent. We are here to share our college football odds series while making a Pittsburgh over-under prediction and pick.
The Panthers went 9-4, including 5-3 in the ACC in 2022. Now, they look to build on that and win more games in 2023. Pittsburgh started the season with a 38-31 win over West Virginia. However, they followed that with a 34-27 overtime loss to Tennessee. The Panthers bounced back with a 34-13 win at Western Michigan and then a 45-24 victory over Rhode Island. Conversely, they followed that with a 26-21 defeat at the hands of Georgia Tech. Pittsburgh defeated Virginia Tech 45-29 in the following contest. Next, they fell 24-10 at Louisville and 42-24 at North Carolina.
But the Panthers roared back with a 19-9 win over Syracuse. Next, they won 37-7 at Virginia. Pittsburgh defeated Duke 28-6 and finished with a 42-16 win at Miami. Finally, the Panthers defeated the UCLA Bruins 37-35 in the Sun Bowl.
The Panthers lost seven players to the NFL. First, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Calijah Kancey with the 19th pick in the first round. Later, the New York Jets running back drafted Israel Abanikanda with the 143rd pick in the fifth round. They made this selection after first taking offensive tackle Carter Warren with the 120th pick in the fourth round. Next, linebacker SirVocea Dennis went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 153rd pick in the fifth round.
The Jacksonville Jaguars selected safety Erick Hallett with the 208th pick in the sixth round. Next, safety Brandon Hill fell to the Houston Texans with the 248th pick in the seventh round. Jared Wayne signed as an undrafted free agent with the Texans to join his teammate.
Here are the College Football Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: Over/Under Win Total Odds
Over 6.5 wins: -144
Under 6.5 wins: +118
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Why Pittsburgh Can Win 6.5 Games
There were so many players that departed for the NFL. However, there is still talent here that can help propel Pittsburgh to the next level and improve their win-loss record for the 2023 season.
Phil Jurkovec is the newest quarterback in town. Consequently, his last three years have been a tale of two sides. But he excelled in 2020 when he threw for 2,558 yards, 17 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Now, he hopes to replicate the effort and showcase how good he can be. Jurkovec will have two good receivers to throw to, with plenty of potential for both to have a breakout season.
Wide receiver Konata Mumpfield caught 58 catches for 551 yards and one score. Now, expect him to take the next step and deliver on his promise. Bub Means had 27 receptions for 401 yards and two scores. Likewise, he has the ability to take the next step.
The defense lost some players. Regardless, they still return many of the players from a squad that allowed 20-0r-fewer points five times. Expect the defense to rise to the occasion and step up.
Pittsburgh will win seven games because they still have a lot of talent on offense. Likewise, their defense still has great coaching and players to execute and help the Panthers steal some games.
Why Pittsburgh Can Not Win 6.5 Games
We mentioned Jurkovic's stats in 2020. However, the Boston College transfer did not have a good 2022 or 2021 season. Jurkovec threw for 1,711 yards, 11 touchdowns, and eight interceptions with a quarterback rating of 36.8 in 2022. Which quarterback will we see? Is he capable of recapturing his performance from 2020?
There are issues with the running game. Significantly, Abanikanda is gone, and the Panthers must replace his production at the halfback spot. Is there anyone that is ready to step up to the challenge?
The defense lost one of their top pass rushers, their top linebacker, and two of their safeties. Yes, the defense has good coaching and talent remaining. But they will need to replace those four who were all part of a great unit. Thus, expect some growing pains. They might still be able to generate a decent pass rush. However, the secondary might take a hit.
Pittsburgh will not win seven games because their new quarterback is not the greatest. Additionally, losing that many players on defense will hurt them.
Final Pittsburgh Over/Under Win Total Prediction & Pick
Football is a sport where you need a good quarterback and a good defense. Therefore, expect Pittsburgh to struggle to get to seven wins as they try to fill in some significant gaps.
Final Pittsburgh Over/Under Win Total Prediction & Pick: Under 6.5 wins: +118