Boston College vs. Pittsburgh: Prediction & Odds (11/16/23)

Boston College will head down to Pittsburgh for a special Thursday night (11/16/23) showdown. Get Boston College vs. Pittsburgh odds, picks and predictions below as our best bet is Boston College on the moneyline at +125 odds.

Boston College vs. Pittsburgh Prediction

These teams were saddled with fairly different expectations coming into the season, and neither one has exactly fit the billing, albeit for different reasons. After a 3-9 campaign in 2022, not much improvement was expected for the Eagles, whose preseason win total was set somewhere around 5 by most sportsbooks and predictive methods. But, with two weeks to spare, the Eagles are already bowl-eligible with six victories, and it could be argued that they should have even more, if it were not for a couple of unfortunate twists.

As for Pitt, the projection for them was in the neighborhood of seven wins, but they haven’t even come close. The Panthers are 2-8 overall this year, with just a lone ACC win in a shocker over Louisville. They’ve faced some of the ACC’s best squads, and dealt with a relatively challenging non-conference schedule, but they’ve suffered some really ugly losses. Most recently, they fell to Syracuse in which the Orangemen were forced to use a tight end at quarterback for stretches and still thoroughly outplayed Pitt.
BC’s primary goal, bowl eligibility, has already been achieved, while just about every one of Pitt’s ambitions has been snuffed out for weeks. Still, there’s plenty to play for here; the Eagles would love to play themselves into the most prominent bowl possible, while the Panthers need some positives to cling onto as they look towards next season. Perhaps the lukewarm motivation levels are the reason for one of the most puzzling lines of the year; Pitt as a favorite in this game.

It’s almost impossible to come up with a rationale as to why this might be. BC is coming off of their worst performance in quite some time, and the health status of lead back Kye Robichaux is up in the air, but the disconnect between the odds and these two teams’ performance this season is staggering. This is a really rough matchup for Pitt; they’ll struggle mightily against a BC offense that excels at staying on the field, and won’t be able to fully take advantage of the aggressively mediocre Eagles defense.

Yes, it’s a strange situation to be playing ACC football on a Thursday night, but we’re still going all in and moneylining the Eagles to avoid the upset. Quarterback Thomas Castellanos may have to shoulder a bit more of the load than the team might prefer, but he’s shown time and time again that he’s up to the task in exactly these situations, and will do so once more in Pittsburgh this Thursday.

Boston College vs. Pittsburgh Prediction: Boston College ML (+125)

Boston College vs. Pittsburgh Best Odds

Pittsburgh is a surprising home favorite of three points, or -150 on the moneyline. You can bet on Boston College at +125 to win, or take either side of the 47-point total at -110 odds.

Boston College vs. Pittsburgh Key Matchups

The Panthers don’t have the offense to take advantage of even the Eagles’ porous defense, but the matchup between the Pitt rush defense and the BC ground game should be an intense one, so let’s dig in and see how things could play out.

Boston College Rushing Offense vs. Pittsburgh Run Defense

The ability to run the football has been central to the success that BC has found during the later stages of this season. It took them awhile to settle on a quarterback, but with Thomas Castellanos firmly installed at the helm, the passing game is more explosive than expected, and the ground game is certainly more dynamic.

Castellanos is the team’s leading rusher with 806 yards at a rate of 5.1 per carry, and 10 touchdowns. He’s taken the role of lead back at times amidst health issues in the BC backfield, but he’s had the benefit of running behind the 22nd-best run blocking line, by PFF’s estimation, headlined by future NFL player Christian Mahogany at guard.

BC will be running at a great Pittsburgh ground defense unit, ranking 23rd in EPA per play, comparable to the Eagles at 11th. Opponents have run for just 3.8 yards per carry against the Panthers, but they’ve seldom seen a multi-pronged rushing approach like the one BC can unleash, so it will be key for the Eagles to get Robichaux ready to go as a compliment to Castellanos to keep things unpredictable.

Pittsburgh Air Game vs. Boston College Pass Defense

If Pitt is going to find a way into this game, it’s going to be by making some big throws through the air. While the Eagles’ offense has taken flight to a degree that few expected before the season, the defense has been just as problematic as projected, and is by far the biggest reason the team hasn’t been able to really become a contender just yet. They’re particularly rough against the pass, as they rank outside of the top-100 by EPA per play on opponent dropbacks.

Former BC quarterback Phil Jurkovec came into the year expecting to be the starter, but was forced to become a tight end after being benched in favor of Christian Veilleux, a Penn State transfer who has arguably been even worse. Yes, four of his interceptions came in one game against an excellent Notre Dame, but even beyond that contest, he’s thrown seven touchdowns and four picks, and has turned it over in each of his last four games.

He’s not throwing to an elite receiver room, or behind a star-studded offensive line, but whoever’s fault it is, this is not a great air attack. It may not even be potent enough to move the ball on BC, and failure to do so would be a real issue in this one for Pitt.

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From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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