The Pittsburgh Panthers go and visit the Western Michigan Broncos in Kalamazoo, Michigan in a rare road contest for a Power Five team visiting a Group of Five team. The Broncos shocked Pitt last year on the road, so this sets up to be a very interesting matchup. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this matchup!
Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Western Michigan Broncos Odds
Pitt comes into this game as a 10.5-point favorite in most sportsbooks, and also the over/under sits at 53. The spread tells you that oddsmakers respect the Broncos here and aren’t expecting Pitt to just roll over them in a revenge spot from last year. Western Michigan’s offense has been inconsistent so far, from only scoring 13 points in Week 1 then scoring 37 in Week 2. The Pitt offense is a bit of a mystery too with Kedon Slovis being injured against Tennessee. The over/under says these offenses should be good enough to still score when needed, even with a potential backup for Pitt at quarterback.
Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Western Michigan Broncos Prediction & Pick
Last year’s result seems like an outlier now when you look back on it. Pitt lost a lot from last year, mainly, Kenny Pickett at quarterback, but they’ve gotten off to a decent start so far, by beating West Virginia and losing to Tennessee in overtime this past week. They’ve been battle-tested so far, so Western Michigan shouldn’t be much of a challenge compared to their first two games. A road game for a Power Five team against a Group of Five team always has some weirdness that comes along with it, but I’m still trusting the Panthers enough here to cover the spread. The Panther defense is very formidable should cause a lot of issues for Western Michigan in this game. Despite the injuries, expect Kyle Patti to lead the Pitt offense to more than enough points, or maybe Kedon Slovis comes back too. We also have evidence of the Broncos playing a Power Five team already and it was a game against Michigan State where they struggled throughout the game on offense. Regardless, I don’t see any issues for this Panther offense to be able to move the ball against the Broncos, and I also see the Pitt Panthers’ defense being able to cause all sorts of problems for Western Michigan too and it’s why I ultimately love the cover here as the pick. This should be a more of a tune-up just like Pitt’s next game against Rhode Island too before ACC play starts.
Pittsburgh Vs. Western Michigan Prediction: Pittsburgh -10
Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Western Michigan Broncos Key Matchups
Western Michigan’s Offensive Line vs Pittsburgh’s Defensive Line
Pitt’s defensive line is a massive strength for them on defense, and probably the best unit they have overall. The question is how can Western Michigan stop this line, if at all? The Broncos have an offensive line that was going through transition before the year, and the results have been mixed at best. Of the two games Western Michigan’s played, the best comparison to Pitt’s defensive line is Michigan State’s and they allowed seven sacks to the Spartans in Week 1. Pitt got three sacks a piece in both their games so far, and that competition was much higher than what they are about to face this week. I, personally, think that the Pitt defensive line is going to get after Western Michigan quarterback, Jack Salopek, early and often and I don’t think the Broncos are going to have much of an answer for Pitt’s defensive line. I think this is ultimately, the difference in the game.