Wake Forest has struggled to stay on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble, but all road wins mean something. Can the Demon Deacons get one against Pitt on Wednesday? The Panthers are a very slight home favorite at -120 on the moneyline, with the over/under 142.5 points.
Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh Prediction
Wake Forest is allowing an average of more than 83 points per game on the road in ACC play, even while facing some teams outside the NCAA Tournament picture. The Demon Deacons are going to need a much better defensive effort to get the win at Pitt, where Blake Hinson could burn their defense similar to the way R.J. Davis did last week.
The Panthers have had their share of offensive struggles against tough teams this season, getting held to less than 60 points against North Carolina, Duke, and Syracuse, but Wake Forest hasn’t shown it’s likely to put the same defensive pressure on Jeff Capel’s team.
Pitt’s defense has held pretty steady in ACC play, not allowing 80+ points in any game since December, and an offense that feels comfortable against Wake Forest should have enough in the tank to pull out a home victory. Pitt moneyline (-120) has enough value to be the best bet on Wednesday.
Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh Prediction: Pittsburgh moneyline (-120)
Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh Odds
Pitt enters as a slight home favorite at -120 on the moneyline, with Wake Forest a 1-point underdog. The over/under is 142.5 points.
Wake Forest has been the better team this season, but a leaky defense on the road should have some concerned against a Pitt team that showed its potential when it won at Duke.
Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh Key Matchups
Here are some key matchups that could impact Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh.
Blake Hinson vs. Wake Forest Defense
Pitt often goes as far as Blake Hinson takes them. The Panthers are 3-4 when Hinson is held under 15 points and 9-4 when he scores 15+. Can Hinson put together a big day against a vulnerable Wake Forest defense?
The Demon Deacons’ defense has graded out near the middle of the pack nationally this season, but it’s hurt them on the road. In four ACC road games, Wake Forest has allowed 78, 83, 85, and 87 points — three of the four were losses.
Wake Forest let R.J. Davis get loose and score 36 points this past weekend, and Hinson (41% from three) could do damage from beyond the arc against a Demon Deacons defense that has had a hard time defending the three against ACC opponents – that’s a major reason for my Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh prediction.
Both of these teams are generally careful with the ball, but Pitt especially has limited mistakes with only 9.8 turnovers per game – a top-25 mark in the country. The Panthers beat Duke by turning over the ball only eight times in a tough environment, and they even held themselves to just three turnovers in a close loss to Miami over the weekend.
Considering Pitt hasn’t had consistent success this season even with a lack of turnovers, it’s critically important that the Panthers don’t regress in that department.
Wake Forest forces nearly 12 turnovers per game, a slightly below-average mark, and that dips to 10.3 per game on the road against ACC teams. Wake Forest doesn’t necessarily need to win the turnover battle to win this game, but forcing Pitt into uncharacteristic turnovers would put the Demon Deacons in a great position.
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