Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia kicks off this Saturday at 7:30pm EST in Morgantown as a home game for the Mountaineers. West Virginia is currently a +1 underdog and -105 on the moneyline while the total is set at 50.5. Read on for more Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia best bets and predictions as the wrong team is favored coming into this one.
Pittsburgh Vs. West Virginia Prediction & Best Bet
After years of success, it was a shocking result last week for the Pittsburgh Panthers as they lost as a slight favorite to the Cincinnati Bearcats. Their elite defense has slightly regressed, and the offense has been non-existent.
A curious case as they brought in transfer quarterback Phil Jurkovec to help open up the offense and bring in a pass attack that has eluded the program the past couple years. While Phil has done a good job by throwing for 393 yards and four touchdowns, the ground game has now failed to take advantage of a stretched-out field.
The ground game is now poised to struggle mightily once again as they go against a West Virginia defense who has excelled at stopping the run. The mountaineers currently rank third in Def Rush Success Rate, first in Def Rush PPA, and first in Def Rush Explosiveness. While metrics may be inflated from easy competition early in the season, the WVU sample size includes a game against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Giving validity to their early season metrics.
Not only has WVU been able to stop the run, but they have done a good job at limiting passing consistency as well. They rank 10th in Def Pass Success Rate. One weakness worth noting is that they struggled with Pass Play Explosiveness, yet Phil Jurkovec has shown to prefer the short throw over the deep ball with an average throw rate of 7.1 yards per completion.
Worse yet for Pitt, the Havoc that West Virginia’s defense brings to the field is going to make their downfield progression even tougher. Phil has already been sacked six times this season, with five of them coming against Cincinnati. West Virginia sends relentless pressure to the backfield while their coverage is capable of breaking up passes with a Havoc rating good for second best in the nation.
Pittsburgh Vs. West Virginia Prediction & Best Bet: West Virginia ML
Pittsburgh Vs. West Virginia Betting Odds
Even with a huge edge on the defensive end, oddsmakers were skeptical of the Mountaineers chances of getting the win by opening WVU as a +2 underdog. Bettors were in disagreement with the oddsmakers, betting them up to a PK in some shops as of writing. With the vaunted Pitt defense taking a step back, this opens the door for West Virginia to squeak out the win while holding off Jurkovec on the other end.
Speaking of defense, points were expected to be scored at a quick pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 56.5. That number has since come crashing down, getting bet down to as low as 50. That comes as no surprise as the Mountaineers will deploy a rush heavy offensive attack while creating Havoc on the defensive end in an effort to slow down Pitts offense. Early outs and stalled out drives down the field may come at an abundance.
Pittsburgh Vs. West Virginia Key Matchups
Can West Virginia’s ground game continue to find success against the Pittsburgh defense?
WVU Rush Offense Vs. Pittsburgh Front Seven
In a shocking turn of events, West Virginia possesses one of the best rush attacks in the nation two weeks into the season. That sample size includes a game against Penn State, a Nittany Lions team who has NFL level talent at all three levels of their defense.
A brunt of the West Virginia rush success is because of their ability to deploy more than one effective running back. CJ Donaldson Jr and Jahiem White have combined for 247 yards and two touchdowns, both finding success when their number is called while rotating in and out.
— West Virginia Football (@WVUfootball) September 3, 2023
Not only does Pitt have to deal with the rush success from the West Virginia running backs, but their linebacking unit also has to routinely spy their quarterback Garrett Greene as well. He is a quarterback who is more than capable of burning opposing second levels with his running ability.
Because of the versatility in the backfield, West Virginia currently ranks 21st in Rush Success Rate, third in Rush PPA, and 12th in Rush Explosiveness. With Pitts metrics regressing back to average outside of Def Rush Success Rate, the Mountaineers will routinely find themselves cutting the distance to gain in half with ease.