Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia odds: 2022 college football picks, Backyard Brawl predictions from proven model

The West Virginia Mountaineers kick off their season on Thursday when they take on the 17th-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers in a rivalry known as the Backyard Brawl. Thursday’s matchup will renew the Backyard Brawl series, which was last played in 2011. The Mountaineers (6-7 in 2021) are coming off a fifth-place finish in the Big 12, tied with Kansas State and four games behind regular-season champion Oklahoma State. The Panthers (11-3 last season) won the ACC Coastal Division, two games better than Miami (Fla.).

Kickoff from Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh is set for 7 p.m. ET. The Panthers lead the all-time series 61-40-3, including a 41-22 edge in games played at Pittsburgh. The Panthers are 7.5-point favorites in the latest West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over/under for total points scored is set at 52. Before making any Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia picks or Week 1 college football predictions, you need to see what SportsLine’s advanced computer model has to say.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past six-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $3,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It enters Week 1 of the 2022 college football season on a 45-32 run on all top-rated college football spread and money-line picks that dates back to 2021. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Pitt vs. WVU and locked in its picks and CFB predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Here are several college football odds and betting lines for WVU vs. Pitt:

  • West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh spread: Pitt -7.5
  • West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh over/under: 52 points
  • West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh money line: WVU +250, Pitt -320
  • WVU: The Mountaineers are 10-3 against the spread in their last 13 September games
  • PITT: The Panthers are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games
  • West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh picks: See picks at SportsLine

Featured Game | Pittsburgh Panthers vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

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Why Pittsburgh can cover

The Panthers’ offense, which averaged over 40 points per game last season, got a boost from the transfer portal. With Kenny Pickett graduating, Pitt had a big hole to fill at quarterback. Senior Kedon Slovis fills that role after transferring from USC and has been named the Panthers’ starter against the Mountaineers. In three seasons at Southern Cal, he played in 27 games, making 26 starts. In that stretch, he completed 652 of 953 passes (68 percent) for 7,576 yards and 58 touchdowns with 24 interceptions. As a freshman in 2019, Slovis threw for 3,502 yards and 30 touchdowns with nine interceptions, completing 282 of 392 passes (72 percent).

Pitt also returns its top rusher in junior running back Israel Abanikanda. Abanikanda led the Panthers in rushing yards (651) and rushing touchdowns (seven) on 123 carries last season, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. He also led the team in kickoff returns, averaging a team-best 29.4 yards per attempt, returning seven kicks for 206 yards and a touchdown. That TD was a 98-yard return in a 48-38 win over Virginia on Nov. 20.

Why West Virginia can cover

Despite that, the Panthers are not a lock to cover the West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh spread. That’s because the Mountaineers know how to win and enter the season as the 15th winningest program in college football. West Virginia is 91-34-4 all-time in season openers, including a 17-5 mark since 2000. The Mountaineers are 64-59-2 in road openers, including 19-14-1 in season openers on the road.

Junior J.T. Daniels, a transfer from Georgia, will make the start at quarterback for WVU. Daniels registered a 7-0 record as the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs. He was Georgia’s second-leading passer last season, completing 68 of 94 attempts for 722 yards and seven touchdowns. Daniels completed 22 of 30 passes for 135 yards in the season-opening win over No. 3 Clemson, but missed time due to injury and ultimately lost his starting job.

How to make West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning Under on the point total, projecting the teams to combine for 49 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits in well over 50% of simulations. You can only see the model’s pick at SportsLine.

So who wins WVU vs. Pitt? And which side of the spread hits in well over 50% of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its college football picks.

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