Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh Week 6 Free Pick & Odds
The University of Pittsburgh was one of the surprise teams in the ACC last season, in a good way. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets also were a surprise, in a bad way. The two teams meet in Week 6 of the 2016 season in the Steel City with the Panthers as early 5.5-point favorites on NCAA football lines.
How To Bet on the Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh Week 6 Free Pick, Odds & TV Info
When: Saturday, Oct. 8, TBD
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Radio: Georgia Tech / Pittsburgh
Opening NCAAF Lines: Pitt -5.5
Georgia Tech vs Pittsburgh Historical Betting Trends
Last season, Georgia Tech hosted Pittsburgh on Oct. 17 and lost 31-28, the Jackets’ fifth straight loss at the time — remember, they played in the ACC title game in 2014. In last year’s game, Nate Peterman threw a career-high three touchdown passes and Chris Blewitt kicked a 56-yard field goal in the closing minutes to win for Pitt. Tyler Boyd had eight catches with two touchdowns to become Pitt’s career leading receiver, and the Panthers burned all but 1 minute, 4 seconds of the final 8:13 with a 14-play drive that ended on Blewitt’s school record-long kick. Boyd is now in the NFL. Pitt’s defense gave up a whopping 337 yards in the first half, but the Panthers recovered to hold Georgia Tech’s potent rushing attack to just 112 yards rushing in the second half.
Why Bet on Georgia Tech
The Jackets better have a good bounce-back season or Coach Paul Johnson and his triple-option attack will be gone. Tech was just 3-9 last year and some are saying Johnson’s option just doesn’t work these days. For the first time in Johnson’s tenure, it’s easy to say that the 2015 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets’ biggest problem was offense. After record-setting offensive potency in 2014, the script was flipped in 2015, with the Yellow Jackets scoring under 30 points per game for the first time since 2010. Their 5.27 yards per rushing attempt were the second-lowest in Johnson’s tenure, as were their 5.85 yards per play After Georgia Tech’s worst season in 21 years, Johnson chose not to clear out his staff, an indication of his trust in his assistants to help right the Yellow Jackets’ ship.
“While you don’t get any carryover, and you don’t think about it, just two seasons ago, we won 11 games and the Orange Bowl,” Johnson said. “So, it’s not like you blow up the whole thing and go, ‘Oh, woe is me,’ but you have to be realistic and look at it and go, ‘Hmm, we’ve got do better at this or this or this.’ We’ve got to.”
Tech did not lack for problems in its 3-9 season. A year after tying the NCAA record for third-down conversion rate, the Jackets fell to 108th at 34.9 percent. The defense, counted on to improve from 2014, was slightly better but still 91st in yards per play allowed (5.82). The kickoff return team averaged a meager 19 yards per return, 106th in the country.
Why Bet on Pittsburgh
The Panthers will have one of the best running backs in the nation in James Conner. He was the ACC Player of the Year in 2014 but missed 2015 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Conner is cancer-free now. Conner finished his 12th and final chemotherapy treatment May 10. Throughout the ordeal, Conner and Pitt coach Narduzzi maintained that he would be ready to play in the season opener against Villanova on Sept. 3.
Conner ran for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2014 when he was named the best player in the ACC. Conner tore his MCL in the second game of the season in 2015 before being diagnosed with the lymphoma. Pitt will also return WR Tre Tipton. He played in the Panthers’ first four games but injured his knee in practice and spent the rest of the year watching from the sidelines. Tipton will compete for playing time and catches alongside Dontez Ford, Quadree Henderson, Zach Challingsworth and Jester Weah as the Panthers attempt to replace Boyd, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Pitt has a terrific head coach in Pat Narduzzi. Narduzzi, who formerly was the defensive coordinator under Mark Dantonio at Michigan State, led the Panthers to their most regular-season wins since 2009. Narduzzi was given a contract extension already through 2021. His specialty is defense and Pitt's was one of the best in the country.
My Free Pick
Georgia Tech will be better than last year, but go Pitt on NCAAF betting lines.