Defeating your rival is one way to get a season going off the ropes back. That's an opportunity that each of these teams will have when West Virginia and Pittsburgh meet up.
The Panthers season started with promise, but it's been anything but that lately. Pitt has now lost three of its four, and some of those games (like Missouri) were ones where the Panthers were multiple-possession favorites. It'll enter this matchup off a 9-point loss to ACC conference mate Clemson. Things for West Virginia have started like you'd expect them after an offseason of calamity. The Mountaineers enter this matchup at 3-4 and losers of two of its last three.
Pittsburgh vs West Virginia best odds
Pittsburgh vs West Virginia picks and predictions
The Pittsburgh Panthers are the better team here. There isn't much of a question.
It has the more experienced coach in Jeff Capel, and if you look at the recruiting rankings, it certainly has the more talented team. With that in the foreground, it should be expected to do the job tonight, even in a hostile environment. As my best bet, I'm grabbing Pittsburgh to cover this 4.5-point spread tonight. I projected them to be a 6-point favorite, so while the edge may be slight, it's enough of one. Unfortunately for the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Panthers have just too many advantages.
This year's Backyard Brawl will see a team in West Virginia that struggles mightily to shoot against a defense that has defended very well. The Mountaineers are way down there regarding raw field goal percentage, ranking 332nd in the country. That's not something you'd expect to improve against a Pittsburgh team that has defended the way it has early this season. It'll enter this matchup ranking 30th overall in field goal percentage. Beyond that, Pitt is well equipped to shut down the main methods of offense for West Virginia.
WVU wants to try to speed up the game as much as possible because a spot-up shooting percentage of 26% shows when it can't. The problem for West Virginia is that Pittsburgh has been a tremendously good transition defense. On the season, it's held opponents to scores on just 34% of their transition attempts, which is suitable for second-best in the ACC. If the offense can't come there, I'm still determining where it comes from.
On the other side of the ball, I like some of the things that Pittsburgh can do on offense. In the wake of Bob Huggins' departure, it lost some of its defensive identity. The toughness that had become synonymous with that program has virtually disappeared, and it's gotten much more accessible to score on.
One of the places they've gotten easier to score is on simple spot-up sets. They are simply giving up too many open looks and at too high of a clip. In this one, West Virginia has allowed .96 points per possession on spot-up sets, which ranks in the bottom 25% of basketball. In addition to that, shooters are seeing about half of these shots open and scoring at a similar clip. This is a place where Pittsburgh should have a good amount of success. It's pretty simple: Pittsburgh has been able to shoot the ball well, and West Virginia hasn't. In this spot, Blake Hinson, Ishmael Leggett, and Carlton Carrington are all shooting above average, allowing them to inflict some damage.
Let's keep this one simple.
Pittsburgh is the better team with a better coach and has some lovely mismatches. It has the potential to shoot lights out in this spot because it won't be defended exceptionally well. Conversely, I am still determining where West Virginia will get enough offense to hang with a team I expect to score in the mid-70s.
My best bet: Pittsburgh -3.5 (-110 at FanDuel)
Pittsburgh vs West Virginia same-game parlay
We're taking today's best bet and pairing it with a player prop for a solid cash out.
Blake Hinson has a tremendous matchup in this spot. As we noted above, he's facing a team that has defending shooters well at all, and he'll enter this game with a true shooting percentage of 68% on spot-up sets. I'll take him to exceed this number and continue his hot shooting.
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Pittsburgh vs West Virginia spread and Over/Under analysis
Our best bet on Pittsburgh is built on the fundamental belief that these teams won't have some dramatic deportation from what they've been for much of the season. West Virginia hasn't been able to shoot, open, or guard, and Pittsburgh has. I see no reason for changes in this spot.
The Panthers opened up at -3.5 point favorites, which is where this has remained. Pittsburgh has covered just one game in three of its last times out, but it's matched up by its counterpart, as West Virginia has done the same.
The total in this one is 138.5. I have no particular feel for it, and I'd instead not rely on the poor West Virginia shooting team to help me out here. I'd be more interested in the Pittsburgh Team Total Over, but since I'm already on the spread, I'll pass on further exposing myself. West Virginia had its first game over in its most recent one against St John's. Before then, it had been on an extensive run of Unders.
Pittsburgh vs West Virginia betting trend to know
Pittsburgh has hit the Moneyline in 22 of their last 34 games (+10.25 Units / 8% ROI). Find more college basketball betting trends for Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia.
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Pittsburgh vs West Virginia game info
|WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, WV
|Wednesday, December 6, 2023
|9:00 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh vs West Virginia key injuries
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