Pittsburgh vs Tennessee Picks and Predictions: Vols Still Have Holes

The Vols and Panthers both beat up on inferior opposition in Week 1 and face a slim spread with little between them. But with QB play still an issue for one side, they're tough to back. Find out which with our Pittsburgh vs Tennessee picks.

Last Updated: Sep 9, 2021 1:50 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh Panthers college football
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The Pittsburgh Panthers and Tennessee Volunteers will look to start a winning streak after both teams ended up winning their Week 1 game pretty handily. College football betting lines aren’t used to seeing Pittsburgh as favorites against other Power 5 schools, but they’ll be a three-point favorite, on the road, against the Vols, on Saturday.

The Panthers offense showed off against UMass in their first game, totaling nearly 600 yards of offense while scoring 51 points. Find out if they can do it again with our Pittsburgh vs Tennessee picks for Saturday, September 11.

Pittsburgh vs Tennessee odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

On Sunday, September 5, Pittsburgh opened as a -1.5 point favorite against Tennessee. The line quickly jumped to -2.5 for Pittsburgh on Sunday and reached up to -4 on Monday. That line movement was enough to drop the line back down to -3 where it has stuck around since. 

The total also opened at 52.5 and has now increased to as high as 57. We’ll see if this number starts to shift down after moving up 4.5 points in favor of the Over. 

Be sure to check out the full college football odds before placing your bets, and also view the full line movement for this game.

Pittsburgh vs Tennessee picks

Picks made on 9/9/2021 at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Pittsburgh vs Tennessee game info

Location: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN
Date: Saturday, September 11, 2021
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN

Pittsburgh vs Tennessee betting preview

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NCAA football weather info.

Key injuries

Pittsburgh: No Injuries Reported
Tennessee: Jimmy Calloway (Out), Aaron Willis (Out)
Find our latest NCAA football injury reports.

Betting trend to know

Panthers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a road favorite of 0.5-3.0. Find more NCAA betting trends for Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee.

Pittsburgh vs Tennessee predictions

Tennessee began a new era last Saturday under Josh Heupel, the new head coach of the Vols. They didn’t disappoint, defeating Bowling Green, 38-6 behind 470 yards of offense, while holding Bowling Green to just 219 yards against. Bowling Green was projected to be one of the worst teams in college football. So, while defeating them by a wide margin is great, it was also expected. 

The Vols recruited transfer quarterback Joe Milton to Tennessee after he struggled to find success at Michigan. He’s a highly touted prospect but hasn’t shown any of that ability on the field just yet. In Week 1, Milton threw for just 139 yards and a touchdown, giving himself a QBR of 31.4 against a team like Bowling Green. Milton can also use his feet, as he rushed for 44 yards on 14 attempts while scoring two touchdowns on the ground. At Tennessee, quarterback play is still the main question mark. 

The running game was strong, with 326 yards rushing, and the defense looked lights-out for the Vols against Bowling Green. The pass rush was effective along with the rush defense. All in all, they allowed just six points on 219 yards with 11 tackles for a loss.

However, they’re going to have to face a veteran quarterback in Kenny Pickett. Pickett is a senior quarterback for Pittsburgh with tons of experience and a nice, big arm. Pickett threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns in the 51-7 victory over UMass. Again, just like Tennessee against Bowling Green, UMass never had a chance against Pittsburgh. This will be the Panthers’ first test of the season. Pittsburgh had nearly 600 yards of offense and 375 of that came in the air. The pass protection looked air-tight and the run game still averaged 5.4 yards per rush while gaining 223 yards on the ground. 

Pittsburgh’s defense knew their assignments, made big-time tackles and were just above average in everything they did last Saturday.

At the end of the day, if Pittsburgh continues their solid tackling and stays in position to make plays, they’ll get stops against the Vols. Milton is only a threat with his legs at this point in time, while Pittsburgh has multiple threats on the offensive end.

I’ll take Pitt against the spread, even on the road.

Combined, these teams scored 89 points in Week 1. However, they faced teams like UMass and Bowling Green, two teams that are near the bottom of all of college football in rankings. 

Both defenses stepped up and did their job. Despite playing against poor teams, the D-units didn’t give up massive, big plays. For the first week of the season, limiting those types of plays is strong foundationally.

I trust Pickett and the Panthers offense to score points but I’m not going to sit here and believe they’ll score anywhere close to 50 points, on the road in a hostile environment. This has a defensive feel to it, and we know both teams are capable of running the ball and chewing clock. 

I’ll take the Under 57 in this matchup.

NCAA parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed our Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee picks, you could win $24.28 on a $10 bet?

Use our college football parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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