While I do not have a Best Bet in the Pinstripe Bowl, I wanted to at least provide a detailed betting preview for those considering betting on the game. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this betting preview and wish you a Happy New Year.
Pittsburgh enters the Pinstripe Bowl with an explosive offense that is averaging 42.3 points and 447 total yards per game at 6.7 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow just 5.5 yards per play to a mediocre offensive. The Panthers’ attack is equally effective on the ground (1.1 yards per rush attempt better than average) and in the air (1.7 yards per pass play better than average).
New LSU coordinator Matt Canada is staying on through the bowl to run Pittsburgh’s offense, and we can expect another prolific game from both running back James Connor and quarterback Nathan Peterman. The Panthers averaged an incredible 58 points per game over their final three games, including posting 76 points against Syracuse in their season finale.
Pittsburgh’s attack has also been extremely efficient inside the red zone, averaging 6.1 points per red zone opportunity (national average is 4.9 points per red zone opportunity). Northwestern fields a solid defense that is 0.4 yards per play better than average (5.4 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.8 yards per play), which is not good enough to contain Pittsburgh’s prolific attack.
Northwestern’s issue has been a subpar offense that is 0.1 yards per play worse than average, which matches up evenly with a pedestrian Pittsburgh stop unit that is 0.1 yards per play worse than average. The Wildcats’ ground game is led by tailback Justin Jackson, who garnered 1,300 rushing yards at 4.9 yards per carry in 2016.
The development of quarterback Clayton Thorson has also been impressive, and he has found a favorite target in wide receiver Austin Carr who some claim is the best receiver in the Big Ten Conference. However, Pittsburgh still possesses a significant advantage on the offensive side of the ball in this game.
The Panthers won six of their final 8 eight games, including upsetting Clemson on the road as 21.5-point underdogs. Pittsburgh is also the only team in the nation to defeat two Power 5 conference champions, while all four of its losses came against fellow bowl teams. Three of Pittsburgh’s four losses were by one score.
Finally, my math model favors Pittsburgh by nine points so we are getting excellent line value with the underrated Panthers. With Pittsburgh standing at 6-1 ATS in its last seven December affairs, lay the points with the Panthers as Oskeim Sports’ Free Pick in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Oskeim Sports’ Betting Preview & Free Pick: Pittsburgh (-4) (-110)
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