Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Northwestern Wildcats Preview
Where: Yankee Stadium— Bronx, NY
When: Wednesday, December 28, 2016, 2:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ESPN
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Betting on the Pittsburgh Panthers (-5.5)
Pittsburgh has put up points relatively close to basketball scores this season, averaging 43.6 per game, the fifth-most in the nation.
A perfect testament to that was the Panthers’ regular-season finale against Syracuse, during which they piled up 644 total yards for the eventual 76-61 win. Quarterback Nathan Peterman had four touchdown passes there, while the running back duo of James Conner and Quadree Henderson bulldozed its way for 115 and 113 rushing yards, respectively, along with three scores combined.
Defensively, things have looked bleak for Pittsburgh, which has allowed 117 points in total in its last three games. To be precise, the Panthers’ pass defense is beyond atrocious, giving up a nation-worst 363.5 yards per game this season. That’s definitely a weakness that Northwestern hopes to expose further.
The Panthers are 6-4 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
Betting on the Northwestern Wildcats (+5.5)
Inconsistent accurately describes Northwestern’s offense. The team has managed 24 points or more six times this season, while also scoring just 13 or lower on four occasions. But the Wildcats finished a relatively disappointing campaign on a nice note, winning two of their final three games to help them qualify for their first bowl game in three years.
Their offense surprisingly registered 40-plus points in both victories, including 31 second-half points in the road win against Purdue. This onslaught can be heavily credited to RB Justin Jackson, who ran for five scores in those wins. He has 1,300 yards rushing with 12 TDs in total this season.
The Clay Thorson-to-Austin Carr connection is also a big reason for Northwestern’s recent success. Both have linked up for 12 touchdowns already, and that number should increase versus a Pittsburgh defense that doesn’t know how to stop anyone’s passing attack.
The Wildcats are 6-4 SU and 7-3 ATS in their past 10 games overall.
Northwestern (+5.5) upsets Pittsburgh, 37-34.
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