Last week, Pitt was given a 4 percent chance to win the ACC Coastal by ESPN, which based its calculations on its Football Power Index. On Monday, Vegas oddsmakers weighed in on the program’s chances to win an ACC title, and the outlook was similarly dreary.
Odds to win ACC via @LVSuperBook:— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) May 11, 2020
Miami, UNC 12/1
FSU, Louisville, Virginia Tech 25/1
NC State, Virginia 80/1
Duke, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest 200/1
BC, Syracuse 300/1
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook placed Pitt’s odds of winning the ACC at 60-1. Those odds aren’t the longest in the conference by any stretch. In fact, defending ACC Coastal champion Virginia is one of seven programs with slimmer odds at a title than Pitt.
However, three teams that posted worse records than Pitt in 2019 (Florida State, Miami and North Carolina) and two that finished on equal footing (Louisville and Virginia Tech) were given significantly better odds of winning a conference trophy than Pitt. Specifically, Florida State, Louisville and Virginia Tech were given 25-1 odds, and Miami and North Carolina were given 12-1 odds. The favorite, as expected, is Clemson, with 1-6 odds.
Considering Clemson has dominated the ACC for the last five years, the odds the programs behind the Tigers are given ahead of each new season will go down as footnotes in history until that dynasty dies. However, for the time being, the odds given by both ESPN and Vegas serve as an extension of a longstanding pattern of behavior among tastemakers in the sport. Once again, Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech are given the benefit of the doubt despite poor results. And once again, Pitt is overlooked despite positive results, an elite defense and progress under Pat Narduzzi.
With that said, Vegas’ view of Pitt has improved significantly over the past two years, as the SuperBook placed Pitt’s odds of winning the ACC title at 100-1 in 2018. The only team with worse odds was Virginia at 300-1. Pitt ended up winning the ACC Coastal and facing Clemson in the conference championship, and Virginia was one of its top division competitors. Meanwhile, heavily favored teams like Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech finished 5-7, 7-6 and 6-7, respectively.
While Pitt’s odds are disappointing for those in the team’s corner, there is reason for Vegas to doubt Pitt, as the offense remains a work in progress. On the positive side, Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett threw for more than 3,000 yards, and the Panthers averaged 261.7 passing yards per game, ranking 38th in the nation in passing offense. However, the Pitt running game was almost non-existent, as its 118.7 yards per game ranked 118th of 130 programs. The team also struggled to put points on the board, as its subpar 21.2 points per game ranked 112th in the nation.
The defense, which will return Keyshon Camp, Paris Ford, Damar Hamlin, Patrick Jones, Jaylen Twyman and Rashad Weaver, will be loaded and should be able to make up for some offensive deficiencies. However, Pitt’s ability to break through and post a 10-win season, which should be the goal as Narduzzi enters the sixth year of his tenure, will likely hinge on the success of its offense.