Compass Bowl Predictions: Pitt vs. Kentucky Odds and Betting Picks
by Robert Ferringo - 1/5/2011
So, do you want to coach the Pittsburgh Panthers in their bowl game?
Apparently no one else wants the job, as the Panthers are set to take on Kentucky in the Compass Bowl at noon on Saturday, Jan. 8 in Birmingham. Despite the look of a program in disarray, the Panthers are actually favored to topple their SEC opponent.
That the Panthers will be playing on Saturday is about the only thing standard about their bowl game. Former Coach Dave Wannstedt, who was forced to resign on Dec. 7, announced that he wouldn’t be coaching the Panthers this Saturday against the Wildcats. Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett will serve as the acting coach.
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Wannstedt was going to lead Pitt for one more game before turning over the reigns to newly hired Mike Haywood, the former Miami, OH coach. But Haywood has been arraigned on felony domestic battery charges and was promptly let go by the Panthers athletic department after holding the position of “coach in waiting” for less than three weeks.
To make matters worse, the Panthers will also be without offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. He’s the second position coach (the secondary coach also split) to leave the program heading into the Compass Bowl.
Yeah, so things are a mess around Pittsburgh. But all is not well on the Kentucky sideline either. Starting quarterback and team leader Mike Hartline has been suspended for the bowl game after being arrested in December for disorderly conduct and public intoxication. Rumor has it that he hit a woman as well and freshman Coach Joker Phillips swiftly decided to bench his senior quarterback.
But other than that, everything is pretty much normal with this game.
The Panthers finished tied for first place in the Big East and were a couple plays away from a BCS bowl game. That disappointment should be lingering. On the other hand, Kentucky barely squeezed into bowl eligibility and finished in fifth place (of six teams) in the SEC…East. So yeah, get your popcorn ready and enjoy this barnburner.
Compass Bowl Betting Odds: Pitt vs. Kentucky
The Panthers opened at -2.0, according to college bowl game odds, but the line was quickly bet up to -3.5, where is currently rests. The betting on this game is as close to 50-50 as any of the 30+ bowl games have been. The total has held firm at 52.5 since the game opened.
Compass Bowl Betting Trends: Pitt vs. Kentucky
Wildcats are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 non-conference games.
Wildcats are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
Wildcats are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a S.U. loss.
Wildcats are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games as an underdog.
Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Panthers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games as a favorite.
Panthers are 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
Panthers are 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a S.U. win.
Panthers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 bowl games.
Compass Bowl Predictions and Betting Picks: Pitt vs. Kentucky
It is tough to tell what we’re going to get out of Pittsburgh in this game. They had the most talent in the Big East this year, for whatever that’s worth, but they were shackled by the stupidity of Wannstedt. But at least his stupidity resulted in some stability. There is no way to tell how this team is going to respond to having virtually no leadership. Their coaches are dropping like flies and the whole future of the program is up in the air. I have no idea how this team can stay focused on this game.
But on the other side, Kentucky is playing without a three-year starter at quarterback. Some kid named Morgan Newton will be under center. Newton did throw 135 passes for the Wildcats last season, but was less than impressive in his starts. So what are we getting with this offense? When all else fails, take the ‘under’. Pitt is in the Top 25 in all major defensive categories while Kentucky boasts a Top 20 pass defense. Neither team has a quarterback to be scared of and I think that both will be featuring the run. Neither club has taken the field for a month-and-a-half and I have a feeling this one is going to feel like a scrimmage. Go ‘under’.
Robert Ferringo is a writer and a professional sports handicapper for Doc’s Sports. You can sign up for his college football and NFL picks and get more information here.
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