BBVA Compass Bowl Picks: Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Mississippi Rebels

Doc MosemanCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2012

OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 15:  Bo Wallace #14 of the Ole Miss Rebels is seen in pregame warmups before the game against the Texas Longhorns at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Pittsburgh will try and finish over .500 on the year after posting a 6-6 straight up record in the regular season that included a disappointing 3-4 record in the Big East. They went 7-4-1 against the spread after covering in five of their last six games, including a stunning 27-6 victory over Rutgers on Nov. 24 as a 1.5-point home favorite. The total has stayed “under” in their last three games.

Ole Miss had one of its best seasons since 2009 with an overall record of 6-6 SU and a 3-5 SU record in the brutal SEC. They went a profitable 9-3 ATS, including a 7-2 record ATS in their last nine games. The total has gone “over” in their last three games.


Pitt vs. Ole Miss Betting Storylines

This will be the Panthers final game as a member of the Big East after deciding to jump ship to the ACC starting next season. As traditionally one of the football powers in their former conference, they have to be disappointed with the losing season in their final campaign after posting a winning record in the Big East the previous four years.

Offensively, Pitt relied heavily on the play of quarterback Tino Sunseri, who completed 66.5 percent of his throws for 3,103 yards and 19 touchdowns while limiting his interceptions to just two. While the Panthers did average 263 yards a game through the air, its rushing attack left much to be desired with just 137.4 yards a game. Ray Graham did run for over 1,000 yards, but the team as a whole averaged just 3.6 yards a carry. The Panthers’ defense finished the season ranked 21st in the nation in points allowed after giving up an average of 19.7 points a game.

The Rebels managed to match their win total from the last two seasons combined, which was definitely a step in the right direction. They finished with just one win in their last four games, but two of the losses were to No.7 Georgia and No.8 LSU. Their biggest win of the season was an impressive 41-24 rout over rival Mississippi State on Nov.24 as one-point home underdogs.

Ole Miss brings a balanced offensive attack into this matchup. That offense averaged 257.2 yards a game through the air and another 169.7 yards on the ground. Quarterback Bo Wallace threw for 2,843 yards and 19 touchdowns, but he was also the team’s second-leading rusher with 363 yards and eight more scores on the ground. The Rebels’ defense struggled to keep some of the better teams it faced off of the scoreboard and gave up an average of 28.5 points over the course of its 12 games this year.


Pitt vs. Ole Miss Betting Odds and Trends by 5Dimes

Ole MIss has been opened by 5Dimes as 3.5-point favorites with the over/under line set at 52.

The Panthers are 4-0 ATS in their last four non-conference games and 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games following a SU win. The total has stayed under in their last six bowl games.

The Rebels are 14-4 ATS in their last 18 games played outside the SEC and 3-0-1 ATS in their last four neutral-site games. The total has stayed under in four of their last five games following a SU win.

There are no current head-to-head betting trends between these two teams.


BBVA Compass Bowl Picks: Pitt vs. Ole Miss Betting Predictions

Both teams have looked great at times this season but remain middle-of-the-road teams in their respective conferences. That being said, stick with the battle-tested Rebels to finish their season over .500 against a Panthers team that could not manage a winning record in a very watered-down Big East.


Take #266 Ole MIss (-3.5) over Pittsburgh (Saturday, Jan.5, 1 p.m.)