Pittsburgh finished the season an even .500 after posting just two straight-up victories in its last six games and will enter the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl as underdogs to Bowling Green.
The Panthers can take some solace in a trend that has seen underdogs cover the Little Caesars Bowl odds five times in the past six seasons. They opened as six-point underdogs to the Falcons, who are projected to win big by the Odds Shark college football computer.
But Bowling Green has not been a bettor's best friend at bowl time, as the MAC school that went 10-3 against the spread during the season is just 1-4-1 ATS in its last six bowl efforts.
The Panthers went an even 3-3 ATS during their season-ending swoon and the total stayed UNDER in four of the six contests. The Panthers closed things out with a 41-31 loss to Miami as one-point home favorites, with the total easily going OVER the 56-point closing line.
Pitt's Tom Savage threw for 2,834 yards and 21 touchdowns to lead a passing game that averaged 236.8 yards, but the Panthers (ACC, 6-6 SU, 4-7-1 ATS, 5-7 OU) struggled to run the ball with any kind of consistency with an average of 114.9 yards a game, which ranked No. 112 in FBS this season.
Pitt scored 26 points a game on offense while allowing 27.2 points a game on defense, and it was outscored by an average margin of 16.2 points in its six losses.
The Falcons (Mid-American, 10-3 SU, 10-3 ATS, 4-9 OU) come into this matchup flying high after crushing then-No. 14 Northern Illinois 47-27 as three-point underdogs in the MAC Championship.
They finished the season 7-1 SU in conference play while reeling off five straight victories by a combined score of 223-47. They covered the spread in all five games and the total went OVER in three of the contests.
A balanced attack on offense combined with a shutdown defense helped account for this impressive run. Bowling Green averaged 265.1 yards through the air and another 207.4 yards on the ground while racking up an average of 35.4 points a game. The defense finished the year ranked fifth in the nation in points allowed, giving up an average of just 14.8 points a game.
The total has stayed UNDER in nine of the last 12 Little Caesars Bowls, dating back to when it was still the Motor City Bowl.
UNDER is 9-3 past 12 Little Caesar’s (Motor City) Bowls
Bowling Green is 1-4-1 ATS past six bowl games
UNDER is 6-1 past seven Pitt bowl games
Underdog 5-1 ATS past 6 bowls
Computer Prediction: 43-23 Bowling Green (from Odds Shark computer)
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