The Pittsburgh Panthers begin their ACC careers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania against one of the ACC's toughest teams, the No. 11 Florida State Seminoles.
Florida State was a 10-point road favorite earlier this week, but the role of road chalk has not been kind to Seminole bettors lately. FSU is 0-6 ATS the last six times in this situation. While the Seminoles didn't cover the spread much last season at just 5-9 ATS, Florida State did enjoy a solid campaign where it counted with a 12-2 SU record that included an ACC Championship and a blowout win over Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl.
It leaves FSU as the close second betting choice in ACC conference odds at 5/2. Pitt is the 7th betting pick at 33/1.
The Seminoles lost QB EJ Manuel to the NFL draft, but waiting in the wings is sensational redshirt freshman Jameis Winston. Drawing comparisons to Robert Griffin III, the nation's top quarterback recruit in 2012, he has the makings of a dual-threat star. And he's got plenty of returning talent on both sides of the ball to help him ease into the starting role.
For Pittsburgh, 2013 figures to be a rebuilding year. Last year the Panthers finished 6-7 SU and 8-5 ATS in their final year in the Big East, and will have to learn the ins and outs of a new conference in the ACC with multiple holes to fill. The defense should be fine and keep the team competitive, but the offense is a major concern.
The Panthers lose both of their leading rushers from last year's team, and QB Tino Sunseri is replaced by Tom Savage, a senior transfer from Arizona who hasn't played in a game since 2009. Florida State is a brutal first assignment for the inexperienced senior.
The Seminoles had trouble covering the spread last season, so giving up 10 points on the road right out of the gate may seem scary; especially with a redshirt freshman QB at the helm. But with that said, Florida State's offense is too strong not to put up big points, and it is hard to see the Panthers keeping up.
Look for Florida State to pull away early and cover the spread easily.
PICK: Florida State -10.5 | Game Preview & Trends