Tennessee dismantled Ball State in week one, while Pittsburgh picked up a tough, dramatic win at home against West Virginia. Now the Volunteers are slated to head north to face the Panthers in week two.
Pittsburgh got the better of Tennessee last season, as the Volunteers missed several opportunities early on in the first quarter. Quarterback Joe Milton went down with an injury, giving Hendon Hooker the shot he needed. Hooker never looked back, and ended up keeping the job for good. From there Tennessee transformed into one of the best offenses in the nation.
Now Hooker gets a chance to start against Pittsburgh, and the Panthers are trying to find their way without quarterback Kenny Pickett and wide receiver Jordan Addison. It was far from smooth in the Backyard Brawl on Thursday night. In fact, it ended up being a last minute pick six that put Pittsburgh ahead. It was an emotional rivalry game victory, which might explain the growing line in Tennessee’s favor.
The Volunteers are now a seven point favorite on Saturday, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. That number is up fairly significantly from the 3.5-4.5 that we’ve seen all summer long in gambling markets. The total has also risen to 65.5 points.
Pittsburgh gave up over 400 yards to JT Daniels and West Virginia last week, which included 190 yards surrendered on the ground. That number was a surprise, considering the hype the Panthers received all summer long for their defensive front.
USC transfer Kedon Slovis was solid in his debut, throwing for 308 yards and a score.
This will be the first big test of the year for Tennessee, who still has some defensive questions to answer. Can the Vols generate enough pressure off the edge to get to Slovis? Will a new look secondary hold up?
On the other side, can Pitt score enough to keep up with Josh Heupel’s offense? Vegas doesn’t think so.
Kickoff is set for Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. ABC will have the coverage.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See DraftKings.com/sportsbook for details.