This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions for Week 2
The Pitt Panthers edged out their long-time rival West Virginia Mountaineers in Week 1, 38-31. Pitt's sophomore running back Rodney Hammond showcased his potential, collecting 74 rushing yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns and adding another 55 yards on two receptions. Quarterback Kedon Slovis managed the offense effectively, completing 16 of 24 passes for 308 yards and a touchdown without an interception. As for the Tennessee Volunteers, they are coming off a 59-10 victory over the Ball State Cardinals. Volunteers' quarterback Hendon Hooker did whatever he wanted against Ball State, throwing for 221 yards and two touchdowns and picking up two more touchdowns on the ground.
After a dormant period, both of these programs appear to be waking up. Pittsburgh enters this huge Week 2 non-conference matchup as home underdogs. Pitt defeated Tennessee in Week 2 last season, beating the Volunteers 41-34.
Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee Odds for Week 1
Spread: Tennessee -6 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Total: 67 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Pittsburgh +190; Tennessee -225 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
After Pittsburgh and Tennessee's wins last Thursday, the spread on this game was sitting around -4 points, in favor of the Volunteers. That number has been climbing closer to -7, depending on the sportsbook. While Tennessee destroyed their Week 1 MAC Conference opponent, winning by 49 points, their defense still allowed Ball State quarterback John Paddock to throw for 269 yards, revealing a potential vulnerability in their passing defense. If Kedon Slovis can produce another turnover-free game, and Pitt's defense can keep Hendon Hooker from looking like a sleeper for the Heisman Trophy, the Panthers can cover on the growing spread.
Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee Betting Picks This Week
Under offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, the Pitt Panthers played at a slower tempo compared to last season's fast-paced offense. Pittsburgh showed solid ball control, winning the time of possession against WVU, 32:31 to 27:29. In all three of Pitt's losses in 2021, they lost the battle of possession. As for Tennessee, they won the time of possession battle just one time in 2021, and the time of control against Ball State was just about even in Week 1 (30:05 for Ball State, 29:55 for Tennessee).
The Volunteers run a quick strike offense, but if those strikes don't happen in their limited time on the field, this game can easily flip to the home underdog Pittsburgh Panthers.
Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee Best Bet: Pittsburgh +190 ML at DraftKings Sportsbook
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Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee Prediction
In 2021, Pittsburgh defeated Tennessee in Week 2 by a score of 41-34, picking up a victory on the road as a -3.5 point favorite. Pitt has the opportunity to justify their No. 17 ranking in the AP Poll by knocking out No. 24 Tennessee again, this time as a -6 point underdog at home. Tennessee's strong defensive front should hold the Pittsburgh running game in check, but after the Volunteers allowed 269 passing yards to Ball State's John Paddock in Week 1, Kedon Slovis should find even more success against this leaky Tennessee passing defense in Week 2. If Pittsburgh controls the time of possession, forces plenty of 3-and-out drives from Hendon Hooker in his limited time on the field, and can come away with a turnover or two (much like the ending of Pitt's Week 1 victory over WVU), the Panthers will start the season 2-0.
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