This Thursday the No. 25 Virginia Tech Hokies will visit the Pittsburgh Panthers. Kickoff for this Week 9 action is set for 7:00 EST at Heinz Field and will be televised on ESPN. Oddsmakers have the Hokies listed as a 3.5-point road favorite.

Virginia Tech vs Pittsburgh Vegas Betting Preview

The Hokies (5-2) come into this game off an impressive 37-16 home win over Miami. It was a big bounce back performance after getting upset at Syracuse the week before.

The Panthers (5-2) were off this past week and return riding a 3-game winning streak. Last time we saw Pittsburgh, they went on the road and defeated Virginia 45-31.

This game is critical in the ACC Coastal race. North Carolina leads the division at 4-1, but both these teams are in the mix. Virginia Tech is 3-1 in conference play and Pittsburgh is 2-1.

Free Pick & Point Spread Predictions: Pitt +3.5

Early lean here on the Panthers as a home dog. I just don’t think Pittsburgh is getting the respect they deserve in this one. The Panthers two losses this season both came on the road against quality teams. They lost 38-45 at Oklahoma State and 36-37 at North Carolina. Both of which they could have just as easily won.

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At the same time, I think Virginia Tech is a bit overvalued right now. The Hokies just won and covered convincingly on ESPN last Thursday against Miami. The public is going to have no problem trusting them laying a small number here. Especially, given that Virginia Tech is team in this matchup ranked in the Top 25.

What you can’t overlook is the advantage these teams have playing at home in these weekday games. Pittsburgh is a perfect 4-0 at home this season and that includes wins over Penn State and Georgia Tech. On flip side of this, both of Virginia Tech’s losses have come away from home. The most recent being a 17-31 defeat at Syracuse.

Another key factor in favor of Pitt is they are coming off a bye. It was a much-needed break for this team after playing each of the first 7 weeks.

The big concern with the Panthers is their defense, which comes in allowing 31.4 ppg on 395.5 ypg. However, they are very strong up front, as they own the 5th ranked run defense, allowing just 96.6 ypg. If they can take away the Hokies running game, they could disrupt their offense.

Keep in mind the Panthers head coach is former defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. Getting two weeks to put together a gameplan for Virginia Tech is a big advantage.

I also don’t think people realize how good this Pittsburgh offense is. The Panthers come in averaging 38.4 ppg on 418 ypg. I know the Hokies have a good run defense, but this Pitt rushing attack is the real deal. The Panthers come in averaging 239.1 ypg and 5.1 yards/carry on the ground. The Hokies are ranked 11th against the run, giving up just 103.6 ypg, but did give up 239 rushing yards to Tennessee. By far the best rushing attack they have faced this season.

You also can’t overlook how well Pitt senior quarterback Nathan Peterman is playing. While he hasn’t thrown for a ton of yards, he’s been very efficient. Peterman is completing 63.3% of his attempts with 11 TDs to just 2 INTs.

The Panthers are 15-4 ATS in their last 19 home games off a conference win by 10 or more and 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 off a bye. Pittsburgh has also been great in this series, winning each of the last two meetings.