College Football Betting – Wildcats, Panthers Clash in Alabama

Super Bowl betting is taking all the hype right now as the NFL playoffs are beginning , but it’s still time to go bowling in the NCAA, and we’ll look at the Compass Bowl (formerly the PapaJohns.com Bowl), which features Pittsburgh and Kentucky. Pitt underachieved severely to get here, while the Wildcats snuck in as well, so who will pick up a much-needed postseason win?

Compass Bowl Betting – Saturday, 12:00 PM ET

The Panthers (7-5) were the preseason college football betting favorites to win the Big East, but stumbled to a 7-5 mark and were blown out at home by rival West Virginia in the “Backyard Brawl”. That meant the end of the road for coach Dave Wannstedt, who was replaced by former Miami (OH) coach Mike Haywood. Haywood was then fired after domestic-violence charges, and they still haven’t announced who will coach the team on Saturday. On the field, running back Dion Lewis has been a disappointment, although he did run for 261 yards in the final game of the season, and Tino Sunseri did improve as the year went on. The Panthers may have to lean on their ninth-ranked defense a lot.

The Wildcats (6-6) also underachieved, considering they were in the SEC weak East division. Their 26th-ranked passing attack was led by quarterback Mike Hartline and receiver Randall Cobb, but Hartline was arrested in December and will miss the final game of his college career, leaving little-used Morgan Newton to hold it down. Running back Derrick Locke should be healthy enough, and the Wildcats will need him in this contest. Kentucky is 46th in the country defensively, but 72nd in points allowed, and they allowed seven 100-yard rushers this year, so look for Pitt to target that aspect.

Betting services have the Panthers as a 3.5-point favorite in the Compass Bowl, and this is the first meeting between these two teams. Pitt ended a three-bowl skid with a win over North Carolina last season, which enhanced expectations for 2010, while Kentucky is looking to bounce back from a loss to Clemson in last year’s bowl appearance. You have to wonder what the feeling is like in Pittsburgh with everything that has happened with the coaches, but Kentucky has their own problems with the suspension of Hartline. We’re sticking with Pitt because they do have a solid defense, and at least they still have their players and staff. The Wildcats are missing their quarterback, and they may have a problem getting the ball to their most important player, Cobb. Locke may be rusty, and we don’t trust Newton yet. The upset is enticing because of the coaching problems at Pitt, but take the Panthers in your sports betting picks.

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