Compass Bowl Odds: Pitt, Kentucky Stage Cat Fight In Alabama

It’s not quite BCS bowl betting, but the Compass Bowl in Alabama features a pair of teams who definitely didn’t play as well as they could have this season in Pittsburgh and Kentucky, a pair of teams who also have some off-field troubles coming into this matchup.

Pitt Kentucky Betting – Saturday, 12:00 PM ET

The Panthers (7-5) were picked by many to run away with the Big East, but they just never got on track and ended up getting romped at home by West Virginia in the “Backyard Brawl”, which lead to the firing of Dave Wannstedt (at least the former Dolphins coach has time for Super Bowl betting now). Then they hired and fired Mike Haywood after he was arrested, leaving the Panthers will no coach. They still have a pair of solid backs in Dion Lewis and Ray Graham, which takes the pressure off quarterback Tino Sunseri. The defense comes in ninth in the country, and the Panthers are 19th both against the run and the pass.

The Wildcats (6-6) snuck into the postseason with six wins, and they should have gotten a couple more playing in a poor SEC East. Kentucky was powered by quarterback Mike Hartline and receiver Randall Cobb, leading the Wildcats to the 26th-ranked offense in the country, but Hartline was arrested in December and will be suspended for his senior-season finale. Also, running back Derrick Locke missed four games in the middle of the season, but he came around at the end and the Wildcats will need him, because Morgan Newton hasn’t gotten many snaps under center. The Kentucky defense comes in 46th, but they’re also 72nd in scoring defense, which is far too many for the amount of yards they allow.

Your online bookie service has the Panthers as a 3.5-point favorite in their first-ever meeting with the Wildcats, and this is a very interesting matchup because both programs have gone through some off-field things since the regular season ended. The Panthers are the team that is more talented, and they have running backs who have each run for over 250 yards in a game this season. We think they can overcome their head-coaching problems, while the Wildcats have to overcome the absence of their offensive leader and most important player (with all respect to Cobb, one of the most versatile players in the NCAA), Hartline. Newton just doesn’t have the experience to deal with the pressure of a bowl game, especially one where a winning season hangs in the balance. Look for Pitt to wear Kentucky down with their running game and roll to a win, so lay a sports bet on the Panthers.

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