Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh Predictions 12/28/21

by | Dec 28, 2021 | cbb

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-5 SU, 3-8 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (5-7 SU, 7-5 ATS)
When: Tuesday, December 28, 8 p.m.
Where: Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh
TV: ACCN
Point Spread: ND -3.5/PITT +3.5 (MyBookie - Use bonus code PREDICT100 and they’ll give you a 100% bonus up to $300!)
Moneyline: ND -185/PITT +150
Total: 126.5

Last Time Out:

Notre Dame defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 83-73; Pittsburgh handled Jacksonville 64-55.

About the Matchup:

This would be much more compelling if this were the football version of this matchup, as Notre Dame and Pitt both had excellent seasons on the gridiron. Their basketball teams? Not so much, as the Irish have been inconsistent, and the Panthers look like they’re going to be playing on Tuesday in the ACC tournament for the sixth consecutive season. Pitt hasn’t had a winning season since Jamie Dixon fled western Pennsylvania for TCU, and with losses to The Citadel, Monmouth, and UMBC on the resume already, it’s not looking good for the Panthers.

The Irish don’t have an embarrassing loss on the resume, but they got worked over in their ACC opener at Boston College and haven’t won a single game outside of the Joyce Center against a Division I opponent. The Irish have played six games on neutral or away courts to date, and their lone win was over Chaminade in Maui. Otherwise, this Mike Brey squad plays pretty good defense but doesn’t really get the job done on offense, even if it has picked it up in its past two games. The Irish have been held under 60 in three of five losses, and that kind of game would be right up Pitt’s alley.

Scouting the Fighting Irish:

The good news for the Irish is that Dane Goodwin has gotten rolling in Notre Dame’s past four contests, scoring 14 or more in each and shooting better than 50 percent in three of those contests. The lone exception was the one game that Notre Dame lost, a 64-56 setback against Indiana in which Goodwin shot 46 percent and just 25 percent from behind the arc.
And that’s the bad news surrounding the Irish: when Goodwin isn’t scoring at a high clip, the Irish really don’t have a great Plan B who can shoot them out of a tight spot. Notre Dame has to win with defense more often than not, and that isn’t always easy to do. It should work out well against offensively-challenged Pittsburgh, but if the Irish defense isn’t doing its job, the offense is too inconsistent to count on for long.

Scouting the Panthers:

If Femi Odukale could play the way he did against Jacksonville on a consistent basis, the Panthers would be in much better shape. The problem is that Odukale typically finds himself scoring closer to six to eight points, not the 28 that he dropped on the Dolphins. The same is true for the rest of the Panthers, as only three players on this team average in double figures.

Pitt’s best weapon is its defense, which is sometimes good enough to throw opponents off-balance and sometimes finds itself shredded against good opponents. The Panthers were able to get a surprising win over St. John’s by holding the Red Storm to just 35 percent from the floor, but they also gave up 78 to The Citadel and 87 to UMBC. If the defense is even a little bit off, it means a long night for the Panthers, who are built around keeping their opponent in the low 60s — maximum.

More Picks: Get Joe’s Tuesday Night NBA Best Bets

Notre Dame will Cover If: The Irish push the tempo and get Goodwin some good looks at the basket. Notre Dame is much better at playing fast than Pitt, and if the Irish can get the game into the 70s, they’ll likely win it. They need to give themselves a few more opportunities at baskets.

Pittsburgh will Cover If: The Panthers can slow the game down and frustrate Goodwin and the Irish shooters. The Panthers do not want this game played at a fast tempo because if Notre Dame can run the way it did against Western Michigan, there is little chance that Pittsburgh can keep up.

Dan’s Best Prop Bets

With Notre Dame not really doing much on the road, I look for this game to be played at something resembling a crawl. I think these teams will be a bit fortunate to get out of the 50s, and I don’t expect this game to top the total.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

I don’t trust either team, but I think Pittsburgh is a fair amount worse than Notre Dame, and this is a small number to be giving. Plus, the Irish are playing fairly decent right now and should have some momentum from their past few wins, even if they are going away from the Joyce Center.
I’ll back Notre Dame to grab the cover in this one. Question: Did you know that you could be wagering on games at -105 odds instead of -110? Why pay more when you don’t have to? Learn all about betting on games at reduced juice! It’ll save you THOUSANDS!