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Oklahoma State

vs.

Pittsburgh

College Football

Free Pick

9/16/17

So far, everything has gone to plan in Oklahoma State’s quest to win the Big 12 and reach the College Football Playoff. The Cowboys have covered their first two games and have the schedule to run the table the rest of the way. Things have gone a bit differently for Pittsburgh, which is why the Pokes are -13.5 point road favorites (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) in this matchup.

OK State has to be pleased with the start its had, from Mason Rudolph completing 72.6% of his passes to go with six touchdowns to three different guys already having 100-plus rushing yards. Throw in James Washington (243 yards), who is one of the top receivers in the country and it’s evident to see why this team is winning. All signs point to that continuing as Pittsburgh hasn’t played all that well in its first two games. From struggling to dispose of Youngstown State to getting handled by Penn State, the Panthers are likely headed for a 1-2 start to the season.

Pitt’s defense was slightly better last week, holding Trace McSorley to just 164 passing yards and Saquon Barkley to 88 rushing yards, but it still got beat by 19 points. Even at home, there’s no reason to believe the Panthers will be any closer in this game. For starters, they’ll need to find a way to stop this offense with a defense that has multiple regular starters out. And while OK State hasn’t played a good defense yet, it’s not like Pitt can be considered a good defense. There’s a decent chance Rudolph, Justice Hill and Washington will lead OK State’s offense to another 40-plus point outing.

OK State’s defense is where the questions come in for covering, but with how the Panthers have played, that may not matter. USC transfer Max Browne remains the quarterback for Pitt, but he’s clearly not the answer after getting benched for Ben Dinucci last game. Browne has yet to throw for more than 140 yards in a game, while totaling two interceptions and only one touchdown. Pitt’s offense will ride running back Qadree Ollison as much as possible, but against this offense, that probably won’t be enough. Ollison had decent success against Penn State (126 total yards, 6.4 yards per carry), yet it still got the team nowhere.

Our Pick - Pitt’s offense could be considered on the same level as Tulsa and the Golden Hurricane scored 24 points on OK State in the first week. If Pittsburgh can score 24 in this game, that would mean the Pokes would have to reach 37 for the cover and that’s still assuming the Panthers can score that much. While Pitt is at home, that may not make a huge difference in the final score. As long as the Cowboys show up in this game and don't take their foot off the gas, this should be yet another win and cover for the Big 12 team. If not, that’ll just mean either Browne figures things out for Pitt or the defense has an impressive outing. Neither of those things are great to bet on this week, though. Oklahoma State -11.5

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