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Greg Elliott and Nelly Cummings of the Pittsburgh Panthers try to keep their momentum going in our Pittsburgh vs. Xavier prediction.
Greg Elliott #3 of the Pittsburgh Panthers shakes hands with teammate Nelly Cummings #0 after defeating the Iowa State Cyclones 59-41 in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 17. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/AFP

The old Big East meets the new Big East when the Pittsburgh Panthers face the Xavier Musketeers in the Round of 32 on Sunday. Read on for our Pittsburgh vs. Xavier predictions based on the top NCAAB odds.

Pittsburgh (24-11, 14-6 ACC) is attempting to become the sixth team that played in the First Four to reach the Sweet 16 or beyond and would be the first to do it since UCLA reached the Final Four in 2021. The Panthers never trailed in their last game against Iowa State and jumped out to a 22-2 lead midway through the first half.

Xavier (26-9, 15-5 Big East) trailed Kennesaw State in the opening round by 13 with under 10 minutes to go before closing the game on a 24-8 run and walking away with a five-point victory. Musketeers head coach Sean Miller is one of seven coaches in the NCAA Tournament in their first season with their current team.

Here is our best Pittsburgh vs. Xavier prediction (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Pittsburgh vs. Xavier odds

Pittsburgh vs. Xavier prediction

Pittsburgh +5 (-110 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

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Miller is one of the top offensive coaches in the country and would likely have been licking his chops to face either Mississippi State (Pittsburgh’s First Four victim) or Iowa State in the Round of 32, as those teams are prone to lengthy scoring droughts. However, Pittsburgh is much more apt to keep up offensively with the Musketeers after ranking fifth in the ACC in scoring at 75.6 points per game. 

Check out our March Madness best bets and all of our top NCAA Tournament picks for Sunday

While Xavier is considered the much more polished offensive team, and rightfully so, as it ranks eighth in adjusted offensive efficiency, Pittsburgh is not far behind at 26th. Its offensive success is in large part because it has four players averaging in double figures, and its top three players in terms of 3-point attempts all shoot 36% or better from 3-point range. 

Pittsburgh has beaten two teams with defenses in the top seven in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency in the last two games and shot a combined 15-of-38 (39.5%) from beyond the arc. Thus, the Panthers should find plenty of offensive success when facing a Musketeers team that allows opponents to shoot 35.6% (275th in the country) beyond the arc. 

The Panthers were projected to finish 14th in the ACC this year and continue to prove doubters wrong with an impressive 11-4-1 against the spread record as underdogs. We like for Pittsburgh to cover one more time as underdogs against a Xavier team that is a modest 7-4 in its last 11 games.

Pittsburgh vs. Xavier best odds

DraftKings (-110)

DraftKingsFanDuelBetMGMCaesarsPointsBet
+5+4.5+4.5N/A+5
-110-102-110N/A-110

From a numbers standpoint, DraftKings or PointsBet are the most logical shops for Pittsburgh backers, as they provide the most value with a full five-point spread. However, the decision to head to FanDuel to save quite a bit of money in juice comes down to how confident one is in the Panthers. For our money, we like the added insurance of a five-point difference being a push, but the more confident one is in the underdog, the more the +4.5 at FanDuel makes sense.

Pittsburgh vs. Xavier odds analysis

Xavier opened as a consensus 4.5-point favorite, but that line has moved to -5 at more than half of the major sportsbooks. Early bettors loved the underdog, with 70% of point-spread bets backing Pittsburgh as of Saturday but that percentage has dropped to 62% as of Sunday morning with some late support for Xavier.

The consensus opening total of 153.5 did not last long, as it already lowered to 152.5 across all sportsbooks overnight. The early betting splits align with that movement, as 68% of wagers have backed the Under as of Sunday morning.

Pittsburgh vs. Xavier game info

  • Date: Sunday, March 19, 12:10 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC

Pittsburgh-Xavier pick made 3/18/2023 at 6:08 p.m. ET.

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