If you’re a Pitt fan, you probably felt pretty good after the Panthers’ 55-0 drubbing of Austin Peay in the season opener last Saturday.
If you’re the kind of Pitt fan that likes a little action to go along with your rooting interests, you were probably very happy.
The Panthers easily covered the 30.5-point spread, meaning that most Pitt bettors went to bed expecting there to be a credit in their accounts on Sunday.
That didn’t happen, though. Because Pitt and Austin Peay agreed to play the second half under a modified time schedule, shortening the third and fourth quarters to 10 minutes, the game did not count as an official contest for betting purposes and all action on the game was pushed in Las Vegas casinos.
That was certainly a frustrating revelation for some, but if you’re crying in your beer about unbegotten winnings, don’t expect Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi to have a lot of sympathy.
Narduzzi has gone on the record many times about his distaste for gambling in the sport and Thursday, said that hoping to dispel gambling on his team is one of the reasons for his trademarked secrecy about player availability.
“We educate our players: do not talk about injuries, because bookies or whatever you call them are looking to find out who’s playing, who’s not playing,” Narduzzi explained. “That’s why we never talk about injuries, because all it does is ask for problems.”
Narduzzi said that he doesn’t get much interaction with people telling him about betting on Pitt, even though doing so is now legal in Pennsylvania. But he does recall a time his defense at Michigan State ran afoul of a bettor that let him know about it.
“When I was at Michigan State, the secretary came up to me one time and said, you got this phone call,” Narduzzi said. “So I listened to it. It was some guy screaming about the defense and that we gave up a late touchdown or whatever it was. This guy was unbelievable. He must have lost a lot of money that day, I know that.”
Narduzzi said his biggest concern when it comes to gambling is not whether or not the fans bet on Pitt, but that it doesn’t influence his players.
“You always worry about it,” he said. “You talk about it. We have it in our winner’s manual. We educate our players on it every year. That’s why we don’t talk about injuries — or COVID now. You have to add COVID to it Our kids have done a great job with that.”
So don’t expect the head coach to commiserate in your gambling losses, and also don’t expect to know who is playing on Saturday until they take the field.