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ACC College Football Sports Betting Preview (2019)

by August 14, 2019

We are less than two weeks away from the first college football action of the season. Part three of our five-part conference betting preview focuses on the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC is looked at by many as the Clemson Tigers versus everyone else. Is it a foregone conclusion that the Tigers win the ACC for the fifth consecutive year? Who is ready to step up and end Clemson’s recent run of conference dominance? Let’s take a look at each ACC team.

Odds to win the 2019 ACC Championship (odds courtesy of Fanduel)

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Virginia Tech


Florida State


NC State






Boston College


Georgia Tech


Wake Forest






North Carolina



The Favorite

Clemson -600
The Clemson Tigers have not only dominated the ACC for the last handful of years, but they and the Alabama Crimson Tide have dominated all of college football.  Since 2015, Clemson is 55-4 with only two of those losses coming in the conference. Clemson enters the year ranked number one in the preseason coaches poll. They garnered 59-of-65 first-place votes among coaches. The defending national champions scored 44 points in a rout of Alabama in the title game last year. It is scary to think that the offense might be even better this year.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is back to lead this offensive juggernaut. He did not officially start until Week 4 of last season, as he spent the first three weeks splitting time with Kelly Bryant. Lawrence finished the year with 3,280 passing yards and a 30:4 touchdown to interception ratio. Leading rusher Travis Etienne is back after a 1,658-yard campaign, along with leading receivers Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins. 

Clemson may be in plenty of shootouts early in the season, as the defense returns only four starters. The Tigers replace three NFL first-round draft picks on the defensive line. They may have another future first-rounder on the line in Xavier Thomas, who was the number one ranked defensive end in the class of 2018. Clemson also replaces all of their top linebackers. They will rely on junior Isaiah Simmons and redshirt freshman Mike Jones Jr. to man their linebacking corps.  

Other Contenders

Miami +1800
The Hurricanes are looking for their second ACC Coastal division championship in the last three years. First-year head coach Manny Diaz has served as Miami’s defensive coordinator for the last three seasons. He brings back a loaded defense led by one of the best linebacking corps in the country. Last year, Miami led the nation with 140.8 passing yards per game. They also ranked third in the nation in total yards allowed per game. 

If Miami is going to compete for an ACC championship, they are going to need more production from their offense. They return eight starters from the nation’s 104th ranked offense. Redshirt freshman Jarren Williams was surprisingly named starting quarterback after many expected Ohio State transfer, Tate Martell, to win the job. Miami replaces two starters on the offensive line, as well as their leading rusher from a year ago. 

Virginia +1800
Virginia surprised many last year after an 8-5 campaign and a 28-0 thrashing of South Carolina in the Belk Bowl. A lot of Virginia’s losses last year were unlucky, as they lost three games by four or fewer points. The Cavaliers have improved every year since they hired Coach Bronco Mendenhall in 2015. Dual-threat quarterback Bryce Perkins is back to lead a balanced offense that finished 69th in total offense. They travel to Miami, but get rival Virginia Tech at home and avoid playing Clemson altogether in the regular season.

Virginia Tech +1800
Virginia Tech is coming off their first losing season since 1992. Quarterback Ryan Willis is back to lead an offense that sputtered for the third year in a row, each year ranking outside the top 50 in the country in points per game. Let’s see if the defense plays inspired football for long-time defensive coordinator Bud Foster, who announced he will retire at the end of the season. The Hokies allowed 31.0 points per game, which is the most ever in Foster’s 23-year tenure. Their October 5th showdown at Miami may very well decide the ACC Coastal division.

Long Shots

Florida State +3000
Florida State has the best odds for any ACC Atlantic division team outside of Clemson. The Seminoles struggled mightily last year, finishing 5-7 in head coach Willie Taggart’s first year. This was Florida State’s first losing season in 42 years. The defense will be solid as they return eight starters, including leading tackler Hamsah Nasirildeen. The offense must make big strides in year two under Taggart, as they finished 111th in total offense a year ago. The offense also returns eight starters, including leading rusher Cam Akers. Quarterback Deondre Francois transferred, opening the door for new starter James Blackman.

NC State +3500
The Wolfpack offense will struggle this year, as they have to replace do-it-all quarterback Ryan Finley, as well as three starters on the offensive line. They will rely on a defense who returns eight starters to keep them in games.

Syracuse +3500
Syracuse is the only other team ACC other than Clemson ranked in the preseason coaches poll (22nd). Their long odds signify how unlikely it is that a team other than Clemson will win the ACC Atlantic division. They are another team that will rely on its defense, returning one of the best tandems of defensive ends in the country in Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman. Syracuse’s strength in the last couple of years has been the up-tempo offense of head coach Dino Babers. This year, new quarterback Tommy DeVito has the tall task of replacing the efficiency of Eric Dungey. Dungey not only led a high-powered passing attack, but he was the team’s leading rusher as well.

Pittsburgh +4000
Pittsburgh is the defending ACC Coastal champion. Don’t expect a repeat as the Panthers must replace their top two leading rushers, and four starters from their offensive line.

Boston College +10000
Boston College will rely on one of the best quarterback-running back tandems in the conference in Anthony Brown and All-American candidate AJ Dillon. The Eagles must replace their entire secondary, with only one player who has played meaningful time for this unit returning. 

Georgia Tech +10000
Georgia Tech fans will see a completely new look offense under head coach Geoff Collins. They spent the last 11 seasons running the triple option under coach Paul Johnson.

Wake Forest +10000
Wake Forest boasts one of the league’s best secondaries. They need a leader to emerge in their starting quarterback race between Sam Hartman and Jamie Newman.

Duke +15000
Duke was discussed a lot this offseason, as the Giants took their former quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the draft. His replacement, senior Quentin Harris, won’t have an easy time as Duke also lost their top four receivers from a year ago.

Louisville +25000
New head coach Scott Satterfield looks to revive a Cardinals team that finished 2-10 in Bobby Petrino’s last season.

North Carolina +25000
Head coach Mack Brown is back for a second stint at North Carolina. That’s about the only optimistic thing to say about this football team this year.

Best Bets: Clemson -600, Virginia Tech +250 to make the conference title game

If you don’t mind laying massive odds on Clemson to win the ACC Championship, then go right ahead. I cannot envision any way that Clemson doesn’t roll through the regular season and beat the ACC Coastal representative in the conference championship game. However, if you are going to bet Clemson, the smarter play might just be to wait until the conference championship and bet their money line then. It won’t be that much steeper than the -600 you’d lay at the start of the season, and you’d only be risking money on one game versus an entire season. Or, if you have that much faith in Clemson, just take them at +170 to win the National Championship.

If the ACC is as chalk as it projects to be this year, you have to be a little creative to return max profits. Fanduel is offering odds for all conference teams to make their respective championship games. I like the odds that Virginia Tech is getting to be the ACC Coastal champion this year. They have the most starters returning (eight offensive and eight defensive). The Hokies’ coaching staff is too good to let this team suffer back-to-back losing seasons. I love the narrative of the defense playing inspired in Bud Foster’s last season and think his players will send him out on a high note with a division title.

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

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