Why Louisville, Duke, and Florida State Head the ACC Title Odds
By Travis Pulver
Casual college basketball fans probably assume that the ACC is won by Duke more often than not. You always hear about whoever the latest future NBA superstar Coach K has in the lineup for the season. With their prevalence in national title conversations, it would be easy to assume they lead the ACC.
But they don’t.
Duke hasn’t won a share of the ACC regular-season title since sharing it with Maryland in 2010. Their last outright title came back in 2006. No, while Duke may dominate the headlines, the conference has been won by either North Carolina or Virginia (except for Miami in 2013) since 2011.
While Duke is in the mix for the ACC title this season, North Carolina is as far as they can get from it (1-5). Yet, their odds are still tied for fourth-best in the conference at +650 (via DraftKings). With a few weeks left in the regular season, there is enough time for the Tar Heels to turn it around.
However, it is highly unlikely at this point.
ACC Title Odds
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Best ACC Title Odds for Louisville, Duke, and Florida State
At the moment, the race appears to be between three teams: Louisville (+275), Duke (+300), and Florida State (+325).
Duke has been a perplexing team this season. The Blue Devils are as talent-packed as ever and normally play like it. But then they lost to Stephen F. Austin earlier in the year by two in overtime. More recently, they laid another egg, this time against Clemson.
That loss, they followed up with their third loss of the season, but at least it was to one of the better teams on their schedule.
With a 5-2 conference record, Duke is certainly in the thick of the hunt. But they will need to beat Florida State in a few weeks and hope a couple of teams can knock off Louisville for them.
Both Florida State and Louisville are 6-1 in conference play. While oddsmakers are currently giving Louisville the edge, Florida State looks like they might be the better team at the moment. Florida State has beaten the Cardinals this season.
Their one conference loss came in their season opener and was by just a basket.
After those three, the only other apparent contender is last year’s national champion and co-conference champion, Virginia (+650). While they had some returning talent from last year’s team, they lost a lot as well. With a 4-3 conference record, they could be ready to pounce if the top three falters.
Of the remaining teams with winning conference records (all 4-3):
- Virginia Tech is playing but well enough to unseat any of the favorites (+2800)? Doubtful.
- NC State has a good offense, but their defense will be their undoing (+2500).
- Syracuse will make teams work for it this year, but it is hard to see them knocking off any of the favorites (+5000).
The Rest of the ACC Title Odds
As for the rest of the conference (not yet mentioned): Clemson (3-4; +4000), Boston College (3-4; +8000), Pitt (3-4; +5000), Georgia Tech (3-5; +8000), Notre Dame (2-4; +4000), Miami (2-5; +5000), and Wake Forest (2-5; +10000).
So—who’s going to win the ACC?
You really have three great options in Louisville, Duke, and Florida State. It’s a tough call between the three. Louisville has beaten Duke, but Florida State has beaten Louisville. If Duke beats Florida State in a few weeks, things could get really confusing.
However, while Duke, Florida State, and Louisville have begun to distance themselves from the pack, with the amount of basketball left to be played, it would be foolish to overlook Virginia. Clemson’s win over Duke makes them intriguing, but their recent loss to NC State puts a damper on the idea of betting on them.
But should they beat Louisville on the 25th, they could become interesting again.
Unlike many conferences, the ACC has a few teams that appear to stand above the rest. But it is too close to call between them right now.