ACC Odds Report: Louisville Continues to Surge, Eyes No. 1 Seed in March
Another week of ACC basketball play continued to show what teams in the conference need to be taken seriously come March and who will likely be needing a deep run in Greensboro during the conference tournament.
No. 5 Louisville (19-3, 10-1 ACC) continued their impressive play by sweeping both legs of their road trip with blowout wins over Boston College and NC State.
Since losing back-to-back games to Kentucky and Florida State, Louisville has won 8 straight games, including a 6-point win at Duke.
With only one ranked team left on their schedule as of this writing (Feb. 24 at No. 8 Florida State), the path is there for Chris Mack’s Louisville Cardinals to not only take home the ACC regular-season title but land a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
With no clear favorite in college basketball this season, visions of a run at a National Championship (+1200 to win) should begin for Louisville backers and bettors alike.
Louisville returns home this week with games against Wake Forest (Feb. 5) and defending National Champion Virginia (Feb. 8).
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Florida State Stays Within Striking Distance at the Top of the ACC Odds Race
No. 8 Florida State (19-3, 9-2 ACC) had their 10-game winning streak ended at the hands of Virginia in a 61-56 road loss before bouncing back to hand Virginia Tech a 74-63 loss in Blacksburg.
Despite the stumble, Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles still control their own destiny towards winning their first ever ACC regular season championship.
Saturday they look to complete a season sweep of in-state rival Miami before their matchup with #7 Duke next Monday (Feb. 10).
Duke is Still ‘Devil’-ishly Dangerous
Even though this iteration of Coach K’s Blue Devils lacks the star power of recent teams, Duke (18-3, 8-2 ACC) still finds itself in the Top 10 and only a game and a half back of first-place Louisville.
After dropping games to Clemson and Louisville in mid-January, Duke has rebounded with three straight wins.
Duke’s sudden resurgence has come in large part to the outstanding play by freshman center Vernon Carey Jr. Carey Jr. had 26 points and 13 rebounds in a 79-67 victory over Pitt, and then followed that up with 26 points and 17 rebounds in a 97-88 victory over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.
If Duke’s young roster continues to gel in the way it has in the last few weeks, they stand to be a very dangerous team come March (+1200 to win National Championship).
The Blue Devils ship off to Boston on Tuesday (Feb. 4) for a date with Boston College before heading to Chapel Hill for their first matchup this season against heated-rival North Carolina.
The Rest of the Conference Continues to Underachieve
While defending National Champion Virginia (14-6, 6-4 ACC) was expected to take a step back this season after losing 4 starters, the rest of the conference was not expected to be in the shape they are in coming into February.
As of this writing, the ACC is only projected to send three teams to the NCAA Tournament.
In other words, 80% of the conference would not be dancing if this trend continues.
Roy Williams’ North Carolina Tar Heels are by far the most surprising disappointment in the conference.
The Heels (10-12, 3-8 ACC) currently sit in a three-way tie for the last place and have not looked like themselves at any point in the season.
Entering the season the Heels were considered the third-best favorite to claim the conference title (+450 preseason odds to win ACC), instead they will need a torrid finish to the season just to merit bubble consideration.
However, North Carolina’s performance is not the only reason why the ACC’s overall resume has taken a major blow this season.
Virginia Tech (14-8, 5-6 ACC) is navigating through a coaching change and their own version of roster turnover.
NC State (14-8, 5-6 ACC), Clemson (11-10, 5-6 ACC) and Notre Dame (13-8, 4-6 ACC) are all also underperforming this season, and none of them have been able to crack .500 in conference play yet.
Syracuse (13-9, 6-5 ACC) and Pitt (14-8, 5-6 ACC) are also looking like a middle of the road type teams that will be firmly on the bubble the rest of the way.
With so many teams on the bubble in the usual top conference in basketball, the race to March figures to be as frenetic as any conference race in the country.
From a pure betting standpoint though, the top three teams in the ACC have a discernible talent gap from everyone else and should be the only schools to merit a futures bet until something changes.