ACC Championship Odds: Clemson’s Conference to Lose—Again?
Dabo Swinney has done a tremendous job with the Clemson Tigers. The team isn’t just playing well year in and year out. It is competing for and winning national titles along with the last five conference titles. They are not quite on Alabama’s level yet, but the expectations with each coming season are getting higher and higher.
While critics can and do complain about Clemson’s perceived relevance on the national title scene with such a weak schedule, they can’t complain about their dismal conference schedule.
It isn’t Clemson’s fault that no other program has been able to rise above. But who knows, maybe this year will be the year. There are some good teams in the ACC other than Clemson. Should the Tigers slip and someone else uncovers a hidden superstar, the ACC could become competitive this season.
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ACC Championship Odds: Anyone Not Named Clemson Worth Betting On?
Clemson (ACC Odds: -770; via DraftKings) is going to be tough to beat with Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne coming back to lead the offense. After his stellar freshman campaign, it was going to be hard for Lawrence to do anything but regress last season. But he was still good last season and should be even better this year.
They’ll need some help at wide receiver and for a few new defenders, but if the last few years have proven anything, it’s that Dabo Swinney can reload his roster from one year to the next.
The Tigers are going to be excellent again. More than likely, they will be in the mix for the ACC title when the regular season starts to wind down. But are they enough of a lock to warrant investing in them?
Is there someone that can knock them off?
Oddsmakers seem to think that Miami (ACC Odds: +700) has the best shot. The team was not great in Manny Diaz’s first year as head coach last season (6-7). But they have a new offensive coordinator coming in, Rhett Lashlee from SMU, and more importantly—a Heisman-caliber quarterback in D’Eriq King.
If Lashlee and King can work some magic on offense, the Hurricanes could bring Clemson’s reign to an end.
North Carolina (+1000) is bound to grab the attention of some investors since they nearly beat Clemson last year (but lost, 21-20). That was with a true freshman at quarterback, Sam Howell, that is only going to get better in his second season. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that he is getting all of his skill position guys back and most of his offensive line.
They were just 7-6 last season. Barring too many injuries, the Tar Heels are going to make some noise this season.
Can We Chop It? Florida State ACC Odds and the Best of the Rest
There is hope for Florida State (+1800) with former Memphis head coach Mike Norvell taking over the program this year. However, while he will inherit a talented roster, it is one with holes and with uncertainty at critical positions—like at quarterback.
Will he have enough talent to fix the issues on the Seminoles have on both sides of the ball? We’ll find out this fall.
Virginia (+2000) got waxed by the Tigers in the ACC title game last season (62-17), but Cavaliers fans think their team has potential. Despite injury issues, the defense was a good unit last year and should be even better this year, with many starters returning.
However, the offense may hold the Cavaliers back as it tries to replace most of last year’s unit. But if guys like Brennan Armstrong can step up, the Cavaliers are going to be tough to beat.
Justin Fuente’s Virginia Tech (+2000) could make things interesting. But we will not know how interesting until we find out who Fuente is going to start at quarterback (he has three pretty good ones).
Louisville (+2200) could potentially make some noise if the team can build off the success it had behind quarterback Micale Cunningham. To that end, they are going to need to find some new starters on the offensive line and improve the defense.
Pat Narduzzi has the defense he needs at Pitt (+3300) but needs to develop an offense. Wake Forest (+4000) was looking like a real contender last season before getting hit hard with injuries. Having quarterback Jamie Newman transfer to Georgia doesn’t help, but if Sam Hartman can live up to expectations, the Demon Deacons will be hard to beat in 2020.
As for the remaining teams, North Carolina State (+5000), Syracuse (+5000), Duke (+6600), Boston College (+8000), and Georgia Tech (+25000), they all have either too many holes, a bunch of new coaches, or just a lack of talent to be taken seriously.
If you want to put your money on one of them—go ahead. From time to time, a team with no expectations of success rises above and dominates. Otherwise, it looks like it is either going to be Clemson or one of the other guys.
It will take a lot of things going right for someone to take down Dabo Swiney’s Tigers— but it could happen.