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ACC 2017 Season Betting Preview

The college football season is quickly approaching and fall camps are in full swing. However, keeping track of 10 conferences and 129 teams in just D1 football is near impossible for bettors. With that in mind, we have decided to break down each of the Power 5 conferences for bettors in hopes of making you a few more dollars this season.

Florida State Seminoles

Jimbo Fisher and company are facing yet another season of lofty expectations. Excellent recruiting has meant that the team should be able to fill the voids left by superstars the past few seasons. A lot of pressure will fall on sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois to pick this offense up.

Francois looked like a star last season as a redshirt freshman. Replacing Dalvin Cook is impossible but junior Jacques Patrick and five-star recruit Cam Akers are capable. Francois will also need to find a new favorite target now that Travis Rudolph is gone. The front seven should be solid for FSU but the secondary could be the best in the country. With superstar safety Derwin James returning from injury and ballhawking Tavarus McFadden, teams will struggle to pass against the ’Noles.

FSU had better be ready because its schedule is no joke. The Seminoles open the season against Alabama plus need to visit Clemson and Florida in November. Those are three very tough games and could all go either way. If the Seminoles lose all three of those games, they will fail to top their win total. If they go 1-2, they need to win every other game. It’s doable but far from a certainty.

Florida State 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
+750+1109.5 (-150/+120)

Clemson Tigers

Back-to-back 14-1 seasons and a national championship in 2016 have firmly placed Clemson atop the college football world. Head coach Dabo Swinney has done a great job recruiting which should help mediate several big losses, including quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Junior Kelly Bryant is likely to be the new signal-caller but redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper and highly touted recruit Hunter Johnson will be in the competition. The offense will miss underrated RB Wayne Gallman as well as pass-catchers Mike Williams and Jordan Leggett. However, the team still has steady Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow at WR. The bulk of the defense returns from 2016, including the vicious defensive line. The combination of Christian Wilkens and Dexter Lawrence will give opposing offensive lines fits.

Repeating as national champions is almost impossible. Clemson has the talent but not likely the experience. You’d be nuts to think the Tigers have another one-loss season in them. Topping the win total of 9.5 seems doable with their games against Auburn and Florida State coming at home.

Clemson 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
+2800+3009.5 (-105/-125)

Louisville Cardinals

Lamar Jackson. As long as Lamar Jackson is taking the snaps, Louisville will be a legit threat in any game. The reigning Heisman winner was absolutely ridiculous last season but is one of just four offensive starters returning to the Cardinals.

Jackson’s top three receivers from last season are gone and Louisville will need a couple of guys to step up. The offensive line returns both tackles but none of the interior. New defensive coordinator Peter Simon takes the helm of a D that returns nine starters. Though they struggled to close out the season, Louisville’s defense did so against some tough offenses.

A lot of people are going to be high on Louisville this season because of Jackson. What he did last season was amazing and fun to watch but the offense is almost completely different aside from him. And the schedule-makers didn’t give the Cardinals much time to figure things out. Another nine wins and third place in the ACC seems likely.

Louisville 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
+3300+6009.0 (-150/+120)

Miami Hurricanes

Mark Richt is so close to finally getting Miami over the hump but faces a big bump in the road thanks to Brad Kaaya’s departure. The three-year starting quarterback decided to enter the NFL and now the Hurricanes need to figure out who is taking snaps in 2017.

Whether it ends up being Malik Rosier or N’Kosi Perry, the QB will have a stud running back to hand the ball off to in Mark Walton. Walton rushed for 1117 yards and 14 touchdowns last season while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Stacy Coley and David Njoku have both departed but Ahmmon Richards should lead a competent receiving group. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz went young in 2016 and it should pay off in a big way this season. The entire front seven returns but the secondary will be completely revamped.

Miami has a light road schedule this season, aside from a non-conference game in Tallahassee, which is a good sign for a team that played well at home in 2016. Miami should be able to at least pick up nine wins but it’s worth keeping an eye on key offensive position battles before going all-in.

Miami 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
+6600+6009.0 (-140/+110)

Virginia Tech Hokies

Justin Fuente’s first season as Virginia Tech’s head coach was a rousing success. The Hokies finished with double-digit wins for the first time since 2011 and beat Arkansas in the Belk Bowl. Fuente has an uphill battle this season, as the offensive mastermind has a lot of holes to fill on that side of the ball.

Who replaces quarterback Jerod Evans is anyone’s guess, though it appears that redshirt freshman Josh Jackson has the edge, but the pieces around whoever takes the snaps might be more important. Wideout Isaiah Ford and tight end Bucky Hodges both left to play on Sundays, meaning that Cam Phillips is the only returning pass-catcher of note. The secondary was on another level last season and should be again, as long as the defensive front can competently replace three of four starters.

The Hokies’ season win total of 9.0 appears high considering the offensive turnover but almost every game seems winnable. Dates against West Virginia and Clemson don’t inspire confidence and back-to-back road dates with Miami and Pitt could be tough, but Virginia Tech has the tools to win the division again.

Virginia Tech 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
+7500+7009.0 (-105/-125)

NC State Wolfpack

There is something to be said for continuity and NC State has a lot of it. Twenty-two seniors return to a Wolfpack team that saw four of its six losses come by seven or fewer points.

The offense will again be led by solid, if unspectacular, Ryan Finley. NC State also returns his top passing options from 2016 and four of the five starters on the offensive line. They need to find a way to replace running back Matthew Dayes but there are players on the roster who can do that. The defense could be one of the best in the country. Eight starters return, including the entire defensive line that destroyed opponents last season.

On paper, this looks like the most talent Dave Doeren has had during his time with the Wolfpack. That’s a double-edged sword because NC State has the pieces to finally ascend from mediocrity but failure to do so might mean doomsday. Predicting a team to win more than seven games in the ACC Coastal is tough but I believe NC State does it.

NC State 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
+20000+25007.5 (-105/-125)

UNC Tar Heels

UNC is essentially pushing the reset button this year. Mitch Trubisky is gone along with UNC’s top rusher, receiver and defensive coordinator from 2016. Expectations for this Tar Heels squad might be a little too high entering 2017.

LSU transfer Brandon Harris has the inside track for the starting quarterback job after proving to be a capable dual-threat signal-caller in Death Valley. The talent around Harris is depleted. Almost every RB on the roster last season is gone and three of the top four receivers are out. The defense is OK but had one interception last season. ONE. And that came against Citadel. You simply can’t win games without generating turnovers.

UNC has always been at least solid during Larry Fedora’s tenure but I can’t envision how this team will win seven games. The schedule is filled with games that are tough to call but the offense will need to mesh quickly for the Tar Heels to be contenders.

UNC 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
+50000+25007.0 (+130/-160)

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

It seemed like another middling season was on the way for Georgia Tech last season but the team flicked the switch in the second half and finished the year 9-4 with a bowl victory. The option offense returns nine starters while the defense is bringing back eight for 2017.

We know what you get from Georgia Tech, as the option-based offense will pound the rock and control the clock. Still, replacing three-year starter Justin Thomas at quarterback will be important to add another dimension to the offense. The defensive secondary returns completely intact and if the front four can get after the quarterback more, the Yellow Jackets will field a solid D.

With the Coastal being a total crapshoot, Georgia Tech looks like a team that can surprise many thanks to their experience. The Yellow Jackets win total is set at just 6.5 and though it’s hard to predict their division, I put stock in their lack of turnover and their clock management.

Georgia Tech 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
Not Listed+33006.5 (-125/-105)

Pitt Panthers

You should expect some growing pains from Pitt this season. The squad has plenty of new faces all over the field including at quarterback and running back. Coach Pat Narduzzi has helped the Panthers back to relevancy but this might be a rebuilding year.

Though replacing QB Nathan Peterman isn’t an enviable position, USC transfer Max Browne should be able to do it. But, the biggest loss is undoubtedly offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Shawn Watson is an experienced, competent college coordinator but Canada is a stud. Coach Narduzzi and DC Josh Conklin need to slow down on the blitzes, as it hung the secondary out to dry far too often last season. In addition, almost the entire front seven on defense will be different.

Pitt was a giant killer last season thanks to its offense. The offense isn’t going to be as good but should still be able to put up points. It’s on the defense because you won’t have sustained success without stopping someone from scoring. The Panthers have a tough schedule and I don’t see them doing any better than their eight wins last season.

Pitt 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
+50000+50007.0 (+120/-150)

Duke Blue Devils

Duke saw its streak of four straight bowl appearances end last season but there were some highlights in the darkness. Most notably, Daniel Jones flashed plenty of potential in his redshirt freshman season and could be the best passer in the Coastal division.

The bulk of the offense returns for the Blue Devils and will be expected to score more points in 2017. Duke averaged just 23.3 ppg last season, which can be attributed to a mediocre offensive line that couldn’t run-block. The defense features some tackling machines at the linebacker position but questions most everywhere else. At least they won’t need to try to slow down the onslaught of quarterbacks they faced last season.

If the defense can be good enough and if the offense puts more points on the board, Duke can surprise people. However, the Blue Devils face Northwestern and Baylor in non-conference play plus have dates with FSU, UNC and Miami. Books nailed this win total by setting it at 5.5.

Duke 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
+100000+75005.5 (+120/-150)

Boston College Eagles

A late-season surge made sure Boston College went bowling and coach Steve Addazio kept gainful employment. The Eagles offense started to evolve a bit during a three-game stretch at the end of 2016 by averaging almost 10 more points per game. Don’t expect BC to stop playing BC ball but things might be changing in Chestnut Hill.

Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler started to push the tempo and show some inventive play-calling at the end of 2016. That should continue to at least keep opposing defenses honest. A young offensive line improved last season and should only get better with experience. Defense will once again carry the team and Harold Landry will affirm he is a top-five pick in the NFL draft.

Boston College is a middling team in the ACC. They will beat the teams they should and lose to the teams they should. A win total of just 4.0 seems low considering this team won seven games last season. There are not a lot of free games for the Eagles but they are firmly “OK.”

Boston College 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
+100000+200004.0 (-125/-105)

Syracuse Orange

If you liked shootouts, then you loved watching Syracuse last season. The high-flying offense was one of the best passing attacks in the country but the defense was impossible to watch, allowing 41.5 ppg.

Dino Babers installed his spread offense in his first season as head coach and it worked marvelously. Eric Dungey looked like a perfect fit in the offense, as he had the speed and arm strength to run the system perfectly. The Orange brought in Brian Ward as defensive coordinator to install a Tampa-2 scheme last season and it didn’t work. Now, the team hopes some added size in the defensive secondary will help run the scheme properly.

Babers has always improved teams in his second season but Syracuse has a brutal schedule. Aside from divisional games against Clemson, FSU and Louisville, the Orange host LSU and Miami. Syracuse should be a better team this year but it may not show up in the win column.

Syracuse 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
Not Listed+200004.5 (-130/EVEN)

Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia went 2-10 last season and just about everything went wrong for first-year head coach Bronco Mendenhall. It’s hard to imagine the Cavaliers being that bad again but there also shouldn’t be much optimism.

The No. 1 concern has to be the offensive line. Virginia’s offensive line was dreadful last season but will also need to replace three of those starters. Running backs had nowhere to go and quarterback Kurt Benkert got hit so much he became tentative. The defense returns the bulk of its starters but few stand out aside from Micha Kiser and Quin Blanding.

Mendenhall admitted that this rebuild is not going to be quick. Virginia is in store for a few years of mediocrity (at best) before the Cavaliers become competent. The season win total of 5.0 seems generous considering they play Indiana and Boise State in non-conference play but Virginia’s conference schedule could be much worse than it is.

Virginia 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
Not Listed+200005.0 (-115/-115)

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Dave Clawson has a proven track record of turning teams around but it’s hard to envision Wake Forest improving from a 2016 season that saw them go bowling. Dawson will be breaking in four new members on his coaching staff and returns one of the worst offenses in college football.

Normally when you hear an offense is returning nine starters, there is optimism. However, Wake Forest’s offense ranked 119th in points and 120th in yards. The big concern will come on defense with Mike Elko being hired by Notre Dame in the offseason and four of the top six tacklers gone. The Demon Deacons were one of the best teams in the nation at generating turnovers last season and they will need to continue that to be successful.

Then there is the schedule. Wake Forest cruised against lesser competition, going 7-2 against teams outside the top 30, and were dummied by the best teams. Games against FSU, Clemson, Louisville, Notre Dame and NC State are a cause for concern in 2017.

Wake Forest 2017 Betting Odds
National ChampionshipACC ChampionshipWin Total
Not Listed+200005.5 (+135/-165)

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