College football is back and what better way to navigate your way through the season than to take a look at how each ACC team will against their Vegas win total odds.
Just a note for those unfamiliar with sports betting. The “plus”or “minus” next to each Over/Under refers to the payout on a bet. It signifies how much you have to wager on a favorite to win $100 or how much you will win if you wager $100 on an underdog. For example, odds of -150 mean you have to wager $150 to win $100 and odds of +120 mean will win $120 if you wager $100.
7.5 Wins; -150 Over, +120 Under
I struggle with the pick for the Hoos. The homer in me says eight wins is a cinch. But the gambler in me says, since my prediction of eight wins for the Hoos is only 0.5 games above the O/U of 7.5, the value play is taking the plus money at +120 and the under. In the end, I’m taking the over. After going over the schedule, I have the Cavaliers entering the Virginia Tech game at no worse than seven wins. Therefore, even though I’m conditioned to never expect a win over the Hokies, my money (though probably not smart) WILL be on a W when it happens.
Pick: Over 7.5 Wins
Duke Blue Devils
5.5 Wins; -120 Over, -110 Under
I think Duke wins six games this season. Anything less and you haven’t watched David Cutcliffe since he’s been in Durham. Anything more and you haven't watched David Cutcliffe since he’s been in Durham. The Blue Devils are consistent and not spectacular. Replacing Daniel Jones will be difficult despite what “Draft Day New York Giants Fans” and Baker Mayfield would lend you to believe. But if anyone can, it’s David Cutcliffe.
Pick: Over 5.5 Wins
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
3.5 Wins; -130 Over, Even Under
Paul Johnson is out. Geoff Collins is in and let’s just say it’s going to be 180 degrees different in Atlanta. We’re not talking about changes in scheme, we’re talking complete change in philosophy. Gone is the triple option and I doubt Georgia Tech will have the personnel to execute the changes. Because of that, I have a hard time seeing Georgia Tech winning four games. This is actually one of my more confident plays and I’m shocked that we’re getting even money. I’m going to run, not walk to take the under.
Pick: Under 3.5 Wins
8.5 Wins; -155 Over, +125 Under
Miami presents a very interesting case of thinking strategically about your bets in order to get the best value. First, I think the Hurricanes will be much improved over last year. Second, their schedule is very manageable with Virginia and Virginia Tech visiting south Florida. And it’s that second reason why instead of betting the Over, I’d rather bet them to win the ACC Coastal Division. With an O/U of 8.5 wins I think it’s unlikely they win 9 games AND DON’T win the Coastal Division. Therefore, instead of laying the -155, I’d much rather win plus money for what is likely to be the same result.
*Note: The loss to Florida has no effect on my prediction that the Hurricanes win over 8.5 games.
Pick: Coastal Division Champs +160
North Carolina Tar Heels
4.5 Wins; -160 Over, +130 Under
North Carolina is one of the hardest teams this season to handicap. They were devastated last year by injuries. However, I still think they underachieved going 2-9. Exit Larry Fedora (who I think was a really good coach) and enter Mack Brown who has certainly energized the “we’re only going to care about you until Midnight Madness” Tar Heel crowd. Whether or not Brown still has “it” is up in the air, but unfortunately for the Heels, the schedule is actually pretty tough. In addition to drawing Clemson from the Atlantic, they host Appalachian State and instead of that being an easy gimme game, the Mountaineers enter as a fringe Top-25 team.
Pick: Under 4.5 Wins
6 Wins; -125 Over, -105 Under
I’ve pegged the Pitt Panthers right at six wins. Since the Under gives me better odds, I have to make that play. Pitt won’t be as good as the team that won the ACC Coastal a year ago, but I'd argue they weren’t that good a season ago to begin with. Out are running backs Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall who each eclipsed 1000 yards. In is new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple who will bring a more pass happy offense to Pittsburgh. No offense to Whipple, but Kenny Pickett is not a quarterback to lead a passing offense. In addition to a scheme change, the schedule is rough with visits to Penn State, Virginia Tech, Duke, and Syracuse in addition to home games against Virginia, UCF, and Miami.
Pick: Under 6 Wins
Virginia Tech Hokies
8 Wins; -150 Over, +120 Under
It pains me to say, but I like the Hokies to win more than eight games this year. And the crazy thing is, I don’t think they’re going to be much better than they were a season ago. The big key is their schedule is S-O-F-T. Even if you chalk up losses in trips to Miami, Notre Dame, and Virginia, I dare you to find two losses in a slate that includes visits from ODU, Furman, and Rhode Island. The key may be their opener at Boston College. Win that and I bet the Hokies enter the Commonwealth Cup at no worse than eight wins.
Pick: Over 8 Wins
Boston College Eagles
6 Wins; Even Over, -130 Under
In another case of, “if it’s close, take the better odds,” I'm going with the over for the Eagles. I have them right at six wins, but the over is attainable. They can beat Virginia Tech on opening weekend, but even if they don't, home games against Richmond, Kansas, and Wake Forest will put the Eagles well on the way to six wins.
Pick: Over 6 Wins
11.5 Wins; -115 Over, -115 Under
Two weeks ago the Under was paying out Even money and I thought that was the better bet. Given the significant price differential, it was easy to hope that the Tigers would trip up just one time. However, now that the prices are equal, the play has to be the Over. Outside of a trip to Syracuse, the schedule is ridiculously easy. And even that trip to visit the Orange won’t be difficult as the Tigers won’t overlook the team that took them down two seasons ago.
Pick: Over 11.5
Florida State Seminoles
7.5 Wins; -115 Over, -115 Under
Florida State can’t be as bad as they were last year, can they? I don’t think so and therefore 7.5 wins is very attainable. Trips to Clemson and Florida will likely be losses, but NC State, Syracuse, and Miami all have to travel to Tallahassee. Also, we should know pretty early if last year was just a blip on the radar or a sign of things to come when the Seminoles host Boise State. A win and I think 7.5 is likely, a loss and there’s serious issues in Florida.
Pick: Over 7.5
3.5 Wins; -135 Over, +105 Under
Bobby Petrino is out, and there’s no way this Cardinals team can be worse than last year. Even if a change in culture helps this team long term, I don’t see much of an improvement for 2019. Just to get to three wins they’ll have to beat both directional Kentuckys, and pick up a home game against Boston College, Virginia, or Syracuse or steal a road game at Florida State, Wake Forest, Miami, or NC State. I just don’t see that happening...this year.
Pick: Under 3.5 Wins
NC State Wolfpack
7.5 Wins; +115 Over, -145 Under
Quarterback is such an important position in the college game and therefore, I can’t see the Wolfpack replicating their nine win season from a year ago without Ryan Finley. Even with certain wins against North Carolina, Louisville, and Georgia Tech; the Wolfpack also face Clemson at home and Florida State, Wake Forest, and Boston College on the road. Those will be formidable tests and I think the 7.5 wins is a bit ambitious.
Pick: Under 7.5 Wins
7.5 Wins; -135 Over, +105 Under
Just looking at a Syracuse 7.5 win total and laying the juice in order to get it, I cringe just a little. Maybe it’s just me, but I don't see it. Dino Babers is a fine coach, but to me this was a team that overachieved as season ago and got a little luck. This year, that luck changes. In division, they have to go Florida State and NC State and from the Coastal, they draw Duke instead of North Carolina. Not to mention Eric Dungey is gone, and while Tommy DeVito may be a better quarterback, Dungey was a playmaker who just figured out ways to will his team to wins. Given plus money and a decent chance at regression and the under is the play
Pick: Under 7.5 Wins
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
6 Wins; -125 Over, -105 Under
Wake Forest is the Duke of the Atlantic to me. No matter how good you think they are, they just seem to hover around six wins. The key this season may be their choice to play Utah State in the opener. In what looked like a should-win game when the schedule was made now turns into a crazy-hard opener for an ACC team. The Aggies will be good and I’m surprised the Demon Deacons are a 3.5 point favorite. After that, the schedule is fairly tough. If they’re going to get to the over, they’ll likely have to beat one of Florida State or NC State at home and I don’t think that happens. Add to that the value is on the under, and I think the Deacs come in with less than six wins.
Pick: Under Six Wins
Follow along throughout the year as I bring you a weekly betting preview. Each week I’ll update my W-L record in the predictions that built these bets. Now, let’s go make some money.
Win Totals Record: 1-0