It’s been a long time coming. The votes have been cast, the results challenged in the courts, but this week on the banks of the Potomac River, from the mountains to the shore, the sun shined down, a dawn of a new day, a new era. Our nightmare is over and we can finally rejoice. Joy does come in the morning. That’s right, online betting is now legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
With all the rejoicing however, there is a catch. In order to satisfy some within the Legislature who think betting is a gateway to moral collapse, we aren’t able to bet on college teams from the state. So you won’t see any Hoos, you won’t see any Hokies, you won’t see any Rams, Spiders, or Monarchs. But we still have the rest of the ACC, so here we go with he first legal betting preview of the season.
Virginia Tech Hokies @ Syracuse Orange
KP: Syracuse -1, O/U 141
Vegas: Syracuse -1, O/U 141.5
These are two teams I never seem to get right and I’m a little worried the game total seems a bit trappy. Both these teams generally play games with totals in the mid 140s and I struggle taking them either way. 141 seems low, so I’m going to stay away unless it climbs. But for the pick, I’m going to stick with fading the Orange. They’ve had big wins blowing out Miami and Boston College, but their best win on the year is against the #89 Hurricanes. They’ve lost every other game against Top-60 competition including against Pitt twice. VahTech has the wins on its resume to show me they can go into the Carrier Dome and come away with the win.
Pick: VahTech +1
N.C. State Wolfpack @ North Carolina Tar Heels
KP: North Carolina -5, O/U 145
Vegas: North Carolina -5.5, O/U 149.5
This game all comes down to how much stock you put into how these teams fared when they faced each other earlier this season with the Wolfpack coming out on top. It would be easy to say take the Pack and the points. But I’m not so sure they’re any good. Which leads me to think it’s hard to take a Tar Heel team who isn’t very good either. With N.C. State coming off the COVID break, there could be some value in the total. Look for the Wolfpack to be somewhat rusty and North Carolina content to play a fast but sloppy game.
Pick: Under 149.5
Clemson Tigers @ Florida State Seminoles
KP: Florida State -6, O/U 136
Vegas: Florida State -5.5, O/U 135.5
It’s hard to see a team fall from grace as quickly as Clemson has. Coming into last weekend’s game against Virginia, the Tigers were the darling of the ACC. They had the number one defense on KenPom and some were pegging them as a Sweet Sixteen team. Then they got blitzed by the Hoos and followed that up with a loss against Georgia Tech. Florida State on the other hand is back in the country’s good graces after wins over N.C. State, North Carolina, and Louisville. Don’t forget that three-game winning streak came after losing to these same Tigers. Clemson may not be what they thought they were, but we get some value given the direction these teams have taken since the last week in December.
Pick: Clemson +5.5
Duke Blue Devils @ Louisville Cardinals
KP: Louisville -1, O/U 139
Vegas: Louisville -3.5, O/U 141.5
Let’s not beat around the bush, Louisville is the better team. But somehow, I just can’t pull the trigger betting the Cardinals -3.5. Duke is still Duke and it’s possible they figure it out any minute now. And Louisville is good, but they're capable of stinkers like the game they played Monday night against Florida State. Jalen Johnson gives the Blue Devils a spark and I think both these teams can score.
Pick: Over 141.5
Pittsburgh Panthers @ Wake Forest Demon Deacons
KP: Wake Forest +4, O/U 142
Vegas: Wake Forest +2.5, O/U 142.5
Looking at the line I have to scratch my head quite a bit. On one hand you have the worst team in the ACC (according to KenPom) going up against the hot upstart. There is something to be said for teams coming off a win over Duke to experience a let down, but I think that is baked into this line. If the line were 5-6, I’d be worried, but I can swallow 2.5.
Pick: Pittsburgh -2.5
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ Virginia Cavaliers
KP: Virginia -9, O/U 123
Vegas: Virginia -8.5, O/U 124
85 points to Virginia, 83 points to Georgia Tech, Maybe Clemson’s defense isn’t all that great? Maybe these two teams are just offensive juggernauts. We’ll find out in JPJ this Saturday night. As much as Virginia’s resurgence has been highlighted by the offense, it’s the defense, and always the defense that guides this team. It’s why I’m so shocked when the National Media think Virginia is done (or not as good as advertised) after they lose games where they give bad defensive efforts. It’s why this team’s ceiling is so high this season, all they need is for the defense to approach the ability of the offense (which is usually a good bet to happen under Tony Bennett coached teams). The Hoos got a night off this week, while Georgia Tech is coming off a big win. Look for a slow start, and the Hoos to continue to put the clamps down on the league and this game to be low scoring.
Pick: Under 124
Season Total: ATS (10-9-0), O/U (3-4-1), Total (13-13-1)