Despite the COVID complications, we were 45-30-1 on the year in 2020. The first weekend is always tough as we don’t have a lot of information on teams, so tread lightly. But if you’re feeling froggy we’ve got some good ones right out of the gate to open the 2021 ACC Football betting season.
Colgate @ Boston College Eagles
Boston College -42.5; Over/Under 56
ACC teams playing FCS competition always present crazy lines. Colgate is not of the stronger teams in their conference and I look for Boston College to cruise. The question is how will they get there? In the past I’d expect the Eagles to keep the ball on the ground, but this team likes to air it out. That being said, I do think they try to get a ground game going which will keep the clock moving. I also don’t think Colgate helps out on the scoreboard much if at all. All that points to a quick game with a lower total.
Pick: Under 56
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Miami Hurricanes
Miami +19.5; Over/Under 61.5
I’m not going to lie, in a matchup of top-15 teams, it’s a bit concerning for the sport to have one team favored by almost twenty points. But that’s where we are with the likes of Alabama and undoubtedly we’ll see similar lines with Clemson down the road. There is no doubt that Alabama will be ready for this game as Nick Saban is one of the best at getting his team prepared to play after a long layoff or to start a year. Not only do they win, but they roll (no pun intended) teams. Alabama has to retool almost their entire offense so I just don’t see them running away from the Hurricanes. I think the Tide win comfortably, but the line is just too high.
Pick: Miami +19.5
UMass Minutemen @ Pittsburgh Panthers
Pitt -38; Over/Under 56
Pitt is one of my favorite teams coming into the year with Kenny Pickett and this offense looking to match their defense in terms of production. I think they come out of the gate strong and UMass just doesn’t have the firepower to keep up. 38 is a big number, but as long as Pitt has their focus (and I think with their experience they will), they’ll be just fine.
Pick: Pitt -38
Syracuse Orange @ Ohio Bobcats
Syracuse -1; Over/Under 56.5
In my team totals preview for the 2021 season, I mentioned that I liked teams like Syracuse who were able to navigate the COVD season, but it didn’t seem like they put their best product on the field. I had them going under their total for the season, but that was based more on the strength of the their ACC schedule. I expect their line to be good enough to win some non-conference games early and this is one I don’t see them having too much trouble with.
Pick: Syracuse -1
Northern Illinois Huskies @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech -18.5; Over/Under 57
Georgia Tech enters year three of the Geoff Collins era and I’m going to take a wait and see approach. Jeff Sims showed last year that he’s capable of being a good quarterback in the ACC, but I want to see it first. I think Georgia Tech is the better team, but laying almost twenty points for this team seems like a “line too high” situation.
Pick: Northern Illinois +18.5
William and Mary Tribe @ Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia -30.5; Over/Under 51.5
You can have your Georgia/Clemson, your Alabama/Miami; this is the one we’re all looking forward to. The Virginia Cavaliers return to a packed(?) Scott Stadium and host in-state foe the William and Mary Tribe. It’s so nice of the powers that be to give the Hoos a night game for this one and I expect the pyro technicians to be working overtime. The Tribe won’t be able to handle the Virginia offensive line and I like Brennan Armstrong to let it fly. I don’t know what the Tribe will be able to do offensively, but it won’t matter.
Pick: Over 51.5
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Clemson Tigers
Clemson -3; Over/Under 51
This game should be fantastic. You have to love a top-5 matchup in week 1. Clemson is breaking in new quarterback DJ Uiagalelei while JT Daniels if fully entrenched as the starter in Athens. These defenses are terrific, but I’m looking to Georgia to actually press the tempo and Clemson to be just fine with that. While the quarterbacks are “new,” they’re both very good and I do expect some scoring.
Pick: Over 51
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Florida State Seminoles
Florida State +7; Over/Under 55.5
Don’t be fooled if this game is close early. Notre Dame has been notoriously slow to open games. I don’t think the Irish are a Playoff caliber team this year, but they are good enough to dominate a Florida State team that is still trying to find its footing under Mike Norvell. This line is giving too much credit to FSU being at home as I don’t have much confidence that their line can hold up to the Notre Dame defensive front. The Irish will grind the game on the ground and take care of business in a game that won’t be as close as the ten point score will indicate.
Pick: Notre Dame -7
Louisville Cardinals vs. Mississippi Rebels
Louisville +10; Over/Under 76
The scoreboard operator is going to be busy in this game, but a 76 point total is A LOT. Louisville is a middle of the road ACC team. Ole Miss is a middle of the road SEC team. Those two things aren’t anywhere near equal. There are going to be a lot of points, but more of them will be coming from the Rebels
Pick: Mississippi -10