For the second year in a row, I’ve looked back at last season’s results expecting to see a losing record, but alas the betting preview was 45-43-1. That being said, there will come a point where doing the opposite of these picks is a good bet to make money. Is that Week 1? There’s only one way to find out. Head over to DraftKings Sportsbook and get in on the action
North Carolina Tar Heels @ Appalachian State Mountaineers
North Carolina +2.5; Over/Under 55.5
With Sam Howell’s departure to the NFL, I think UNC takes a step back offensively but thought their defense might have a chance to be a decent unit. Then they gave up 24 points to Florida A&M. Appalachian State is much better than Florida A&M and will be up for this game against the in-state flagship. If UNC can keep up the pace offensively, I don’t think their defense can get the stops to keep this one low scoring.
Pick: Over 55.5
North Carolina State Wolfpack @ East Carolina Pirates
East Carolina +12.5; Over/Under 50.5
With all the hype surrounding the Wolfpack program coming into the year and given their penchant for disappointing, this is shaping up to be the trendy upset pick of the weekend. But the thing about NC State is that they know their reputation and they also know that folks have this game circled as a prime “wolfpacking” spot. But I’m going to find another opportunity later in the year for Lucy to pull the ball away from State. I’m taking the Wolfpack as their defense will carry the day against the Pirates.
Pick: NC State -12.5
It’s the year of the quarterback in the ACC and Boston College’s Phi Jurcovec is no exception. Two years ago he was one of the best in the league, but an injury last season has him flying a bit under the radar. Boston College is just a better team that Rutgers. It won’t be a pretty game but Jurcovec and Zay Flowers should be able to do just enough to get the Eagles over the hump. The number has risen over night and it’s getting to the point where Rutgers may be intriguing. Anything under 10.5 and I like BC.
Pick: Boston College -9
Richmond Spiders @ Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia -21.5; Over/Under 58.5
I always have a tough time when ACC teams play FCS opponents and that definitely the case here. Tony Elliot’s UVA coaching will not be a repeat of Bronco Mendenhall’s first game at the helm (a loss to the Spiders in 2016), but it likely won’t be a repeat of the 42-13 drubbing Virginia put on Richmond in 2018. Everyone knows the Hoos’ can chuck it with Brennan Armstrong, but against an FCS opponent, I wouldn’t be surprised if Elliot tries to get some momentum with the running game going. Virginia should win and control the game, I just don’t see it getting out of hand.
Pick: Under 58.5
Bethune-Cookman Wildcats @ Miami Hurricanes
Miami -48.5 ; Over/Under 60
Did I mention how much I hate handicapping FBS vs. FCS games? In another situation where the big boy has a new coach, I look for much of the same from the Miami offense as I did Virginia’s. The Hurricanes will keep things pretty vanilla against an outmanned Bethune Cookman squad and the defense will stifle the Wildcats with a decent shot at pitching a shutout. If that happens, I think Miami has a hard time scoring enough to make this go over.
Pick: Under 60
I’m going to plant a flag early this season and say Louisville gets back to being an 8-9 win team. I think Malik Cunningham is that good and my second favorite quarterback in the ACC after #5. And Syracuse is breaking in a new offensive coaching staff, one that looks very familiar to those of us in Virginia. As I recall the Robert Anae offense isn’t exactly easy to pick up, so I expect some growing pains early this year. I’m taking the Cardinals on the road to win comfortably.
Pick: Louisville -5.5
Head coach Brian Kelly starts his tenure in Baton Rouge taking on an opponent he should be fairly familiar with seeing as Notre Dame and Florida State were pseudo conference-mates. The Tigers are still a year away from getting back into the national conversation and Florida State will be better than they have been. Regardless of who wins the game, both defenses are the strengths of the squads and the offenses have difficulties protecting their quarterbacks. It’s possible turnovers lead to easy points, but I look for a low scoring affair and even with a total under 50, I think like the Under.
Pick: Under 49.5
It’s a new day in Clemson as Dabo Swinney has lost his top two assistants and aren’t necessarily the conference’s top dog. DJ Uiagahelei underwhelmed a season ago though it should come as no surprise he’s not Trevor Lawrence. Still, the Tigers recruit better than just about anyone in the country and this team’s defense is loaded. Georgia Tech still hasn’t figured their switch from Paul Johnson and the triple option and that doesn’t figure to change in 2022. I’d be surprised is Georgia Tech scores in this game and think Clemson can manage three TDs and a field goal at worst.
Pick: Clemson -23