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ACC Tournament Odds, Picks, Predictions: Betting Preview for Wednesday’s Second-Round Matchups, Including Virginia vs. Louisville (March 9)

ACC Tournament Odds, Picks, Predictions: Betting Preview for Wednesday’s Second-Round Matchups, Including Virginia vs. Louisville (March 9) article feature image

Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Sydney Curry

The ACC Tournament began on Tuesday with three opening round games, as Boston College beat Pittsburgh, Clemson beat North Carolina State and Louisville beat Georgia Tech in the matchups of the league’s six worst teams.

The second round on Wednesday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will feature all three of Tuesday’s winners facing off against teams with byes in the later half of the day. The four-game slate begins, though, at noon ET as 8-seed Florida State takes on 9-seed Syracuse.

Syracuse vs. Florida State

  • Florida State -1.5
  • Total 144.5
  • Noon ET

These two teams split the season series as Syracuse won in Tallahassee in December and then Florida State won in Syracuse in January. ShotQuality’s postgame report said that the SU win should have been an 80-71 victory for FSU in December and the postgame report from the Florida State win suggested the Orange should have slightly won a toss-up. 

The Seminoles do allow a ton of open 3s because of how aggressive the defense is in trying to turn teams over. FSU is bottom 20 in the entire country in percentage of open 3s allowed and that’s an area where the Seminoles can be exposed defensively by the Orange’s elite jump-shooting offense. It’s pretty hard to turn Syracuse over normally unless you’re willing to press full-court, which Florida State can do but has not done with quite as much frequency this season compared to past years. 

The Seminoles also really struggle to defend ball screens, which is a major source of offense for the Orange.

With that being said, there is some positive regression coming for the Florida State offense from beyond the arc. Its expected 3-point percentage is actually three points higher than the rate it has shot it at this season, per ShotQuality. Florida State is also top 40 in offensive rebounding and open 3 rate, two areas that Syracuse really struggles defensively.  

It wouldn’t take much hot shooting for the Seminoles to win this game. The Seminoles also have a ton of length — they are the biggest team in the country — which is part of the reason they defend isolation so well and can match up on Buddy Boeheim especially. The Seminoles held Boeheim to just six points in the first meeting, although he did score 18 in the second.

Syracuse is extremely shorthanded. Three of the Orange’s main eight in an already short rotation — center Jesse Edwards, backup guard Symir Torrence and forward Benny Williams — are all out for this game. That leaves just seven scholarship players, and in the end the Seminoles’ depth and length should be enough to get them past Syracuse.

The Pick: Florida State -1

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Wake Forest vs. Boston College

  • Wake Forest -9.5
  • Total 141.5
  • 2:30 p.m. ET

The biggest mismatch of the day on paper is the second game of the day, as No. 5 seed Wake Forest takes on No. 12 seed Boston College. The Eagles crushed Pittsburgh in the opening game of the ACC Tournament on Tuesday and now have a 24-hour turnaround ahead of facing the Demon Deacons. The two teams only met one time in the regular season and Wake Forest won 87-57 on its home court on Jan. 24.

Wake Forest shoots a lot of 3-pointers and is one of the most efficient offenses in the entire conference, in part because of the addition of key transfers Jake LaRavia and Alondes Williams, the latter of whom just won ACC Player of the Year. The Demon Deacons attempt the second-most 3s in the entire conference and Boston College is one of the worst perimeter defenses in the entire country. The Eagles rank 296th defensively in open 3 rate, per ShotQuality, meaning the Deacs should be able to generate plenty of open looks from deep, especially in transition where they excel offensively.

The Deacs are most elite when able to get to the rim, though, as they rank 12th in the country in attacking the rim, per ShotQuality, and are second in the nation in 2-point field goal percentage. BC’s biggest strength defensively is protecting dribble drives and the rim. The Eagles rank 62nd in protecting the rim and do a decent job of forcing turnovers as well.

At the other end of the matchup, Wake Forest’s defense doesn’t force many turnovers and Boston College doesn’t turn it over much. Expect the Eagles to have a lot of their possessions end in shots, but Boston College’s inability to shoot really hampers it in this matchup. The Eagles are 316th in 3-point shooting and will rely on getting into the paint to generate offense in this matchup.

I don’t see much value in the side in this game but think one possible look could be the total. Wake Forest loves to get out and run in transition as much as possible, and neither team is particularly great at turning the other over. That means a lot of possessions should end in shots and chances for points. I’m less concerned about fatigue for Boston College because it is the first day of a back-to-back and Tuesday’s blowout win meant that they didn’t need to exert a lot of energy.

I’m passing on this game with a lean to the over at 142 or better.

Virginia Tech vs. Clemson

  • Virginia Tech -4.5
  • Total 130.5
  • 7 p.m. ET

Both matchups in the night session are rematches of games that just happened on Saturday in the final day of conference play. Virginia Tech lost on the road at Clemson and now has a chance for immediate revenge four days later.

The Hokies closed as three-point favorites in that game and are now 4.5-point favorites on a neutral floor. Saturday was the only meeting between the two teams and went down to the wire in an eventual 63-59 win for the Tigers. A look at the box score from that game suggests that Clemson was a bit fortunate to win the game as it shot 40% from 3 at home and held the Hokies to just 30%. Virginia Tech is one of the most elite jump-shooting offenses in the entire country.

The Hokies rank fourth in the country in catch-and-shoot 3, per ShotQuality, and generate as many open 3s for elite shooters as any team in the nation. Their season average of 39% is actually a bit low, based on their shooting profile and quality of looks. Hunter Cattoor, Sean Pedulla and Storm Murphy are three of their best shooters and combined to shoot just 1-of-10 on Saturday.

The ShotQuality report suggested that the Hokies should have won the game by seven in the postgame report. Clemson’s defense is set up to allow a lot of 3-pointers and while the Tigers don’t allow many second-chance looks via offensive rebounds, they also don’t really turn over opponents often. That means the Hokies will get plenty of shots off, should get into their offensive rhythm and if the shots are falling, it could be a long day for the Tigers.

Clemson may have won five games in a row, including home wins against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, but I think it’s time to sell the Tigers here on a back to back. They do have depth, but Virginia Tech is more rested, can make adjustments from Saturday’s defeat and if the Hokies simply shoot better from beyond the arc against a mediocre perimeter defense, they should roll here.

The Pick: Virginia Tech -4 or better

Virginia vs. Louisville

  • Virginia -5.5
  • Total 122.5
  • 9:30 p.m. ET

After consecutive close home losses to Duke and Florida State, Virginia had no issues dispatching Louisville on the road to conclude the regular season on Saturday. The Cavaliers started in a 7-0 hole and easily climbed out of it with a 24-3 run in the final 10 minutes of the first half before eventually winning the game by 10 points as a 4.5-point road favorite.

Virginia also won the first meeting at home on Jan. 24 by 12 points, but that was at the height of the Cardinals’ off-the-court issues. Former head coach Chris Mack was fired immediately following that loss.

Virginia opened as just 5.5 point favorites on a neutral now, and does get the benefit of added rest as Louisville had to beat NC State in the 4:30 p.m. ET game on Tuesday to get to this point. The Cavaliers probably need two wins minimum in Brooklyn to have a shot at the NCAA Tournament, and may need to even make it all the way to the final given their subpar metrics for the selection committee.

That run starts by beating Louisville, and it seems pretty unlikely that the Cavaliers will again shoot 58% from beyond the arc. Kadin Shedrick also had the game of his career off the bench with 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting, which again doesn’t seem particularly repeatable. He had only scored more than 13 one time in his career prior to Saturday.

Louisville overcame an early 7-0 deficit on Tuesday to grab a 27-point lead at one point in the second half, and if the Cardinals are fully motivated, this line is too high on a neutral court. The biggest question for them all year has been effort and motivation given all of the surrounding off-court issues. Tuesday was a very positive sign for them effort-wise and there’s no reason to think that with Malik Williams protecting the rim on the inside that the Cardinals couldn’t cause some issues for the Virginia offense.

The Cavaliers could shoot the lights out again but they’ve made just 32.1% of 3s in conference play this year and take the fewest number of 3s in the conference. Louisville actually won the ShotQuality postgame report in that game by two points and if the Cardinals are fully motivated and playing with house money, they’re dangerous to pull off the upset here against an inflated number.

Louisville has one of the worst transition defenses in the entire country, per ShotQuality, but I don’t expect that to matter because no team plays in transition offensively less than Virginia. The Cardinals aren’t a great shooting team against the Tony Bennett pack-line, but they are streaky enough to stay in this game.

The Pick: Louisville +5 or better

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