College Basketball State of the ACC Betting Report: Where Does Duke Stand & Is Miami For Real?

College Basketball State of the ACC Betting Report: Where Does Duke Stand & Is Miami For Real? article feature image
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Photo by Lance King/Getty Images. Pictured: Kameron McGusty (Miami)

A couple weeks have passed since my inaugural State of the Conference ACC report dropped, but things haven’t gotten any better for the league.

Jokes have been hovering around that the once-dominate ACC will only be a one-bid league this year. While those comments were taken with chuckles and laughs awhile back, many jokes have now been received more seriously.

The conference keeps cannibalizing itself, with only one real contender, Duke — which lost its last time out — stepping forward to represent the league.

The ACC only has one team in the AP Top 25, with no signs of anyone else joining soon.

I asked this last time, and I will ask it again: will Duke continue to be the guiding light for the conference, or will another team be able to rival the weakened conference leader?

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Clear-Cut Favorite

Duke Blue Devils (+100)

Even with an embarrassing 76-74 loss at home against Miami (FL) in their last game out, odds have not changed on the Blue Devils to win the ACC Tournament.

This team is still the real deal and the clear-cut favorite in this conference.

Their dynamic duo in Paolo Banchero and Wendell Moore Jr. still produced vs. Miami. Banchero had 20 points and seven rebounds while Moore grabbed a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds apiece.

As for everyone else? They didn’t do so well.

Duke was ravaged by a COVID outbreak since the last report, only playing one other game, which was a comfortable win against Georgia Tech.

Duke is starting to show more signs of weakness as the season goes on, making the ACC Tournament potentially intriguing.

The Blue Devils dropped to 12th in AdjEM, per KenPom, after sitting comfortably in the top five all season long.


Potential Contenders

North Carolina Tar Heels (+600)

Like everyone else in the ACC not named Duke, the theme for this season is one step forward, two steps back.

North Carolina has been nipping at the heels, pun intended, of Duke in the betting market all season at second on the board. The harsh reality is that the defense is just not good enough to actually make the Heels a threat to dethrone Duke.

The defense continues to get shredded by middling offenses, ranking as low as 79th in AdjD, per KenPom. That’s not good enough to be an actual elite contender.

While UNC has taken care of the weaker competition — albeit Notre Dame last time out — it just can’t get past the cream of the crop.

After a good home win against a lesser Virginia squad, UNC will get a shot at Miami, which just beat Duke the other day. It will be worth monitoring to see if Miami has some fight in it, or if its win over the Blue Devils was just a flash in the pan.


Louisville Cardinals (+900)

Someone give Noah Locke some help, please.

Louisville started out hot since the last report, only to fall in a tough road game at Florida State. While I can forgive that loss, I can not forgive the putrid offensive display this team routinely rolls out.

Locke is now the only double-digit scorer on the team, as he’s averaging 10.8 points per game. The lack of quality shooting is hurting this squad, as it ranks near dead last in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage in the ACC. The offense is currently 107th in AdjO, per KenPom.

The defense remains elite — top 40 in AdjD — but if Louisville wants to seriously contend for the ACC, then it needs to find an offense, and fast.

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Almost There

Miami (FL) Hurricanes (+1000)

Is this a market overreaction at the result of the Hurricanes beating the Blue Devils on the road in their last game out?

While I’m not for sure on that one, I do know we will have to start taking them more seriously if they take care of Florida State on the road and North Carolina at home.

Miami’s biggest strength is its offense, a unit that is top 25 in AdjO and has three scorers in double digits. They are above average in the ACC in scoring and field goal percentage, and second in free throw percentage, which is a great sign for closing out close games.

What makes me pause on taking the Hurricanes seriously (as anything more than a dark horse) is their horrific defense. Miami currently ranks 200th in AdjD, which is absolutely horrid.


Florida State Seminoles (+1100)

Florida State had a near two-week break before returning to action, but didn’t see its odds change much at all. They Seminoles went 2-1 during that stretch, dropping their lone loss to lowly Wake Forest.

Once again, one step forward and two steps back.

The defense has still been above average, ranking 34th in AdjD. The Noles are at the top of the ACC in steals and are one of the best teams at blocking shots. It’s tough to score on the Seminoles.

Too bad it’s also just as tough for the Seminoles to score.

Florida State — which ranks 84th in AdjO — will need to find more offensive production if it wants to be taken seriously for a run at the ACC crown. The defense can only do so much to keep the Seminoles around, so the scoring needs to follow suit.


Buy

Virginia Tech Hokies (+2500)

I said it last time and I will say it again: I love the Hokies. They are close, oh so close, to tying it all together to be a serious contender.

I need to thank NC State for beating them because they dropped them to this beautiful number of +2500.

While the defensive metrics have relatively stayed the same, the offense has slipped a little from the last report, dropping from 32nd to 39th. While it’s nothing to overreact about, it’s worth monitoring moving forward.

They have the scheme to dethrone Duke, and anyone else who struggles in half-court sets with their snail-pace style of play. If they can avoid run-and-gun teams like North Carolina in the ACC bracket come March, then I like the Hokies’ chances.


Virginia Cavaliers (+1800)

This is not the Virginia of old — and by old I mean two years ago when the Cavs cut down the nets behind an elite offense and one of the best defenses in basketball.

I recently wrote about Virginia for its away game against the Tar Heels, only to be proven right that its offense is so broken that it struggled to score on North Carolina’s putrid defense.

With limited possessions from their drain-the-clock, suffocating style of play, the offense has to knock down shots at a higher rate. As of writing, Virginia is currently middle of the pact in field goal percentage and near dead last in 3-point percentage.

With a defense that took a step back from its elite level, and a horrific offense, Virginia is now a sell until it can prove it can turn this around.


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