ACC Win Totals, Futures | Action Analytics 2023 Betting Preview
Eakin Howard/Getty Images. Pictured: The ACC logo on a pylon at Truist Field.
It's been a rough few years for the ACC. Last season was the second in a row that an ACC team failed to make the College Football Playoff.
Despite this, the conference went 5-4 during bowl season, good for second out of all conferences. That marked a vast improvement from its 2-4 offering in 2021. Pitt had the most impressive performance, a 37-35 win over 18th-ranked UCLA in the Sun Bowl.
However, 2023 is the start of a new year, and there's room for optimism. To start, the ACC may have the most elite quarterback talent out of any conference. Of the six favorites in the Heisman race, the ACC has three: Jordan Travis (+1400), Cade Klubnik (+1400) and Drake Maye (+1600).
Florida State and Clemson are both +1800 to win the National Championship, landing at seventh in DraftKings' national title odds. Make sure to circle Week 4 on your calendars, as Clemson hosts Florida State. While that won't decide the Heisman race or the ACC Championship, it may eliminate one of these squads and players from contention.
So, how am I betting the ACC this preseason? Read on and find out.
Well, you can't complain about the efficiency of our content after starting out with three wagers like that. In case you can't tell, I'm extremely high on the Tar Heels this season.
The ACC is wide open this year, and out of all the real contenders, I like the Heels' path the best.
I think Maye is the best quarterback in the conference (and second-best in the country), and North Carolina has the easiest schedule out of the three favorites.
We have the Heels favored by at least a touchdown in their first 10 games and by two scores in nine of those.
Why are we so high on UNC? To start, it has the fifth-most returning production in the country, and it's good production as well.
North Carolina is going to have one of the most prolific offenses in the country if Maye stays healthy. He's surrounded by some of the best weapons in the conference as well in Kent State transfer Devontez Walker — who could still be cleared — and Nate McCollum.
Maye can also take off and run to add that added element of danger. His rushing production, while somewhat concerning — his yardage number is more a product of volume than efficient running — lifts him in the Heisman race as well.
To get to the ACC Championship, the Tar Heels have to improve on defense. Fortunately for them, continuity won't be an issue.
North Carolina has the most defensive returning production in the nation according to our TARP metric. If Gene Chizik can improve and put together a serviceable defense, the Tar Heels have a clear path to the ACC title.
The Eagles' win total is set at 5.5 wins, and I'm going to be honest with you: I'm not entirely sure where that number is coming from.
We have the Eagles favored in three games, and two of those — Northern Illinois and Virginia Tech — are by less than a point. I would say the only game I'm super comfortable with them winning is their Week 2 matchup against Holy Cross, and I'll still be fading BC in that game.
Emmett Morehead enters the year as the presumed starter at quarterback. Whether that's a positive or negative depends on your perspective. Thrust into action when Phil Jurkovec went down late in the season, Morehead managed to record over 1,000 yards and a 10:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio in limited action.
On the downside, he recorded a PFF grade of 54.6, and losing 1,000-yard receiver Zay Flowers is not going to help this offense in any way.
The 2023 iteration of the Eagles must perform better on standard downs if they want to improve: They put themselves in passing down situations the seventh-most times in the country last season at 36%.
I'll take this under and run all the way to the bank.
Pitt's win total has climbed all offseason, so it may be worth waiting to see if you can get extra value on this one.
Most shops started off with 6.5 wins before climbing to 7 in July, and I'm happy to bet this now and later if it keeps climbing.
The Panthers have a brutal combination of little returning production and a tough schedule. They have the 45th-toughest schedule in the country while returning the 123rd-most production.
One of the reasons this win total is so high has to be the transfer of Phil Jurkovec from Boston College. However, after a terrible start to last season, an injury cut his last year with the Eagles short.
He's hoping for a fresh start and to raise his draft stock this year, but I think he will struggle with an inexperienced supporting cast — especially with the gauntlet of a schedule the Panthers have.
After their opener against Wofford, there are no games where I think the Panthers are a shoe-in to win. We have Pitt favored by more than a touchdown in only two games: Wofford and Boston College.
Despite avoiding Clemson, the Panthers still have to play UNC, Louisville, Notre Dame, Florida State and a Syracuse team that I think will surprise some people.
I'm happy to fade Pitt this season, as I think seven wins is far too high of a total.
This one here is a no-brainer based on our internal numbers. We have this game set at -21.5 in favor of Louisville, giving us almost two touchdowns of value here.
While the Cardinals have been known for their offense in the past with the dynamic quarterback play of Lamar Jackson and Malik Cunningham, 2023 may be known as the year the Cardinals defense carries the program.
Georgia Tech was hilariously inept on offense last year, and I don't see that changing in 2023. Brent Key finishing the season 4-4 was a nice story, especially with wins over UNC and Pitt. However, I'm not buying into the hype.
Just take a look at these offensive metrics — a sea of red. And Georgia Tech losing its most dynamic offensive playmaker in Jeff Sims likely sets back that rushing explosiveness, the one positive area from 2022.
When you have this comparison side by side, this becomes an even easier wager.
I'll take the Cardinals all day. And that reminds me…
Did you think I was gonna lay out why Louisville is going to overperform and Georgia Tech is going to underperform and not take the season totals?
I'm more than happy to take these full-season bets with the Week 1 matchup I laid out earlier. We have Louisville projected at 10 wins and Georgia Tech projected at 2.8.