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ACC Atlantic Preview

The 2017 ACC Atlantic Division sports 3 teams (Clemson, Florida State, Louisville) capable of playing in a New Years Six Bowl, and another that could finally have a breakthrough season (NC State). I took a stab at Florida State to win the ACC at +135 when first released; that number has subsequently dropped slightly, but I still highly suggest a wager on Florida State ACC Champions +118. FSU’s Season Win Total currently sits at a sharp number of 9.5, but their games with Michigan and Florida have no bearing on the ACC race. The Noles also have favorable scheduling spots against Miami and Louisville.

North Carolina State is looking to finally breakthrough in the ACC Atlantic. My forecast actually has them winning more Conference games than Louisville, which would be good enough for a Top 3 finish in the Division. They return almost their entire Offense, and could have one of the best front 7s in football led by Bradley Chubb. Additionally, they will fortunately miss both Virginia Tech and Miami from the Coastal. I will be riding the Pack starting in Week 1 against South Carolina and have circled a few other favorable situational spots including Notre Dame, Clemson and Florida State.


Florida State Seminoles
Opening Power Rating:       72.5
Home Field Advantage:      2.9

Date Away Home CW Line
Sep 2 Alabama Florida St. FSU +5.5
Sep 9 ULM Florida St. FSU -41.5
Sep 16 Miami Florida St. FSU -17
Sep 23 NC State Florida St. FSU -16
Sep 30 Florida St. Wake Forest WF +23
Oct 14 Florida St. Duke DUKE +20
Oct 21 Louisville Florida St. FSU -13
Oct 27 Florida St. Boston College BC +23.5
Nov 4 Syracuse Florida St. FSU -23
Nov 11 Florida St. Clemson CLEM +2.5
Nov 18 Delaware St. Florida St. FSU -70
Nov 25 Florida St. Florida FLA +10.5
Legend: Off Of Bye / Overlook Watch / B2B Road Games / Neutral Site

CW Projected Total Wins:     10.3
CW Projected ACC Wins:      7.2
Posted Total Wins:             O 9.5 -150

Offseason Notes

  • Returning Production: S&P+ 39th Overall (Offense 79th, Defense 13th)
  • Francois is back at QB, but top RB (Dalvin Cook) and top WR (Travis Rudolph) are out. Nyqwan Murray should develop into Francois’ new best friend outside.
  • Offensive Line is the biggest question in camp as the Noles look to fill the shoes of departed star Left Tackle Rod Tucker
  • The defense lost DeMarcus Walker and his 16 sacks from 2016, but they return almost everybody else, including All American Safety Derwin James who returns from injury
  • Most impressive freshman during camp? Safety Hamsah Nasirildeen has made a name for himself on the depth chart filled with the ACC’s best Secondary.

X-Factor

  • Matthew Thomas (OLB) – Thomas totaled 77 Tackles, and 10 for a loss in a very productive 2016 season. Now a Senior, Thomas returns as the leading tackler with fellow Senior Ro’Derrick Hoskins to form a stacked Linebacker unit as part of one of the deepest and most talented defenses in the country. Their first task will be the elite Alabama rushing attack in Week 1.

Useless Trend

  • Florida State is 29-2 Straight Up as a Home Favorite since 2012

Betting Outlook

  • I would recommend Florida State +7.5 Week 1, as I have this Power Rated at 5.5 on a Neutral Site. A healthy FSU Defense will be the biggest test Alabama will see all year. Keep your eye on Cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, who led FBS in interceptions a season ago.

  • FSU gets Louisville at home with no hangover or look ahead (after Duke and before Boston College). Look for the Noles to get all of their revenge from a 43 point blowout in Louisville last season. I’d lay anything under two touches.

  • I previously highlighted ACC Conference Champions +118 wager, but also be ready to pull the trigger on a Seminoles National Title Future if they lose to Alabama Week 1.

FSU


Clemson Tigers
Opening Power Rating:          67
Home Field Advantage:         3.2

Date Away Home CW Line
Sep 2 Kent St. Clemson CLEM -34.5
Sep 9 Auburn Clemson CLEM -5.5
Sep 16 Clemson Louisville LOU +2
Sep 23 Boston College Clemson CLEM -23.5
Sep 30 Clemson Virginia Tech VT +1
Oct 7 Wake Forest Clemson CLEM -23
Oct 13 Clemson Syracuse SYR +12.5
Oct 28 Georgia Tech Clemson CLEM -15.5
Nov 4 Clemson NC State NCST +4.5
Nov 11 Florida St. Clemson CLEM +2.5
Nov 18 The Citadel Clemson CLEM -43
Nov 25 Clemson South Carolina SC +10.5
Legend: Off Of Bye / Overlook Watch / B2B Road Games / Neutral Site

CW Projected Total Wins:      9.3
CW Projected ACC Wins:      5.8
Posted Total Wins:             O 9.5 +100

Offseason Notes

  • Returning Production: S&P+ 117th Overall (Offense 121st, Defense 73rd)
  • QB DeShaun Watson and WR Mike Williams are both gone. "WRU" should still be very strong on the outside considering they return their 3 other top pass catchers (Cain, McCloud, Renfrow) and their recruiting pipeline is as strong as any team in the country.
  • Clemson might have the two best Defensive Tackles in college football with the duo of Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins.

X-Factor:

  • Kelly Bryant (QB) – Can there really be any other X-Factor besides the player that replaces Deshaun Watson? The best Clemson can ask for is ACC Conference replacement level production from Bryant. If he can limit his mistakes and rely on the rushing attack of Fuller/Feaster behind an experienced offensive line, he has enough weapons on the outside for this to all work out. However, for the first time in 2 years, Clemson will get a dose of reality at the most important position on the field.

Useless Trend

  • Clemson is now 7-0 ATS in their last 7 Bowl Games.

Betting Outlook

  • If you believe Clemson takes an early loss to Auburn (I do), then look for Louisville +3.5 Game of the Year line. I make the number Clemson -2 and the Cardinals should be extra motivated to avenge a game they should have won after coming off relatively easy games against Purdue and North Carolina.

  • Clemson better be careful at NC State (who should have beat the Tigers last season if not for a missed 30 yard field goal) the week before FSU.

Clem


Louisville Cardinals
Opening Power Rating:          62.5
Home Field Advantage:         2.6

Date Away Home CW Line
Sep 2 Louisville Purdue PUR +19
Sep 9 Louisville North Carolina UNC +4
Sep 16 Clemson Louisville LOU +2
Sep 23 Kent St. Louisville LOU -29.5
Sep 30 Murray St. Louisville LOU -42
Oct 5 Louisville NC State NCST +0
Oct 14 Boston College Louisville LOU -18.5
Oct 21 Louisville Florida St. FSU -13
Oct 28 Louisville Wake Forest WF +13
Nov 11 Virginia Louisville LOU -13.5
Nov 18 Syracuse Louisville LOU -12.5
Nov 25 Louisville Kentucky UK +6
Legend: Off Of Bye / Overlook Watch / B2B Road Games / Neutral Site

CW Projected Total Wins:      9.8
CW Projected ACC Wins:      5.0
Posted Total Wins:             O 9 -150

Offseason Notes

  • Returning Production: S&P+ 45th Overall (Offense 84th, Defense 15th)
  • Lamar Jackson returns so having the Heisman Trophy Winner return under Center is a pretty good starting point, but the top 3 Receivers are gone and the Offensive Line is still being pieced together as we speak during camp.
  • New Defensive Coordinator as Peter Sirmon replaces Todd Grantham
  • The Cardinals will also have the benefit of returning 9 starters from a very good defense in 2016. Their rush defense, which was Top 15 in the Nation at Stuff Rate and Adjusted Line Yards, should be dominant once again.

X-Factor:

  • Geron Christian (LT) – Lamar Jackson only goes as far as his Offensive Line allows. Christian is a multi-year starter at Left Tackle and was named 3rd Team All ACC last year. For Jackson to get close to 51 total touchdowns in 2017, Christian will need to be dominant in protection as there are major question marks at both Guard spots and Center.

Useless Trend

  • Louisville is 10-1 ATS as an Away Underdog since 2011; this should apply to October 21st at Florida State.

Betting Outlook

  • Take Louisville +3.5 or better with revenge against Clemson

  • Louisville should be a solid Under team all season long. Depending on the number, I will be looking at potential Unders in their first 3 games.

LJ


North Carolina State Wolfpack
Opening Power Rating:          59.5
Home Field Advantage:         2.8

Date Away Home CW Line
Sep 2 South Carolina NC State NCST -5.5
Sep 9 Marshall NC State NCST -21
Sep 16 Furman NC State NCST -31.5
Sep 23 NC State Florida St. FSU -16
Sep 30 Syracuse NC State NCST -10
Oct 5 Louisville NC State NCST +0
Oct 14 NC State Pittsburgh PITT +3.5
Oct 28 NC State Notre Dame ND +2.5
Nov 4 Clemson NC State NCST +4.5
Nov 11 NC State Boston College BC +10.5
Nov 18 NC State Wake Forest WF +10
Nov 25 North Carolina NC State NCST -7
Legend: Off Of Bye / Overlook Watch / B2B Road Games / Neutral Site

CW Projected Total Wins:      8.6
CW Projected ACC Wins:      5.2
Posted Total Wins:             O 7.5 -105

Offseason Notes

  • Returning Production: S&P+ 34th Overall (Offense 17th, Defense 90th)
  • The Offense is loaded with experience as Ryan Finley returns at QB behind a very experienced Offensive Line, but this group needs to hit more down the field as they ranked close to last in Explosive plays in 2016.
  • Can transfer Carson Wise solve the Wolfpack kicking woes? Special Teams ranked 116th in S&P+ as a unit in 2016 mainly due to their 9-17 field goal kicking (Clemson game!) which ultimately cost them a few wins.

X-Factor:

  • Bradley Chubb (DE) – Chubb, responsible for Double Digit sacks in 2016, feasts on Offensive Tackles and should be a high 1st Round NFL draft pick. He leads a front 7 that has 3 or 4 future potential draft picks.

Useless Trend

  • North Carolina State is 8-1 ATS after a Bye Week since 2013, this will apply to Notre Dame on October 28th.

Betting Outlook

  • Look for NC State +7 or better against Clemson as they look to exact revenge from 2016. In a perfect scheduling spot, the Wolfpack get Clemson after their game vs Florida State.

  • Consider North Carolina State Win Total Over 7.5 -105. They should win their first 3 and last 3 games, leaving 2 wins needed between Syracuse, Pitt, and Notre Dame. I also think they get a big upset this year.

  • The Clemson/NC State game shouldn’t sniff the posted total. Look Under.

NCSt


Syracuse Orange
Opening Power Rating:          52.5
Home Field Advantage:         2.1

Date Away Home CW Line
Sep 1 C. Conn St. Syracuse SYR -41
Sep 9 Middle Tenn. Syracuse SYR -12
Sep 16 C. Michigan Syracuse SYR -13.5
Sep 23 Syracuse LSU LSU -15
Sep 30 Syracuse NC State NCST -10
Oct 7 Pittsburgh Syracuse SYR -1.5
Oct 13 Clemson Syracuse SYR +12.5
Oct 21 Syracuse Miami MIAMI -8.5
Nov 4 Syracuse Florida St. FSU -23
Nov 11 Wake Forest Syracuse SYR -7.5
Nov 18 Syracuse Louisville LOU -12.5
Nov 25 Boston College Syracuse SYR -8
Legend: Off Of Bye / Overlook Watch / B2B Road Games / Neutral Site

CW Projected Total Wins:      5.7
CW Projected ACC Wins:      2.8
Posted Total Wins:             O 4.5 +135

Offseason Notes

  • Returning Production: S&P+ 17th Overall (Offense 64th, Defense 2nd)
  • Orange Defense has given the Offense fits through Fall Camp, with 6 interceptions (3 were Pick 6s) in the first scrimmage
  • Front 7 is experienced and LB is strongest unit on team, but the loss of Steven Clark at DT due to a controversial medical DQ really hurts the D Line.
  • Questions at secondary, but Antwan Cordy will return from injury as the leader of the defensive backfield. Corner will be a major problem.
  • Offensive Line depth and health remains a glaring issue as it has been in recent years. Dungey hasn’t finished either of the past two seasons healthy and he can’t feel confident with the current group headed into 2017.
  • Cuse loses the services of dynamic playmaker and special teams ace, Brisly Estime, who led FBS in punt return average last year (all time ACC career record holder)

X-Factor:

  • Eric Dungey (QB) – If you are not familiar with Dungey, then you have been missing some exciting, fast paced losing football at Syracuse. Now a Junior, Dungey has often seeked out contact after running for his life behind shoddy offensive lines. He will not survive this brutal schedule if he does not learned to slide or avoid hits by going out of bounds.

Useless Trend

  • The Under is 8-1 for the Orange after a Bye Week since 2012. This applies to Florida State on November 4th.

Betting Recap

  • Upset? Anything is possible, but just take Syracuse and all the points you can get November 4th when they travel to Florida State after their bye. FSU plays Louisville the week before and travels to Clemson the following week. This is a very sleepy spot for the Noles, and I would imagine Fisher pulls his starters a little earlier than usual if it gets out of hand. A healthy Orange roster could capitalize on any lack of focus. Syracuse +25.5 is the current Game of the Year, but look for 5 scores when the week comes.

Cuse


Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Opening Power Rating:          47
Home Field Advantage:         2.3

Date Away Home CW Line
Aug 31 Presbyterian Wake Forest WF -46
Sep 9 Wake Forest Boston College BC -2
Sep 16 USU Wake Forest WF -13
Sep 23 Wake Forest Appalachian St. APP -3
Sep 30 Florida St. Wake Forest WF +23
Oct 7 Wake Forest Clemson CLEM -23
Oct 21 Wake Forest Georgia Tech GT -10.5
Oct 28 Louisville Wake Forest WF +13
Nov 4 Wake Forest Notre Dame ND -10
Nov 11 Wake Forest Syracuse SYR -7.5
Nov 18 NC State Wake Forest WF +10
Nov 25 Duke Wake Forest WF +0
Legend: Off Of Bye / Overlook Watch / B2B Road Games / Neutral Site

CW Projected Total Wins:      3.8
CW Projected ACC Wins:      1.6
Posted Total Wins:             O 5.5 +140

Offseason Notes

  • Returning Production: S&P+ 5th Overall (Offense 1st, Defense 49th)
  • Keep an eye on the development of WakeyLeaks, the phrase used to describe Tommy Elrod’s involvement in distributing confidential documents of Wake Forest game plan to opponents. This scandal involves a number of teams (Louisville, Virginia Tech, Army, etc)
  • The Offense may be 1st in the country in Returning Production, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will translate on the field. The 118th ranked scoring offense from a season ago rated almost last in a number of S$P+ categories in 2016 (Passing S&P+, Explosiveness, Completion Rate).
  • To be fair the Offense did lose starting QB Kendall Hinton in September last season. He will be under center to start the year and is certainly an upgrade over John Wolford.

X-Factor:

  • Jessie Bates (SS) – Bates returns as the leading tackler on the team. The Safety had 100 tackles and 5 interceptions in 2016. He was 2nd Team All ACC last year and the clear leader of a Defense that the Demon Deacons will rely on again this season.

Useless Trend

  • Wake is 8-2 to the Under after their Bye Week since 2011, which will apply to Georgia Tech on October 21st.

Betting Outlook

  • Shop for the best price on the Under 5.5 -160 Wake Forest Total Season Wins. Assuming they win their two favored games (Presbyterian, Utah State), they would need 3 upsets to hit the over between Boston College, Appalachian State, Georgia Tech, NC State or Duke to lose this Future.

  • Take Louisville -8 Game of the Year against Wake Forest. I have the game rated as a double digit spread so there is value from a pure numbers perspective.

WF


Boston College Eagles
Opening Power Rating:          46.5
Home Field Advantage:         2.3

Date Away Home CW Line
Sep 1 Boston College N. Illinois NIU +1
Sep 9 Wake Forest Boston College BC -2
Sep 16 Notre Dame Boston College BC +5.5
Sep 23 Boston College Clemson CLEM -23.5
Sep 30 C. Michigan Boston College BC -8
Oct 7 Virginia Tech Boston College BC +14.5
Oct 14 Boston College Louisville LOU -18.5
Oct 21 Boston College Virginia UVA -7
Oct 27 Florida St. Boston College BC +23.5
Nov 11 NC State Boston College BC +10.5
Nov 18 UConn Boston College BC -13
Nov 25 Boston College Syracuse SYR -8
Legend: Off Of Bye / Overlook Watch / B2B Road Games / Neutral Site

CW Projected Total Wins:      3.9
CW Projected ACC Wins:      2.3
Posted Total Wins:             O 4 -120

Offseason Notes

  • Returning Production: S&P+ 42nd Overall (Offense 52nd, Defense 42nd)
  • Emphasis is on improving the Offense as BC ranked outside the Top 100 in almost every single S&P+ ranking for Efficiency, Explosiveness, Passing and Rushing.
  • Scot Loefler will apparently try to implement a fast paced offense in 2017
  • Addazio has yet to name a starting Quarterback, but Darius Wade has been the most impressive so far in Fall Camp

X-Factor:

  • Harold Landry (DE) – The Senior had 16.5 Sacks in 2016 en route to 1st Team All ACC. He leads a ferocious Defensive Line that returns 6 of its top 8 producers from a season ago. As always, you can count on BC having another very solid defense this year.

Useless Trend

  • The Eagles are 16-3 to the Under after a Straight Up Loss since 2014

Betting Outlook

  • BC and UConn play each other at Fenway Park on November 18th. Both programs have already started hyping the game during the Spring. The Eagles should win this contest pretty easily, but look for them to get lapped the following week at Syracuse, a team with a fair amount of Seniors on Senior Day. Projections have Syracuse -8 in what should be a meaningless game for a BC team that won’t sniff Bowl eligibility.

BC

Ready for more?

If you enjoyed the Atlantic, have a look at the ACC Coastal Betting Preview