Wilson: The National Title Future I’m Betting, Plus Two ACC Win Totals
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Over the weekend, oddsmakers released the ACC conference season win totals. While we wait for higher-profile offshore and Vegas sportsbooks to release lines at higher limits, let’s put another stake in the ground — this time in the futures market.
Clemson to Make Playoff +105 and to Win National Title +750
This future has been hanging out there for a few weeks, with one book offering Clemson to make the playoff at +110 with $250 limits, which I hit a few times until it moved to the current number of -105. However, you can still find +105. As lines become more widely available, plenty of other shops should offer this future at plus-money.
For my rationale, let’s start with the 2018 schedule for the Tigers:
The two potential road bumps in Clemson’s schedule will come against Texas A&M and Florida State, although I project Clemson as more than a touchdown favorite against both.
The Texas A&M game will feature two coaching staffs that know each other very well. Jimbo Fisher left FSU to take over in College Station and brought Mike Elko — best known for his 2017 revival of the Notre Dame defense — in to serve as the Aggies’ defensive coordinator. Clemson co-offensive coordinators Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott know Elko all too well, as he served as the Wake Forest defensive coordinator from 2014 to 2016. Clemson had no issues putting up more than 30 against those Demon Deacons defenses.
Florida State has a tough schedule before it even gets to the Clemson showdown. The Seminoles start the season with Virginia Tech and also have a road game against Miami. By the time Clemson travels to Tallahassee in late October, the Atlantic Division may already be wrapped up. I expect Clemson to finish 11-1 — and even if that loss comes to Florida State, an ACC championship game appearance and College Football Playoff berth could still await the Tigers. Whether it comes to winning the conference or going undefeated, Clemson holds the highest probabilities, according to FPI.
ACC Season Win Totals
One book released the Clemson win total at 10.5, with the over shaded at -115. In lieu of a wager on that over, I opted for the two previously mentioned futures. If I wasn’t planning on investing so heavily in Clemson futures, I would certainly hit the over 10.5. While I didn’t touch the Tigers’ win total, I did bet two others in the ACC.
Florida State Under 8.5 -110
Did the bookmakers ignore the schedule or just assume FSU underachieved last season at 7-6? Thanks to conveniently rescheduling a game against Louisiana Monroe and avoiding a scholarship scandal with Delaware State, the Seminoles limped to another bowl appearance.
The Willie Taggart hire will be under immediate scrutiny, as the 2018 schedule starts with Virginia Tech. I have the Seminoles as underdogs of a touchdown or more against Miami, Clemson and Notre Dame. Assuming Florida State doesn’t pull off any of those upsets, it will need to sweep its remaining schedule just to reach nine wins. That’s a large task considering the Noles will be only a short favorite against Virginia Tech, Louisville and N.C. State. This is not your older brother’s Florida State squad.
Syracuse Over 4.5 -110
Syracuse was quite the enigma last year in conference play. It beat Clemson and pushed Miami and Florida State to the brink — while losing in blowout fashion to Wake Forest, Louisville and Boston College. Quarterback Eric Dungey will return for his final season. If he can stay healthy and play relatively efficiently, the Orange should get to five wins.
Cuse has a kind schedule, with nonconference games against Western Michigan, Wagner and UConn. Those should serve as a nice warmup for the ACC slate, which includes coin flips against Pitt, North Carolina, N.C. State, Louisville and Boston College. The Orange haven’t won a game in November since 2015, but three easy nonconference wins and five realistic conference wins give them plenty of opportunities to get five wins. Hold your nose and hit the over.
Stats via Football Outsiders
Pictured atop story: Clemson Tigers running back Adam Choice vs. Miami.