ACC Title Odds & Predictions for 2022
The Tigers are being treated like they’re still the strongest team on the block, but unless the offense can click a heck of a lot better than it did last year, Clemson’s no longer invulnerable. The defense carried the day for the Tigers last season, but Clemson didn’t have the firepower to get the job done against N.C. State or Pittsburgh. With Uiagaleilei getting another year of experience, will this be a return to form for the Tigers, or can someone else upset the apple cart again and throw the ACC into chaos? Here are my best bets for the ACC title.
Best Bet: Miami, +700
I went back and forth between Miami and N.C. State in this spot, as both teams have the unenviable task of having to go to Clemson, where the Tigers haven’t lost since 2016. But in Miami’s case, a loss at Clemson isn’t going to affect them if it happens. The Hurricanes play in the Coastal, which means that they can absorb a loss to Clemson and still go 7-1 in the ACC, win the Coastal, and beat the Tigers on a neutral field in Charlotte.
And I think they have the ability to do exactly that, or perhaps even beat Clemson in Death Valley and not have to worry about the second matchup in Charlotte. With Tyler Van Dyke now comfortable under center, Miami should be able to clean up the close losses that plagued it a season ago and kept it out of the ACC title game. Remember, the Hurricanes went 5-3 in the ACC a season ago, but the three losses were by combined eight points, and none of them were to Pittsburgh. Miami actually beat the reigning ACC champions, and the Panthers both have to go to Miami and no longer have Kenny Pickett on their roster. Other than that trip to Clemson, there really isn’t anything terribly scary about Miami’s ACC slate, and even that might be doable if the Hurricanes can improve their tackling.
Here’s another thing to like about Miami: there won’t be an Alabama hangover this year. Facing the Crimson Tide in the season opener has been one of the surest ways to tank your season because of a loss of confidence (the last team to face Alabama in the opener and do better than 7-6 was USC in 2016, and even the Trojans suffered an early hangover by losing two of their next three before ripping off eight straight wins to close the year) following the inevitable blowout. This year, Miami plays two weak opponents to lead the year before meeting Texas A&M and has a manageable ACC schedule. The pieces are in place. Note: If you’re going to bet futures, you need to place those wagers at an online sportsbook that you trust to be in business at season’s end. The answer to this question is Everygame Sportsbook, as they’ve been in business since the 1980’s! They offer some pretty sweet incentive bonuses too!
Best Value Play: N.C. State, +700
Why is N.C. State in this spot when the Wolfpack have the same odds as Miami and have to go to Clemson? Simple: that trip to Clemson is really the only thing wrong with the Wolfpack’s situation as far as the ACC goes. In Devin Leary, State has a quarterback that does not turn the ball over, as he threw 35 touchdowns and just five interceptions a season ago. The defense was why the Wolfpack beat Clemson last year, and it should be even stronger this time around, as ten starters are back from last year for the State defense.
The Wolfpack have a really simple game plan: Don’t beat yourself when you’re on offense, trust your defense to set you up with reasonable field position, and go from there. State takes care of the football and can shut down most teams in the ACC. The concern is both the running game and the trip to Clemson to open ACC play, but State could pull off the win on the road. If they do, the odds will drop in a big way, so this is a number to get now, just in case.
Best Longshot Play: Louisville, +2000
With Malik Cunningham under center, the Cardinals have one of the most explosive offenses in the conference. Like Miami, close losses were their Waterloo a season ago, as three of Louisville’s four losses in ACC play came by six points or less. Only N.C. State was in firm control, and that was because the Wolfpack actually played defense well enough to hold the Cardinals to 13 points.
Outside of the loss to State, Louisville averaged 36.1 points per game last year (OK, part of that was dropping 62 on Duke), proving that the Cardinals can score with anyone. With a lot of ACC teams taking a step back in terms of experience, Louisville has experience and talent in its corner this season. As long as Cunningham keeps working on his passing accuracy and the ground game gives him some real help through Jalen Mitchell, Trevion Cooley, and Marshawn Ford, there’s a real possibility that the Cardinals could be in the mix here.
Team to Avoid: Pittsburgh, +1200
With Kedon Slovis running the show in western Pennsylvania after a rough go of things in Los Angeles, Pitt believes it has another talented offense to put up points in a big way. But the defense has to get a lot better and has really struggled to keep most teams out of the end zone. Last year, only Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Syracuse played the Panthers and didn’t crack 20 points, which says the defense has to be better to make up with the shortcomings caused by Kenny Pickett playing on Sundays instead of Pittsburgh.
Beyond the defensive issues, they finish the year going to Miami, and they play both Louisville and North Carolina on the road, with the other team coming off its bye week. The schedule is set up perfectly for Pitt to ease into ACC play and take advantage of its situation, but that’s not likely to be the case this time around. With the loss of Jordan Addison, the Pitt passing game might struggle to find another top-quality wide receiver, and the defense isn’t good enough to offset that.
Overall Pick: Miami, +700
This pick could easily go wrong if Uiagaleilei becomes a star this season and Clemson reaches the ACC championship game. But I do not trust the Tigers’ offense, and I think Miami has the more complete team this time around. Mario Cristobal knows the area and is set to bring glory back to South Beach, and I think he takes the first step on his journey to doing that by winning the ACC Coastal.
Taking the ACC title won’t be easy with Clemson still out there, but the Hurricanes have a lot more experience than in years passed and should be able to land an appearance at the ACC title game. Once there, anything can happen, and with Miami, not a team that beats itself, the Hurricanes likely set themselves up to claim the Coastal division title. Getting to the title game means you’d essentially have Miami at +700 to win one game, and that’s an excellent value if they’re in that spot. I think they’ll get there this season and represent the Coastal well. Bet your college football futures for FREE by taking advantage of a 125% real cash bonus up to $500 in free bets when you use bonus promo code PREDICTEM at GTBets!