2021 ACC Football Conference Preview

ACC Football Picks, Predictions and Odds

WagerTalk handicapper Steve Merril offers his thoughts on the ACC football landscape this season from a variety of handicapping angles. The Atlantic Coast Conference is returning to two divisions (Atlantic and Coastal) for the 2021 season with each team playing eight conference games and four non-conference games. Notre Dame competed as a full ACC football member last year, but will now return to independent status and will play five non-conference games against ACC competition.

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Atlantic Division Preview

Clemson (10-2 SU) has dominated the ACC with a 27-1 SU (20-7-1 ATS) conference record the past three seasons, and head coach Dabo Swinney is now 140-33 SU (91-66 ATS) in all games the past twelve years, including four national championship appearances in the past six seasons, with two national championship titles. The Tigers must now win without quarterback Trevor Lawrence who went to the Jacksonville Jaguars as the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. Freshman quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was extremely impressive when replacing Lawrence last October at Boston College and Notre Dame. Clemson will have their toughest game of the season in Week 1 versus Georgia on September 4th which is the only opponent on the schedule this season that was ranked in the final Top 25 last year.

The Tigers play the second easiest schedule in the ACC this year and their only possible challenge in this division will be when Clemson travels to NC State (8-4 SU) on September 25th as the Wolfpack were a profitable 8-4 ATS last year, despite only outscoring their opponents by one point per game (30-29 ppg). NC State does return a veteran unit this season with 19 returning starters (9 offense, 10 defense) under head coach Dave Doeren’s ninth season. If Clemson defeats the Wolfpack and starts 4-0 SU, the Tigers will have a very easy schedule the rest of the way with their only slightly challenging game coming at Pittsburgh as Clemson does not have to play North Carolina, Miami Florida, Virginia Tech or Virginia this season.

Coastal Division Preview

North Carolina (8-4 SU) will once again have an explosive offense with eight returning starters, including quarterback Sam Howell, that averaged 42 points and 537 total yards per game last year. The Tar Heels should be an improved defensive team with 10 returning starters, a very talented secondary, and one of the most experienced stop units in the conference. Miami Florida (8-3 SU) returns the most veteran offense in the conference, however the health of QB D’Eriq King remains a concern. Miami has an extremely difficult season opener versus Alabama on September 4th, and the Hurricanes must travel to North Carolina on October 16th for a game that will likely decide the division title. North Carolina dominated Miami Florida 62-26 as a 3-point road underdog in the season finale last year, and that makes North Carolina the favorite to win the Coastal division this season.

While Clemson is a heavy favorite to dominate the Atlantic division, the ACC Coastal division is a wide-open race this year. Besides North Carolina and Miami Florida, other teams such as Virginia (5-5 SU), Virginia Tech (5-6 SU) and Pittsburgh (6-5 SU) are capable of making some noise.

ACC Championship Odds from CaesarsAs of August 18
Clemson Tigers-800
North Carolina Tar Heels+900
Miami (Fla) Hurricanes+1000
North Carolina State Wolfpack+2000
Virginia Tech Hokies+3000
Louisville Cardinals+3000
Florida State Seminoles+3000
Virginia Cavaliers+4000
Pittsburgh Panthers+4500
Boston College Eagles+6000
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets+7500
Wake Forest Demon Deacons+10000
Syracuse Orange+15000
Duke Blue Devils+15000
ACC Regular Season Win TotalsAs of August 18
Clemson Tigers11.5 (o +115 / u -135)
North Carolina Tar Heels10 (o +125 / u -145)
Miami (Fla) Hurricanes9.5 (o +135 / u -155)
North Carolina State Wolfpack6.5 (o +110 / u -130)
Virginia Tech Hokies7 (o +110 / u -130)
Louisville Cardinals6.5 (-110 each way)
Florida State Seminoles5.5 (o -130 / u +110)
Virginia Cavaliers6 (o -125 / u +105)
Pittsburgh Panthers7 (o -125 / u +105)
Boston College Eagles7 (o -155 / u +135)
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets5 (o -105 / u -115)
Wake Forest Demon Deacons6.5 (o -145 / u +125)
Syracuse Orange3 (o -125 / u +105)
Duke Blue Devils3.5 (o -130 / u +110)


Meet the Capper: Steve Merril

Steve Merril has won consistently for 25+ years as one of the best sports analysts in the nation. He credits his success to employing a variety of different handicapping techniques such as statistical analysis, quantitative systems, and fundamentals such as matchups and emotion. By relying on numerous handicapping methods, Steve continues to beat the pointspread on a consistent basis in both college and pro football, college and pro basketball, baseball and racing. Steve has numerous documented #1 finishes in all major sports and was the first person to ever win the prestigious $100,000 Insider’s Handicapping Invitational. Steve Merril’s unique knowledge and understanding of the gaming industry is what separates him from other handicappers. Steve has spent the past 25+ years studying the odds and probabilities associated with all forms of gambling such as poker, casino games, and even the financial markets. Steve has transferred this unique knowledge and understanding of statistics and probabilities into the sports world, which has enabled him to win on a consistent basis. The most popular part of Steve Merril’s award-winning selections is the fact he backs each game with a full detailed report and analysis. Steve is heard each week on numerous radio and TV shows across the nation. You will learn while you earn with Steve Merril’s daily Best Bets as each selection is packed full of detailed information. Join forces with the most knowledgeable gaming expert in the industry and have your most profitable season ever!

WagerTalk’s Live Odds Screen

Since the conclusion of last season’s National Championship game, WagerTalk has continued to improve and enhance our Live Odds screen. Bettors can view the up-to-the-minute odds from a variety of offshore and Vegas-based sports books. Color-coded alerts will let you know when and how a line has moved. Click on the individual cells to view a line history at each sports book. Interested in knowing what a point spread was on a previous game? Use the “archive” feature to find a previous matchup. View real-time odds on nearly every point spread market: Full games, first halves, first quarters, team totals and moneylines.

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College Football Offseason Previews

In this week’s edition of The Best Damn College Football Show, Drew Martin and Rob Veno offer an early look toward the ACC Coastal Division. Rob and Drew take a look at the new coaches and quarterback transfers that are coming into the ACC Coastal this season. Who is a mid-pack team that might surprise some people and make a move up this year, and who is a team to fade that might struggle this year?


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