Favorite, Value, Longshot is back. If you are not familiar with these bet types, read the original blog post, here. I will offer up one favorite, one value, and one longshot bet for the ACC that I feel could pay out big this year. Let’s get into it!
The Favorite – Clemson
The Tigers have ruled the ACC for the past few seasons, winning three straight conference titles, making three straight college football playoffs, and winning the National Championship in 2016.
Clemson has many strengths, but their biggest is a dominant defensive line filled with pro-caliber talent who elected to return to school rather than declare for the NFL Draft. Take a look at what their defense did last season:
|Rush Yds Allowed||Pass Yds Allowed||Points Allowed||Sacks|
|2017 ACC Rank||1st||1st||1st||5th|
It is pretty scary for the rest of the conference that Clemson is returning practically the same defensive unit for the 2018 season.
On offense, the Tigers are also blessed with a plethora of four and five-star recruits. Senior Kelly Bryant will likely be the starting quarterback in Week 1, but freshman Trevor Lawrence has nearly unprecedented arm talent and will make a strong case to start at some point during the season.
At -195 odds to win the ACC, Clemson will deservedly be a very popular pick this fall.
The Value Pick – Florida State
If you can force yourself to bet against Clemson, the Florida State Seminoles are listed at +900 to win the ACC and provide much value. There are a lot of “ifs” going into this season, but with the right breaks, big things could happen in Tallahassee.
Florida State can contend for the ACC title …
if first-year coach Willie Taggart can match Jimbo Fisher’s 10-win inaugural Seminole season.
if Taggart can resolve the quarterback controversy resolutely between Francois and Blackmon.
if the offensive line, which struggled in the spring, can mature and gel quickly.
if new guys can step up to replace the drafted Derwin James, Josh Sweat, and Derrick Nnadi.
There is a lot in question but Florida State has the foundation in place to outperform expectations. If Clemson goes undefeated, there is nothing anyone else can do. If the Tigers stumble, the ACC suddenly becomes wide open.
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The Longshot – Duke
If you have read my other posts, you know that I look for two things in a potential longshot. The first is big odds and the second is excellence in at least one aspect. At +5000, Duke passes the first test. There are many who believe Blue Devil coach David Cutcliffe is the best in the ACC, which is enough for me to say Duke also passes the second test. There is no team in the conference better coached than Duke.
The Blue Devils are a team laden with upperclassmen, and I really like that. Redshirt junior Joe Giles-Harris will likely be one of the first linebackers drafted this upcoming April. He is the anchor of a defense that ranked 22nd in the nation in yards allowed last year and is returning eight starters.
Offensively, junior quarterback Daniel Jones and his star wideout T.J. Rahming lead a Blue Devil offense that was mediocre a season ago but is returning seven starters. This continuity plus the growth imminent under Cutcliffe has led to big expectations for this group in 2018.
With great coaching, a game-changing defense, and an offense packed full of potential, Duke could take advantage of some rebuilding years by other conference powers and make noise in the ACC this year.