ACC season betting preview: Various roads lead to Charlotte

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A year after Clemson took on Georgia in the highest-profile season opener in recent memory, the ACC overlords are back in prime time in Week 1 for a dubious conference matchup.

The Tigers are 21-point favorites against a Georgia Tech team that has the second-longest odds to make it to Charlotte for the title game. There are earlier and better games with ACC teams involved, but alas, the conference season begins with a Labor Day matchup nobody asked for.

ACC championship odds

TEAM DIV. ODDS CONF. ODDS
Clemson -240 (Atlantic) -125
Miami +155 (Coastal) +550
NC St. +475 (Atlantic) +750
Pittsburgh +260 (Coastal) +800
North Carolina +380 (Coastal) +1500
Louisville +1400 (Atlantic) +2500
Florida St. +1500 (Atlantic) +3000
Wake Forest +1600 (Atlantic) +3500
Virginia +700 (Coastal) +4000
Boston College +1800 (Atlantic) +4000
Virginia Tech +1000 (Coastal) +5500
Syracuse +8000 (Atlantic) +20000
Georgia Tech +3500 (Coastal) +20000
Duke +20000 (Coastal) +100000

Since we last checked in on the odds for the ACC, the Tigers have made a small move from being even money to odds-on favorites. If you're looking to fade a team loaded with talent but with a quarterback - DJ Uiagalelei - who's not cemented as the starter all season, you have numerous options for a league that had two surprise division winners last year.

Malik Cunningham and Louisville will be dangerous week-to-week but have too many landmines on their schedule to be trusted in the futures market.

Kenny Pickett is gone from defending champion Pittsburgh - replaced by USC transfer Kedon Slovis - but news broke last week that 2021 Atlantic division winner Wake Forest will be without Heisman Trophy dark horse Sam Hartman. As a result of the uncertainty of his health issue, the Demon Deacons have fallen to 35-1.

Despite Miami's status as the favorite in the Coastal division, there's enough uncertainty in Mario Cristobal's first season that a sleeper could be found elsewhere, particularly with Virginia and Virginia Tech at long odds.

Win totals

TEAM WIN TOTAL O/U PRICE
Clemson 10.5 +100/-120
Miami 8.5 -135/+115
NC St. 8.5 -160/+135
Pittsburgh 8.5 -115/-105
North Carolina 7.5 +105/-125
Louisville 6.5 -115/-105
Florida St. 6.5 -135/+115
Wake Forest 6.5 -150/+130
Virginia 7 +100/-120
Boston College 6.5 +105/-125
Virginia Tech 6.5 +125/-145
Syracuse 5 +110/-130
Georgia Tech 3.5 +100/-120
Duke 3 -105/-115
Notre Dame 8.5 -150/+130

We'll include Notre Dame here since it has more than just a toe dipped into the ACC pool again this year. Marcus Freeman took over from Brian Kelly, and it appears he's settled on dual-threat quarterback Tyler Buchner as the starter - at least for their Week 1 showdown with Ohio State. With the Irish being 15.5-point underdogs in that game, but eight very winnable games on the schedule, going over their win total may hinge on whether they can beat either Clemson at home or win at North Carolina.

Games of the year (projected spread)

Sept. 17: Miami @ Texas A&M (-8)

Depending on how you view Notre Dame's place in the ACC, this is the biggest non-conference game for the league this season and the first look into what Miami's bringing to the table. It's hard to imagine this game dipping under a touchdown, so grabbing Texas A&M - which is further along in its build - before it's a double-digit favorite might be the play.

Oct. 1: NC State @ Clemson (-10)

The first of the two tough conference games for the Tigers, they'll have revenge on their mind after NC State won outright as a 10-point underdog last year. I'll wait and see where the line goes but will likely be on the Wolfpack at this price or better by game time.

Nov. 5: Clemson @ Notre Dame (+2.5)

This is the game that might get the Irish over their number, but I'll want the full field goal before I make a play on them.

Nov. 12: Miami @ Clemson (-10)

The line won't be -10 by the second week of November, as it will go one way or the other since Miami will either have its preseason rating validated or rejected by what happens in the first 10 games of the season.

Best bets

Atlantic division: NC State (+475)

ACC championship: Virginia (+4000) / Virginia Tech (+5500)

Win totals: Pittsburgh under 8.5 (-105), North Carolina under 7.5 (-125), Boston College under 6.5 (-125)

The ACC can go a variety of ways, and I'm not willing to pay the heavy price on Clemson. Instead, I'll take the Wolfpack to find their way to the title game. With big prices on the Virginia teams, I'll split a unit on a pair of long shots and hope that their season finale matchup results in one of them finishing 6-2 and winning a tiebreaker to get into the title game, setting up a potential hedge opportunity.

Look for Pitt to revert to its heavy ground-game offensive strategy with a step backward in philosophy, leaving it open to upsets. Meanwhile, Mack Brown hasn't done enough to make things better in Chapel Hill after a disappointing season last year. Boston College has three-to-four wins on the schedule, but I don't see three or four more beyond that, and bowl eligibility would be a success for Jeff Hafley this season.

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

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