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NCAA Football 2017-18 – ACC Champion Futures and Prop Bets

Coastal Division(4-8) @ Atlantic Division(8-4)

  • Where: Various. Various
  • When: December 2, 2017 6:30 pm EST
  • Moneyline: Florida State (+110), Clemson (+300), Miami (+600), Louisville (+600), Virginia Tech (+700), NC State (+2500), North Carolina (+2500), Georgia Tech (+3300), Pittsburgh (+5000), Duke (+7500)

Any illusion that the SEC is still the dominant conference in college football was busted for good in January. Despite Alabama fielding the most amazing FBS defense in recent memory, the Crimson Tide could not stop Deshaun Watson and the Clemson Tigers when it mattered most.

Watson is gone, but the Atlantic Coast Conference remains poised at the top of the NCAA food chain. Pundits and bookies obviously think FSU is a prohibitive favorite to take the ACC in 2017, but what about the defending champs? And is there a value bet among the underdogs in either division?

Let’s briefly preview the upcoming races in the ACC Coastal and Atlantic (with a few tasty prop recommendations along the way) and then pick a potential conference winner whose ceiling out-paces their odds.

ACC Coastal Division sleeper pick

Part of the reason Florida State is such a heavy favorite is that the Coastal entry in the ACC Championship Game is expected to lose. The Coastal has not won a conference championship since 2010, when Virginia Tech beat FSU 44-33 at Bank of America stadium.

There have been some close calls since then. VT, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and even Duke have been close to breaking the losing streak. But Miami – a program which hasn’t been to a title scrum since the ACC split into two divisions – is favored to win the Coastal in ’17 with (+160) odds.

In our opinion the near – 2/1 line is almost completely bunk. The ‘Canes have uncertainty at QB and WR, and have lost their starting safeties Rayshawn Jenkins and Jamal Carter. There is more hype surrounding the program since HC Mark Richt arrived from – you guessed it – the SEC. But the futures/prop odds are as much a reflection of big-money southern bettors familiar with Richt than any real evidence that Miami is about to break through.

Georgia Tech’s Coastal odds also feel generous at (+700). The Ramblin’ Wreck are starting a new QB, Matthew Jordan, who is a powerful runner but nowhere near the passer Justin Thomas was. Virginia Tech has lost its signal-caller Jerod Evans to the NFL draft as well, making their co-favorite division odds at (+175) seem sketchy. Have bookies forgotten that quarterback is the most important position?

North Carolina hasn’t. Faced with uncertainty of his own at QB, HC Larry Fedora has brought in USC transfer Max Browne who should be solid behind a veteran offensive line. Additional transfers from Tennessee and Penn State should help replenish the Tar Heels’ defense. At 9/1 odds, UNC is our value-pick recommendation to take the Coastal and play in nearby Charlotte in December.

ACC Atlantic value bet

Florida State has been given minus-odds to win its division. That’s a strange scenario when the seven teams include the defending national champs. FSU’s sophomore QB Deondre Francois is one of the hottest names in the FBS going into his sophomore year, but the OL gave up 36 sacks in ’16 and could be even thinner this fall. That’s not a recipe for living up to prohibitive-favorite odds.

A rule of thumb in the Atlantic is that Louisville is always over-hyped and overrated. 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson is one of the most talented dual-threat QBs in the sport, but last year’s squad collapsed with three straight losses to end the campaign. Bobby Petrino may be a better head coach than a motorcyclist, but his LB corps is decimated by graduation. Put simply, the Cardinals are not worth their (+450) division odds until proven otherwise.

NC State is being touted as a dark-horse pick by several outlets. But MSB is calling the Atlantic race for the defending national champs at (+250).

Clemson is built around defense and crafty spread-option football…not simply a QB. Yes, Watson has moved on to the NFL. But Dabo Swinney’s dominant DT Dexter Lawrence is a sophomore on his way to national prominence and likely a pro career of his own, and anchors what should be another fine defense. Junior QB Kelly Bryant is a swift, smart runner and accurate passer in the perfect Clemson mold, and the Tigers will face FSU at home.

ACC Championship – Value futures bet

Click here to bet on the Clemson Tigers (+300) to repeat as ACC champions at Bovada Sportsbook and receive a 50% sign-up bonus.

When the time comes, chances are an ATS wager on the Coastal winner will be a solid play in the ACC Championship Game – it usually is. The conference is somehow still underrated top-to-bottom.

But Clemson is as solid a futures bet to win the league at (+300) odds. Should the Tigers finish atop the Atlantic, there is little hope that Miami (questionable offense), Virginia Tech (ditto) or Georgia Tech (questionable everything) will be able to do more than hang around and lose in the 4th quarter.

Pittsburgh has shown that its program can compete with the very best in a one-game scenario. But there is little hope that the Panthers will make it that far.

Eye on the ball – and the standings

Pundits are touting difficult early games on ACC contenders’ schedules, such as FSU vs Alabama, as evidence that this season may not lead to more national championship glory. But OOC games don’t count in a conference-futures wager.

You may want to avoid any CPF-entry props at this early date. But unless you’re from the Carolinas or otherwise a homer, don’t worry about the playoff now. Stake your units on the Orange to take the ACC and watch yet another quarterback rise to national acclaim playing for Coach Swinney.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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