The Southpoint Casino in Las Vegas was the first to release its over/unders for the entire FBS earlier this month. While profiting off the work of amateurs is morally reprehensible (cough), Vegas is a business. Very smart people work there, so please do not take my picks to your bookie with more than a modicum of confidence. If you do...great, comment below and I’ll PM you my Venmo account for my cut.
The full list is here— what jumps out at you? Locally or nationally? Hit the comments and let us know.
Boston College: 5.5 wins (O -120, U even)
Right out of the gates, the over here is extremely appealing. BC returns a ton from a team that got bowl-eligible last year. UMass and Holy Cross are in the bank, and Purdue and Temple are not monsters in the nonconference. Even assuming they only win one of those— there are enough toss-ups in ACC play to find three wins easily.
Clemson: 11 (O even, U -120)
If you bet the over, you’re assuming Clemson goes undefeated. In this dumb sport, that is never a safe thing to assume. Their defensive front is good enough to manhandle most teams on the schedule, but they have lost to Pitt and Syracuse in consecutive years. State is due to beat them sometime. All four of their ACC road games are against bowl teams from last year.
I’m not saying Clemson is going to hit the under, but I’m saying its a lot more likely they do that than go undefeated.
Duke: 6.5 (O -110, U -110)
I’m hesitant to touch this one, as Duke does return a good bit on both sides of the ball. Pretty much every game outside of NC Central, at Miami, and at Clemson is a toss-up of some degree. Gun to my head, I’m taking the under.
Florida State: 7.5 (O -110, U -110)
My thought on looking at this line:
A team this talented, with a fresh, new, innovative coaching staff, two experienced (and good!) quarterbacks would have to have a lot go wrong to lose 5 games. They should easily be favorites in 9 games, and the renewed focus under Willie Taggart will pay dividends with a modernized offense and a defense that, despite youth, is too talented to be as bad as it was the last few years under Charles Kelly. Over.
Georgia Tech: 5.5 (O -120, U even)
A Tech team returning its skill position players? Yeah, I’m comfortable with the over. They’ll get dragged a time or two (they always do) but they’ll be in every other game.
Sidebar: never sleep on a Paul Johnson team the year after they were bad.
Louisville: 7 (O -110, U -110)
Let’s count the likely wins: Indiana State, Western Kentucky, Syracuse (?). Let’s count the likely losses: Alabama, Florida State, Clemson. They’re slightly more talented than Virginia, Georgia Tech, BC, Wake, and maybe State...but I don’t think they’re doing better than a push. I think I’d take the under before I took the over, but...push.
(You heard it here first: Jawon Pass is going to be a damn fine replacement for Lamar Jackson. I reserve the right to change to over if he survives the Alabama game.)
Miami: 10 (O even, U -120)
To get to a push, they have to find a win against LSU, Florida State, or at Virginia Tech, and win out otherwise. For a team that started 10-0 last year, they beat three non-bowl teams by a combined 14 points and lost to another (Pitt). I don’t trust the U yet. Hit the under as the Coastal reverts to chaos.
North Carolina: 5 (O even, U -120)
The Heels are more talented than 5 wins. At Cal and UCF are poorly-timed nonconference tilts, and if the Heels steal one of those they should only need 3 ACC wins to reach bowl eligibility. Very much in the murky middle ground, I’d give them a 40-60% shot at Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Duke, and State. Split those, and they’ve made us all a little less unhappy.
Homer pick: over.
N.C. State: 7 (O -110, U -110)
If they can beat West Virginia, the schedule shapes up for them to start 6-0, with the only road trip being a game at Marshall (two games against the Wild and Wonderful state, good job playing to your audience, Debbie!)
With 5 or 6 wins banked, odds would be good that they can take another few from Syracuse, Wake, Louisville, and Carolina. I’ll begrudgingly take the over.
Pittsburgh: 5.5 (O even, U -120)
I’m struggling to remain a believer in Pat Narduzzi. The nonconference features three likely losses to Penn State, at UCF, and at Notre Dame. Syracuse and Duke are their best shots at ACC home wins, but those are basically toss-ups. I’m going to take the under.
Syracuse: 6 (O -110, U -110)
I forgot the extent of the Cuse’s collapse last year. They were 4-3 with a win over Clemson and three close L’s to good competition and Middle Tennessee, then...two close losses to the Florida schools, and got outscored 152-67 over the final three.
Man, look. I’ve got no idea with this team. I’d call for a push and lean towards the under, but I say that with negligible confidence.
Virginia: 5 (O -110, U -110)
Virginia is my personal Coastal Syracuse. Get pummeled by Indiana, destroy Boise State. Get pantsed by Pitt, edge Duke/UNC/GT. They’ll improve, but the bowl berth last year was built on close wins and lopsided losses.
Having said that, they only need two ACC wins (or one at Indiana) to hit 5. That’s manageable, but I am not a believer. I’d go with the push and stay away.
Virginia Tech: 8.5 (O -110, U -110)
People smarter than me think this is an easy money on the under, and I have to respectfully disagree. That stance would assume they go 0-3 against Florida State, Notre Dame, and Miami— the last two of which are at home— AND drop another. While I think they’ll drop one somewhere, they return Josh Jackson at QB and I will never bet against a Bud Foster defense.
I think this is the best team in the Coastal. Give me the over with a bullet.
Wake Forest: 6 (O -120, U even)
They get ACC home games with BC, Syracuse, and Pitt (...and Clemson). I’m sure the old-world ACC Deacs fans love that. Those feel like three imminently winnable games to pair with three imminently winnable nonconference games. Score one mild upset and they’re there, over.
Checking my work
I’ve got seven over picks, four under picks, and three pushes (one with an under hedge). So, either the ACC dominates nonconference, or...I’m wrong about more than a few*!
*- this is very likely.
Agree? Disagree? Comment!