ACC Atlantic Division Betting Preview and Odds: Lucky Number Seven Looms for Reloading Clemson

Matt Wiesenfeld

This season, ACC powerhouse Clemson is turning things over somewhat with quarterback Trevor Lawrence tossing footballs for the Jacksonville Jaguars after being the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Does this open things up for another program in their division or conference?

Don’t bet on it. Literally.

It is hard to suggest backing the Tigers to win the ACC Atlantic Division and the ACC title for the seventh season in a row. There is just not nearly enough payoff there for how long your money is tied up.

It is similarly difficult to suggest backing anyone to knock them off of the perch in the Atlantic Division or in the ACC overall. If you do think someone in the Atlantic Division is going to nip them in the regular season, which is not likely, additionally place a bet on the Coastal Division’s top contenders as they are the better alternate options for the ACC title.

Here is our look at the ACC Atlantic Division, with division and conference title odds from BetMGM.

ACC Atlantic Division Betting Odds

Odds to win the ACC Championship

  • Clemson -900
  • Louisville +3000
  • Boston College +4000
  • Florida State +5000
  • North Carolina State +5000
  • Wake Forest +5000
  • Syracuse +25000

Odds to Win the ACC Atlantic Division

  • Clemson -2000
  • Boston College +1800
  • Louisville +1800
  • Wake Forest +2200
  • Florida State +2500
  • North Carolina State +2500
  • Syracuse +10000

ACC Atlantic Division Team-by-Team Betting Breakdown

Clemson Tigers

  • Odds to win the ACC: -900
  • Odds to win the ACC Atlantic Division: -2000

The Tigers are turning things over, saying goodbye to Lawrence and RB Travis Etienne, two all time greats. How much of a drop-off will there be? Based on their results under Dabo Swinney, it will be minimal.

With no North Carolina or Miami on their schedule, and no Notre Dame to trip them up this year with the Irish back at independent status, the Tigers have a clear path to another perfect ACC record. Could a trip to Louisville be tricky? It is possible, but don’t bank on it.

Picking North Carolina or Miami to win the ACC is a more worthwhile move than chucking a lot of money to win a little on Clemson to win, but again, don’t bank on that outcome. The Tigers have won the last four ACC title games by 35, 32, 45, and 24 points.

Louisville Cardinals

  • Odds to win the ACC: +3000
  • Odds to win the ACC Atlantic Division: +1800

The Cardinals took a step back in 2020, going 4-7 overall and 3-7 in ACC play. Quarterback Malik Cunningham threw for 20 touchdowns for the second straight season, but the offense didn’t fulfill its potential.

With the entire offensive line returning there is good reason to think that they post a winning record. But will they be much better than that in Scott Satterfield’s third year? He flirted with South Carolina last offseason, but the Cardinals will need to be better if he wants to continue to be linked with other notable jobs.

The Cardinals need to be better, given their tough early schedule. They open with Ole Miss in Atlanta, and after a gimme against Eastern Kentucky, host UCF. Their toughest conference games are at home, but we will see how much that matters. Being tied for the second-best odds to win the division says more about the state of the division after Clemson than it does about the Cardinals’ chances.

Boston College Eagles

  • Odds to win the ACC: +4000
  • Odds to win the ACC Atlantic Division: +1800

If I was going to choose a sleeper in the same division as Clemson, which is not really advisable, Boston College is a better bet than Louisville. Coach Jeff Hafley laid a nice foundation in his first season, as the Eagles went 6-5. One of those losses was a six-point loss at Clemson in a game that Lawrence missed due to COVID.

In his first season as starting quarterback, Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec was impressive, and he has the tools to play at the next level. Hafley is a defense-first guy, and I am looking for that unit to improve this season. They need to find some guys to replace their top tacklers, but I trust Hafley to get those guys squared away. The Eagles should be 4-0 when they open ACC play at Clemson on October 2. Are they worth a little sprinkle to win the division? They did get to play a full game against Uiagalelei, so they have an advantage no other Clemson foe has.

Florida State Seminoles

  • Odds to win the ACC: +5000
  • Odds to win the ACC Atlantic Division: +2500

Coach Mike Norvell did not have a good first season at FSU, and there is no guarantee that the Seminoles will be much better this year.

Who will start at quarterback? UCF transfer McKenzie Milton is a great story, but until we see him out there in a game we won’t know he is all the way back.

The quarterback position is important of course, but the fall of FSU has been because they are unable to defend. Being a defensive starter for FSU used to mean a ticket to the NFL, but that side has cratered. They yielded 36 points per game last season, and it is hard to see the offense improving enough to overcome a defense that does not improve significantly. This is a definite no-bet. Don’t get lured in by the brand.

North Carolina State Wolfpack

  • Odds to win the ACC: +5000
  • Odds to win the ACC Atlantic Division: +2500

The Wolfpack had a good 2020 season, finishing 8-4. With the tweaked schedule, they did not have to play Clemson or Notre Dame last year so they might have gotten off a little easy.

What does 2021 hold? On offense, quarterback Devin Leary has gained starting experience in each of the last two seasons, and potential is there if he can stay healthy. He was sidelined by a leg injury in October last season, curtailing a promising campaign.

It doesn't look like this group has the talent to make a serious run at the ACC title this season, but they do have a favorable schedule. Their toughest conference games are both at home this season, as they host Clemson to kickoff ACC play and close the season against North Carolina. If they can pull an upset in the first game, the latter could be a big game. That is not an if I would put my money on, however.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

  • Odds to win the ACC: +5000
  • Odds to win the ACC Atlantic Division: +2200

If you believe that experience matters then Wake Forest is a team you want to watch this season. They are not really a threat to win the title, but they return all of their starters on offense and eight on defense. That offensive group was sneaky good last season too, ranking third in the ACC in scoring at 36 points per game. Other than running back Kenneth Walker III, who transferred to Michigan State, the Demon Deacons have all of their major offensive contributors back.

It all starts at quarterback, where Sam Hartman has a wealth of experience despite still having three years of eligibility left. In 22 games from 2018-20, Hartman has thrown for 5,038 yards and 33 touchdowns, with only 15 interceptions in 661 attempts. Expect this unit to thrive in 2021 and score a lot of points again.

Will the defense be successful enough to put Wake in position for their best season under Dave Clawson? Their best defensive player, defensive lineman Carlos Basham, is now in the NFL. Even with him, they were 12th in scoring in defense in the ACC last year. If that unit can be serviceable, the Demon Deacons will be a tough out this season. However, three of their final four games are at North Carolina, Clemson, and Boston College.

Fortunately for Wake’s division title chances, the game against the Tar Heels is NOT a conference game. The two teams are playing the second part of a non-conference home-and-home series, with the Demon Deacons taking the win in Winston Salem in the other matchup in 2019.

Syracuse Orange

  • Odds to win the ACC: +25000
  • Odds to win the ACC Atlantic Division: +10000

When the Orange won 10 games in 2018 that might have been the worst thing to happen to coach Dino Babers as it significantly elevated expectations. They have not been able to live up to them, falling all the way to just one win last season.

Quarterback Tommy DeVito got hurt last season, but he has not had the level of success he was expected to, even though he put up some decent numbers in 2019. The Orange’s struggles are definitely not all on him, but this is a big season for him.

To be blunt, Syracuse is not to be considered even a darkhorse at this point. And their conference schedule doesn’t do them any favors either. Home games against Boston College and Pitt are their best chances for conference wins. Will Babers see the exit door if this season is a disaster?

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