ACC football picks: Florida State vs. #2 Clemson & 5 more

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

October 9th, 2019

Florida State
+26.5 (-110)
O 59.5 (-110)
-26.5 (-110)
U 59.5 (-110)
If this game were to be played for just one quarter, I’d consider taking the points with Florida State. Unfortunately for the Seminoles and their fans, four quarters will be played Saturday . Florida State's season has been defined by hot starts followed by monumental letdowns, and nothing would surprise me if this game followed suit.

Despite Florida State’s disappointing year, the Seminoles still have talent, and since the school hired Jim Leavitt to help the defense, that unit has shown improvement. Off a bye week I fully expect Leavitt will have the defense more disciplined and aggressive.

Unfortunately for the defense two important players, who would have been helpful against the loaded Clemson offense, have gone out in recent weeks. Linebacker Jaiden Lars-Woodbey and former five-star defensive end Joshua Kaindoh are both out for the year. To make matters worse, Kaindoh’s counterpart on the other side of the line, Janarius Robinson, is out for the first half because of a targeting suspension. Defensive tackle Marvin Wilson is possibly the most talented player on either roster not named Trevor Lawrence, but he doesn’t have a lot of support behind him.
Clemson has been sloppy lately, but the Tigers are also coming off a bye, so we will get the opportunity to see if they’ve regained focus for the second half of the season. We may see their best effort heresomething we haven’t seen in recent weeks from the defending champions. Clemson won this game 59-10 last year, and the Tigers still hold a massive advantage over Florida State. FSU will be competitive in the first half as its pace and talent will give Clemson some trouble, but it will be delaying the inevitable. The Seminoles will not be able to sustain enough drives or stop enough big plays, and Clemson will cruise to an easy win and cover.

Pick: Clemson -26.5

Syracuse at North Carolina State (-4.5), Thursday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Based off the games I’ve watched this year, this line should be reversed. Syracuse lost some big games early, but head coach Dino Babers has his team motivated and rolling now.

Pick: Syracuse +4.5

Virginia at Miami (-2), Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

These are the two teams I expect to make a run at the ACC Coastal division title, so this is a pivotal game. Virginia is a better overall team, but the Cavaliers showed plenty of weaknesses against Notre Dame. Miami has a strong defensive line and should be motivated after last week’s slip up against Virginia Tech. This should be a defensive struggle, and I'll take the home team.

Pick: Miami -2

Louisville at Wake Forest (-6), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network

The Louisville offense did better than I expected last week against Boston College, but the defense was atrocious and it cost the Cardinals the cover. Wake Forest is undefeated and knows its brand of football.

Pick: Wake Forest -6

Georgia Tech at Duke (-17.5), Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET

Duke and Pittsburgh staged a wild one last Saturday, and while Duke ultimately ended up on the wrong end of the outcome, the Blue Devils showed a lot of discipline to get back into the game. Georgia Tech has yet to cover a spread this year, and I’m betting they still won’t. The long season continues for the Yellow Jackets.

Pick: Duke -17.5

Rhode Island at Virginia Tech (-25.5), Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ACC Network

Virginia Tech pulled off an upset over Miami last week, but the Hokies nearly blew it after they opened up a 28-0 lead. They still aren’t a very good team and are ripe for a letdown after a big win.

Pick: Rhode Island +25.5

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