ACC football Week 4 picks: Florida State vs. Miami & 4 more

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

September 25th, 2020

One of the greatest rivalries in sports resumes Saturday, when the Florida State Seminoles head south to take on the Miami Hurricanes.

In the 65th matchup of the series, the Hurricanes are favored by 11.5 points, after a 2-0 start to the season. The game is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, and despite the debut of SEC play, it is the most fascinating game of the day.

Sat, September 26 2020, 11:30 PM

Miami Florida Hurricanes






O 54

Florida State Seminoles






U 54

The Hurricanes own a three-game win streak in the series and are deserving favorites, given their early season success.

FSU got off to a rough start in its lone game. The Seminoles were defeated by ACC bottom-dweller Georgia Tech.

Houston transfer D’Eriq King has been a dynamic playmaker for Miami. He tossed 75- and 47-yard touchdown passes against Louisville. He has not been utilized as a runner like he was during his days in Houston, but his 325 passing yards against a bad Louisville defense has to be encouraging to Miami fans.

For Florida State, a 10-0 halftime lead against Georgia Tech fell apart in the second half, when the offense was unable to move the ball.

Quarterback James Blackman takes much of the heat, but his offensive line proved completely ineffective after four of five starters suffered injuries.

With a week off, all five starters are expected to start, and if they stay healthy, the FSU line should look better than it did against Georgia Tech.

The strength of FSU’s roster is its defense. Asante Samuel Jr., the son of longtime NFL defensive back Samuel Sr., looks like a future star after he recorded two heady interceptions against Georgia Tech.

With no game against Florida on the schedule, the matchup with Miami is the most important game FSU will play all season.

I expect FSU to play looser and with plenty of passion in its second game for quarantined head coach Mike Norvell. The favorite in this matchup is just 3-12 against the spread in the last 15 meetings.

Pick: Florida State +11.5

Louisville vs. Pitt

Sat, September 26 2020, 4:00 PM

Pittsburgh Panthers






O 55

Louisville Cardinals






U 55

Louisville showed plenty of offensive firepower in its primetime matchup against Miami. The Cardinals put up 28 points in the second half, as quarterback Malik Cunningham tallied 307 yards and three touchdowns.

Pittsburgh scored 55 points in its first game against Austin Peay and just 21 points against a bad Syracuse team. The Panthers still managed 23 first downs in that 21-10 victory over the Orange, as QB Kenny Pickett completed 25 of 36 passes.

Louisville is a more talented team, but the game tape against Miami revealed some glaring coaching mistakes when it comes to putting players in necessary positions to defend against misdirection, wheel routes, and throwbacks.

The Cardinals are 1-6 ATS in their last seven against Pittsburgh.

Pick: Pitt -3

Georgia Tech vs. Syracuse

Sat, September 26 2020, 4:00 PM

Syracuse Orange






O 52.5

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets






U 52.5

Bookmakers and bettors, alike, don’t think very highly of Syracuse. The Orange have been 21-point underdogs in each of their first two games. In their first matchup against UNC, they failed to cover, but Syracuse successfully covered by 10 points last week against Pittsburgh.

Georgia Tech chased UCF last week and defeated FSU two weeks ago. The Yellow Jackets are still far from being a top-half team in this league, and the ACC is notorious for ugly games between their mediocre members.

Georgia Tech is 0-4 ATS in its last four games as the favorite.

Pick: Syracuse +7.5

Duke vs. Virginia

Sat, September 26 2020, 8:00 PM

Virginia Cavaliers






O 45.5

Duke Blue Devils






U 45.5

Duke let me down big time last week against Boston College, with five turnovers that eliminated any hope of being competitive. Now the Blue Devils get to face a superior Virginia team making its season debut, after COVID-19 protocols delayed the start to the Cavaliers’ year.

Virginia has to break in a new quarterback since Bryce Perkins graduated, but UVA is 5-0 ATS in its last five against Duke and has the tougher defense.

Pick: Virginia -5.5

North Carolina State vs. Virginia Tech

This game was delayed due to COVID-19, and the Hokies have to be excited to finally take the field against a team they have defeated four straight times.

The Hokies plan to start returning quarterback Hendon Hooker, who had an efficient 18 touchdown passes against just two interceptions last year.

Head coach Justin Fuente has indicated that Oregon transfer Braxton Burmeister will get reps, as well. Burmeister was a former 4-star dual-threat recruit, and Fuente wouldn’t disrupt what otherwise appears to be a good thing, unless Burmeister was showcasing some impressive talent in practice.

Pick: Virginia Tech -7