ACC Picks: #1 Clemson vs. Syracuse & 5 more

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

September 12th, 2019

-28 (-110)
O 65 (-110)
+28 (-110)
U 65 (-110)
The #1 team in the country takes its first road trip of the season this Saturday when Clemson takes on ACC foe Syracuse in primetime. For the folks at ESPN and ABC, there were hopes that Syracuse would show a little more resistance against Maryland last week and they would come into this matchup undefeated but it wasn’t to be. Instead, Clemson enters 2-0 against a 1-1 unranked Syracuse team that finds itself as a 28-point underdog.
It isn’t often that you see a road team favored by 28 points or more in a conference matchup, especially against a team that isn’t a bottom-dweller of the conference. The fact that we see such a large spread in this game speaks to the dominance Clemson has over the rest of the conference. Going into the season Syracuse was ranked and considered the second-best team in the conference. We now know this might not have been deserved, but Syracuse isn’t exactly a pushover either.

Syracuse was expected to be tough defensively this year behind the strength of their secondary but against Maryland last week it was anything but as they gave up 63 points in defeat. In Saturday’s matchup vs. Clemson, despite the large spread, I’m still willing to lay the points. Clemson has speed all over the field and is every bit as threatening on offense as Maryland. When speed gets put on turf it plays even faster and I don’t see how the Syracuse team that played last week stops Trevor Lawrence and company. The only way for Syracuse to keep this game even slightly competitive is to slow the pace down but that isn’t head coach Dino Babers’ style. Syracuse will find itself in a one-team track race and I expect heavily-favored Clemson to score 50-plus in victory.

Pick: Clemson -28

Across the rest of the ACC there are other great games to bet on.

Florida State vs Virginia -7

Florida State head coach Willie Taggart is 1-5 against the spread as a road underdog at Oregon and FSU. The average margin of defeat is 17 points. Jim Leavitt has been brought in to try and fix the FSU defense, but he hasn’t arrived in time to save FSU from keeping this game within 7. Virginia by 10-14 in this one.

Louisville vs. Western Kentucky +10

Louisville showed significant improvement opening weekend against Notre Dame, but this is still a bad team. I’ll take the points in this intra-state competition.

The Citadel vs. Georgia Tech -26

I don’t know much about The Citadel, but I do know that Georgia Tech is instituting new schemes with a roster full of underclassmen. I’d take the points.

Pittsburgh vs. Penn State -17

Penn State is one of a select few teams in the country that has a predominantly blue-chip recruit roster composition. The talent disparity is significant, and Penn State seemed to figure things out in the second half last week vs Buffalo. This looks like a rout with Penn State covering the -17.

North Carolina vs Wake Forest -3

I’m 0-2 this season picking against UNC, but if UNC wins they’ll only be the fifth team in history to start the season 3-0 straight up after being underdogs for all three opening games. I’m siding with history and laying the 3.

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