ACC betting preview: Tight race behind favorite Florida State
The Florida State Seminoles have won 15 straight games against the ACC and are heavily favored to continue that domination in 2014.
At 1/3 to win the ACC Championship, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, the defending national champions are clearly the team to beat in the conference.
Florida State was dominant in 2013, amassing a 14-0 SU and 11-3 ATS record while beating opponents by an average margin of 40 points per game. Freshman quarterback Jameis Winston was electrifying in his brilliant Heisman Trophy winning campaign, and he is the favorite to win the trophy again this season at 9/2.
After the obvious fact that Florida State is the clear favorite to win the ACC, the conference starts to get hazy. The Clemson Tigers, Louisville Cardinals and North Carolina Tar Heels are each going off at 10/1 to win the ACC title, and the Miami Hurricanes and Virginia Tech Hokies are going off at 12/1 to do so.
Louisville is coming off a strong 12-1 SU season in the American and makes its ACC debut this season. The best bet on the Cardinals last year was on the UNDER as 10 of Louisville's 13 games went under the total in 2013.
The Cardinals might take a step backwards with former head coach Charlie Strong gone to Texas and the change in conferences, but they should once again be a strong defensive team and brought in former coach Bobby Petrino to replace Strong.
On paper, Clemson appears to be Florida State's biggest threat in the ACC. The Tigers went 11-2 SU and 7-6 ATS last year and averaged 40.2 points per game. Senior quarterback Cole Stoudt should be able to pick up where Tajh Boyd left off in Dabo Swinney's fast-paced offense, but considering the fact that the Tigers got stomped 51-14 at home by Florida State last year, can they expect a better result in Tallahassee this fall?
North Carolina should be able to improve on a 7-6 SU and 8-5 ATS season thanks to a very promising group on offense, and the Tar Heels are favored to win the ACC Coastal Division at 7/4. But a suspect defense could cost North Carolina over the course of the season and open the door for Miami or Virginia Tech.
The Hurricanes and the Hokies are the wild cards in the ACC this year. Virginia Tech has a strong enough defense to keep games close, but the offense will need to take a big step forward to compete in the high-powered ACC. Miami has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball including Heisman contender Duke Johnson -- 33/1 to win the trophy -- at running back, but question marks at quarterback and on defense could hold the Hurricanes back.
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples and Martin Rickman analyze the ACC entering the 2014 season.
Rounding out the ACC with odds to win the conference are:
Florida State 1/3
North Carolina 12/1
Virginia Tech 12/1
Georgia Tech 25/1
NC State 100/1
Boston College 200/1
Wake Forest 200/1