The ACC bounced back from a tough opening week with mixed results in Week 2, highlighted by Pittsburgh’s 41-34 win over Tennessee from the SEC and Virginia’s 42–14 dismantling of the Big Ten’s Illinois. Unfortunately for the conference, Florida State suffered a last-second 20-17 loss to FCS Jacksonville State, Syracuse was toppled17–7 by Rutgers from the Big Ten and SEC West member Mississippi State defeated ACC Atlantic hopeful N.C. State by the score of 24–10.
After two weeks of the 2021 season, only five teams in the ACC have an unblemished record, and only one of those, Virginia Tech at 15th, is ranked in the Top 25 in the polls and is joined by one-loss teams Clemson at sixth, North Carolina at 21st and Miami holding on in the 24th spot despite barely getting past Appalachian State. The games this weekend will provide plenty of opportunities for bettors to take advantage of some favorable college football odds to bet online.
Here are the four matchups that will get the most attention, but all of the conference teams except Syracuse and N.C. State are playing in Week 3.
(15) Virginia Tech Hokies (2–0) at West Virginia Mountaineers (1–1) (-2.5)
This is the renewal of a rivalry that dates to when both schools were independents and then later as members of the Big East conference. The Hokies surprised ACC Coastal favorite North Carolina 17 – 10 in Week and followed it up with a workmanlike 35 – 14 spread covering victory over Middle Tennessee State last week.
West Virginia was beaten by Maryland 30 -24 in their opener and then swamped former Division II and recent FCS member Long Island 66 0, which obviously influenced oddsmakers to install the Mountaineers as 2.5 point favorites over the Hokies. Maryland threw for 332 yards and ran for another 164 against West Virginia while picking off two passes and holding the visiting Mountaineers to 48 yards rushing.
On the moneyline, Virginia Tech is at +110, which indicates a lack of confidence in the Mountaineers’ ability to defeat the Hokies, much less cover the spread. That Week 2 game for West Virginia was meaningless, so take the Hokies to win the game outright, but stay with the under on the total wager.
Virginia Cavaliers (2–0) at (21) North Carolina Tar Heels (1–1) (-8.0)
Both of these teams have faced one Power Five team so far in 2021, with Virginia dominating Illinois last week and the Tar Heels falling to Virginia Tech in their opener. If the Cavaliers are for real, it could mean another crowded season at the top of the ACC Coastal, which has seen every team win the division title once from 2013 through 2019, the most recent season of division play in the conference.
Virginia prevailed last year in a 44–41 shootout upset on their way to a 5–5 record in 2020 and highlighted the inconsistency that North Carolina demonstrated on defense throughout the season. After winning four of their last five contests in 2020, Virginia is off to a good start and should be a stout test for a Tar Heel squad that may have been a bit overrated at number ten to begin the season.
For fans not familiar with the ACC, this is actually a big rivalry game between two schools that consider themselves the academic superiors to the rest of the conference, so while it’s not quite a “throw the records out the window” kind of game, there is an aspect to the game that adds some juice for the players. At +250 on the moneyline, Virginia has a good chance to win outright and should definitely cover the spread.
Michigan State Spartans (2–0) at (24) Miami Hurricanes (1–1) (-6.0)
Michigan State opened the season with a 38 – 21 drubbing of 2020 Big Ten West winner Northwestern while rolling up 326 yards rushing on 37 attempts led by Kenneth Walker III with 264 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries. That’s not a great sign for Miami, who is allowing 150 yards a game on the ground, and their opponents have picked up almost 427 yards per contest in total offense.
Miami was drubbed 44–13 in Week 1 by top-ranked Alabama and struggled to win 25 – 23 against Appalachian State in Week 2, giving up 352 yards and finally prevailing on a 43-yard field goal with just over two minutes left in the game. Through two games, the Spartans are averaging 299 yards on the ground, and Walker has accumulated a total of 321 yards and five touchdowns, gaining almost 11 yards every time he touches the ball.
I’m not sure which Miami team the oddsmakers think is showing up on Saturday, but unless it’s the national championship Hurricane squad from the 1980s, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to slow down the Spartans’ rushing attack. Take Michigan State to win outright, and the 56.5 over/under total will also get blown away, so go with the over.
UCF Knights (2–0) (-7.0) at Louisville Cardinals (1–1)
Former Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn inherited a loaded UCF offense, and they’ve delivered so far in 2021. They’ve thrown for a yard short of 700 yards and run for another 545 in victories over Boise State by 35 – 31 and 63 – 14 against FCS Bethune-Cookman.
Louisville was overwhelmed 43–24 by Ole Miss in Week 1, but the Cardinals rebounded to defeat FCS Eastern Kentucky 30 – 3 in Week 2. The challenge for Louisville will be to figure out a defense that has been particularly stingy against the run, with UCF giving up just 22 yards a game on the ground through two contests.
The Cardinals are led by quarterback Malik Cunningham who was plagued by turnovers in 2020 and has committed two on the season so far, but the real problem for Louisville is their defense, which is giving up over 400 yards a game. Malzahn will be looking closely at what Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin was able to orchestrate against the Cardinals, and he has the playmakers to inflict similar damage on the Louisville defense.
This one could get ugly, with UCF operating at pace, and unless Louisville can keep up on the scoreboard, the Knights could win in a runaway. Take the visitors and give the points.
Around the ACC
There are several other games involving ACC teams that are worth looking at the college football spreads to see what games look good to wager on. Here is a rundown of the rest of the action in the conference for Week 3 to consider betting online.
- Boston College Eagles (2–0) (-15) @ Temple Owls (1–1)
- Western Michigan Broncos (1–1) @ Pittsburgh Panthers (2–0) (-15)
- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1–1) @ (6) Clemson Tigers (1–1) (-28)
- Florida State Seminoles (0– 2) @ Wake Forest (2–0) (-4.5)
- Northwestern (1–1) (-2.5) @ Duke (1–1)