The ACC is as wide open as it’s been in recent memory, with both the Atlantic and Coastal division clearly up for grabs as the teams face off against each other, with most of the non-conference affairs out of the way. Virginia Tech suffered a tough last-second loss to Notre Dame last week and will play host Pittsburgh with both teams sporting 1-0 records in the conference.
The winner will have a leg up in the Coastal, especially since North Carolina has been all but eliminated after falling to Florida State in a shocking upset, dropping to 2-3 in conference play. The Tar Heels can return the favor this week as they welcome Miami in a game that the Hurricanes almost have to win in order to stay in contention.
Wake Forest is idle after running its record to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the ACC with a come-from-behind, 40-37 overtime win at Syracuse to remain in control of the Atlantic. It’s Clemson’s turn to head North and keep its hopes alive as the Tigers take on the Orange at the Carrier Dome, looking to keep pace with Wake, but the Tigers will need help to advance to the league title game for the seventh consecutive season.
Clemson Tigers (3-2, 2-1) (-13.5) at Syracuse Orange (3-3, 0-2) (45 o/u):
The Tigers had a much-needed week off after barely getting by Boston College 19-13 in Week 5 and head coach Dabo Swinney probably spent most of the time trying to figure out what his team needs to do to generate more offense. Clemson is averaging just 12.5 points a game in regulation against FBS competition, which just won’t get the job done as the season progresses.
Syracuse gave the Demon Deacons and Florida State all they could handle and the Orange have now suffered consecutive three-point defeats in conference play. After a couple of close calls, Syracuse might be ready to get over the hump, especially against a team that has a lot of difficulties scoring for the entire season and a loss that seems better now that Florida State has upset North Carolina. Take the points and the Orange to at least keep this one close.
Duke Blue Devils (3-3, 0-2) at Virginia Cavaliers (4-2, 2-2) (-11) (69 o/u):
Virginia came from 17 points down in the fourth quarter to overcome Louisville behind 487 passing yards from quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who is leading the nation in passing at 410 yards a game. The Cavaliers have virtually no running game and suspect defense, but it doesn’t seem to matter when Armstrong gets on a roll, as he did to lead Virginia to a 34-33 victory.
“For Brennan Armstrong to come back from the third quarter he had, that’s hard to do,” Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “Especially in the third quarter on the road. I was really proud of him.”
Duke appeared as if they might have made some improvement from last season’s debacle, but now have lost back-to-back games to North Carolina and Georgia Tech to open their conference season. They finally took a late lead against the Yellow Jackets after trailing by ten points in the second quarter but ended up yielding a touchdown with under a minute left to let Georgia Tech escape with a 31-27 win.
Virginia’s last two wins, both in the ACC, have been by a combined three points while their losses have both come by 20 points to Wake Forest and North Carolina. This is a tough game to bet online, but with Virginia’s defensive issues, Duke has a great chance to cover the spread, so take the points and the Blue Devils.
Miami Hurricanes (2-3, 0-1) at North Carolina Tar Heels (3-3, 2-3) (-6.5) (62.5 o/u):
Before the season started, this game was touted as the contest that would most likely decide the winner of the division, with both teams coming into the season as the favorites to represent the Coastal in the league title game. After dropping their third conference game to Florida State last week, the Tar Heels may end up having to play spoiler, unless things get really crazy in the division, which has happened a couple of times in the past.
Miami, with just the single loss to Virginia in its lone league game, still controls its own destiny, with almost the entire conference schedule ahead of them. Defensively, the Hurricanes have been okay, but their offense has yet to really click in a way they’ll need it to in order to run the table and escape with the Coastal championship.
When the Tar Heels win, they win big, but when they lose, it’s pretty ugly. Miami has struggled against good offensive teams, and North Carolina certainly fits that description, so stick with the Tar Heels and give the points if you absolutely have to make a sport betting wager on this game.
Pittsburgh Panthers (4-1, 1-0) (-6) at Virginia Tech (3-2, 1-0) (57 o/u):
The Panthers are one of the two big surprises in the league and are leading the ACC and the nation in scoring at over 52 points a game, with their only loss coming when they put up 41 points but giving up 44 to Western Michigan from the MAC. Pittsburgh is coming off a bye week after taking Georgia Tech to the woodshed, jumping out to a 41-14 lead and eventually winning 52-21.
Virginia Tech has suffered two tough losses after having late chances to seal victories against West Virginia and last week against Notre Dame, losing on a last-second field goal after taking a 29-21 lead with 3:55 left only to have the Irish storm back for a 32-29 victory. The Hokies play well defensively, but their offense has been anemic most of the season and they will be hard-pressed to keep up with Pittsburgh in lighting up the scoreboard.
The line is less than a touchdown, and even though the Hokies might be able to keep this one close, the Panthers are likely to win by more than six points unless Virginia Tech plays outstanding defense. Take Pittsburgh and lay the points for a team that looks like an early favorite to win the Coastal division.
(22) N.C. State Wolfpack (4-1, 1-0) (-3) at Boston College Eagles (4-1, 0-1) (48 o/u):
The Wolfpack finally got a big 27-21 victory over Clemson in overtime earlier in the season, something Boston College just missed out on in their last outing before getting a week off. This is N.C. State’s also had a bye last week and will be playing its first conference game since the win over Clemson.
With Wake Forest perfect through the first half of its league slate, it puts pressure on the other teams in the division to win. Although N.C. State took down the six-time defending conference champions, they have been all that impressive in their pair of contests against Power Five opponents, including in a 24-10 loss to Mississippi State in Week 2.
Other than the Clemson loss, Boston College only has one other appearance against a Power Five opponent when they pulled out a 41-34 overtime win against Missouri from the SEC, a team that has mostly underperformed, including getting waxed 62-24 by Tennessee. Boston College can be a tough place for opposing teams, but N.C. State should be able to pull out a close win and cover the college football spread, so give the points and take the Wolfpack, while going with the over in what could be a 30-24 outcome.