It is time for a larger week of college football. It’s not close to a complete week since several conferences won’t play this fall. Even so, it’s a week with a lot more FBS games than this past weekend, when there was a handful. The Big 12 and the ACC get started. The ACC is featuring a bunch of conference matchups that will generate the headlines. Remember that the ACC doesn’t have split divisions for this one season. It’s not a permanent move but a temporary solution to the pandemic.
There are 15 ACC teams in 2020, with Notre Dame joining the league for one season. The top teams in the conference will meet in the ACC Championship Game, replacing the division championship format.
Let’s take a look at the biggest sports betting matchups of the week:
Syracuse Orange at North Carolina Tar Heels
Odds: Tar Heels -23
North Carolina is ranked in the Top 25, a measurement of the talent on their roster. Quarterback Sam Howell had a promising freshman season and is expected to grow into his role as a sophomore. Howell should do well because his top four receivers are all back. North Carolina has a loaded offense, which is going to be hard to stop. The defense might be weak, but the offense is likely to outscore a bunch of teams.
On the other side, Syracuse is coming off a terrible 2019. It failed to build on what was an excellent 2018 that saw the program won 10 games under head coach Dino Babers. Syracuse’s defense should be okay. However, the offense struggled mightily last season and needs to find a way to rebound. North Carolina has the clear upper hand.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Florida State Seminoles
Odds: Seminoles -13
These are teams in transition. Georgia Tech has to deal with a bigger overhaul because it used the triple-option offense for a decade under previous head coach Paul Johnson, who retired after the 2018 season. When new coach Geoff Collins came in he didn’t want to keep the system, so he required a makeover of the offense. This involves different personnel and a different approach to recruiting. It was bad enough in Year 1 but even in Year 2, the pieces won’t fully be there for the Yellow Jackets, who are in the midst of a long-term rebuilding project.
Florida State moves from Willie Taggart to new coach Mike Norvell. Florida State’s 2019 offense operated at a snail’s pace, but Norvell is emphasizing afast tempo for the Seminoles, an entirely transformed way of going about their business. Expect some sluggishness in Week 1. That’s part of why we only see a total of 52 in the sportsbook, which feels low. Georgia Tech has the tougher assignment here, but both teams are likely to struggle.
Clemson Tigers at Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Odds: Tigers -33
Top-ranked Clemson is trying to make the national championship game for the third straight season and the fifth time in the past six. The Tigers have the best backfield in America with quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne, both expected to be picked early in the NFL Draft. Lawrence is likely to be a top-three pick, arguably No. 1. Wake Forest is shorthanded because star receiver Sage Surratt opted-out of the 2020 season due to a recent shoulder injury. He wants to be fully healthy for the NFL Combine and the NFL Draft next spring. It is hard to see how Wake Forest can put up a fight for more than one half.