2021 ACC Football Picks & Predictions: Clemson's Win Total Under May Hold Value

Alex Kirshner breaks down the ACC football season ahead, including whether or not he thinks someone can take down Clemson.
Alex Kirshner
Thu, July 29, 5:31 AM EDT

2021 ACC Football Picks & Predictions: Clemson's Win Total Under May Hold Value

The ACC’s 2021 football season sets up much like the last six. It’s a battle between the Clemson Tigers and everybody else, and –– here is a big spoiler –– Clemson will likely win it. But the Tigers’ dominance still leaves room for a lot of intriguing subplots around the rest of the conference. If you get past a likely lack of drama at the top, there’s a lot to keep up with.

Here are six futures to consider for the 2021 season. Odds come from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook and might vary by where you place your bets. You should also check your book’s policy on game cancelations, which could (and probably will) affect certain team win total bets over the course of the season. Championship bets are less likely to be affected.

Clemson: Under 11.5 wins @ -120

The Tigers are the far-and-away best team in the ACC, but a 12-0 year will be hard to pull off. There’s around a 50 percent chance the under clinches here in Week 1, because the Tigers are playing a tossup game against a similarly elite recruiting program, the Georgia Bulldogs.

If Clemson wins that game, the over will indeed look great, but it’s hard to dismiss the small possibility of the Tigers dropping one fluke game somewhere in the ACC. When mixed with the tossup game against UGA and the possibility of COVID-related absences –– which should be less frequent but still a factor this year –– there are enough reasons to expect at least a loss.

Duke: Under 4 wins @ -120

I’ve gone back and forth on Duke in the run-up to this season, but if you find the Blue Devils’ total as high as four wins, the under makes sense. There is only one game on the schedule that appears to be an absolute slam-dunk win, and that’s against North Carolina A&T –– a tremendous FCS team, but an FCS team all the same. Duke should also beat Kansas, the worst team in the Power 5, even though the Jayhawks have an interesting new coach in Lance Leipold. Let’s give them those two wins. It is hard to find two more, and I think the chances of getting any worse than a push on this bet are relatively low. David Cutcliffe should retire.

Pitt: Over 7 wins @ -120

It would be surprising if Pitt didn’t win at least seven games, though there’s a fair enough chance they wind up pushing this total rather than topping it. Pitt has a fifth-year quarterback in Kenny Pickett, who is yet to be much better than average but at least gives the Panthers a stable floor at the most important position on the field. On the other side of the ball, Pitt should be really good, despite losing a couple of defensive ends to the NFL. Interior lineman Calijah Kancey should be an all-conference anchor in the middle of the defense, and the secondary will get a boost when cornerback Damarri Mathis, who missed 2020 with an injury, returns.

Virginia Tech: Under 7 wins @ -145

The Hokies are not heading in a good direction under Justin Fuente, who nearly left for Baylor two offseasons ago and then churned out a disappointing season in 2020. Fuente is one of the country’s most obvious firing candidates heading into this fall. The schedule is not a picnic. North Carolina, West Virginia, Notre Dame, and Pitt are all on the slate in the first half of the season. If the Hokies don’t do well in those games, Fuente might not even be around for the back half of the season, and chaos might reign in Blacksburg. This doesn’t smell like more than a fringe bowl team unless QB Braxton Burmeister makes a humongous leap.

Miami To Win The ACC @ +1000

North Carolina To Win The ACC @ +1000

“Wow, he’s picking against Clemson to win the ACC? What a dumb loser,” someone may be thinking to themself right now. But that’s not what we’re doing. Clemson is almost certainly going to win the ACC. The Tigers are as heavy a favorite as you’ll ever find in any Power 5 conference, and it would be nothing short of stunning if they did not win the league in the end.

So, what are we doing here? We’re buying lottery tickets. Futures bets are a chance to do three things: 1) Find value, 2) Give yourself incentive to follow a few stories extra closely during the season, and 3) Create a small chance at a potentially big payout. Either Miami or UNC should win the ACC’s non-Clemson division, the Coastal, which would put them against the Tigers in the ACC Championship. When and if that matchup comes about, the Hurricanes or Tar Heels will not be getting +1000 odds, but probably something more like +300 or +500.

On the off (and unfortunate) chance Clemson has injury or COVID problems, you might find some benefit to holding a Miami or UNC ticket, particularly if you’re betting at a sportsbook that lets you cash out before a bet resolves. If you want a conference title bet, these are the ways to go. There is no value to be had in Clemson at -900, even if it’s very close to a sure thing you’ll win. If you want to buy a Clemson ticket at -900 to offset some of the likely loss here, that’s fair.

ACC Futures Predictions & Picks

Clemson: Under 11.5 wins @ -120

Duke: Under 4 wins @ -120

Pitt: Over 7 wins @ -120

Virginia Tech: Under 7 wins @ -145

Miami To Win The ACC @ +1000

North Carolina To Win The ACC @ +1000

Miami To Win The ACCACC Conference - Winner
Alex Kirshner
alex_kirshner
Alex Kirshner covers college football for the Moon Crew newsletter. He is a co-author of The Sinful Seven: Sci-Fi Western Legends of the NCAA, and he lives in Washington, D.C.
Jan 2021
Record
Wins
15
Losses
30
Push
0
ROI
-8.29%
0Betslip

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