by Mark Mayer | EDITORS NOTE: This is the first in a 10-week series running through Aug. 26 focusing on season openers, betting strength and weaknesses among college footballs premier conferences. So clip and save.
Virginia Tech may have won the Atlantic Coast Conference title last year, but it was Wake Forest that captured the hearts of bettors.
WF (9-4 SU, 10-3 ATS): The Demon Deacons were a perfect 7-0 against the spread at home for Jim Grobe, one of the best coaches youve never heard of. Wake Forest was also 5-0 ATS facing nonconference teams. Keep that in mind when the Deacs travel to Waco for their opener against Baylor. Wake was +10 in takeaways needs and the over was 7-1 in ACC play.
Va Tech (11-3, 7-6): The Hokies are renowned for forcing turnovers and last year produced a stellar +15 in that department in league play. VT was 5-1 ATS on the road, including 3-0 as a favorite. Surprisingly, Tech was just 2-5 ATS in Blacksburg as a favorite.
Virginia (9-4, 6-7): The Cavs were just 1-6 ATS as a favorite, but 3-1 ATS as an underdog. That role as a dog will come up early when preseason No. 1 Southern Cal makes a rare trip to Charlottesville. The over was 8-5 in Virginias games last year.
BC (11-3, 8-5): Boston College played its best ball away from Chestnut Hill, going 4-0 ATS as an underdog. The under was 5-1 in BCs road games, which could continue in the season opener at Kent State. However, Matt Ryan is now the QB for the Atlanta Falcons.
Clemson (9-4, 6-6): The Tigers had an excellent +12 takeaway last year, but were just 1-3 ATS facing nonconference teams. That mark will be tested in the opener with Alabama visiting the Tigers at Death Valley. Note that Clemsons first five games are at home and the foes get easier.
Duke (1-11, 5-7): Considering Duke only won once, covering five is reason to check when the Blue Devils are double-digit dogs, which should be often. Duke was 3-1 ATS as an away dog and this year plays its first four games in Durham.
FSU (7-6 SU, 6-7 ATS): Six losses just wont cut it in Bobby Bowdenville. What needs to go right this season is an upgrade at QB and a reverse of the 3-5 ATS mark as a road favorite. Defense was down as well, causing the over to go 8-5 in FSUs games.
Ga Tech (7-6, 5-7): It may be hard to get decent lines on Techs first two games against Jacksonville State and Gardner Webb. Turnovers were a problem for Tech, -7 in giveaway / takeaways. The Yellow Jackets were 2-0 ATS as an away favorite.
Maryland: (6-7, 4-8): The Terps were a good under team, going 8-4 in that category last season. The +8 turnover ratio (+10 on the road) was promising, but a 2-5 ATS road mark ruined what could have been a winning season.
Miami, FL (5-7, 4-8): It was more like "Cane Mutiny" last year for the U, which was a poor 2-6 ATS as a favorite. Miami figures to bounce back this season, especially on the road where the Hurricanes were just 1-4 straight up. The opener with Charleston Southern is a joke.
NC State (5-7, 4-7): The Wolfpack open the season on the road against South Carolina hoping not to repeat last seasons horrific -16 turnover ratio. The over was 6-2 in NC States games against ACC competition.
UNC (4-8, 5-6): The Tar Heels were terrible on the road last year, losing all six contests away from Chapel Hill. At home was a different story, as the Tar Heels went 2-0 ATS as an underdog. UNC for sure wont be a dog in the opener against McNeese St.
Next week: Big East.
Atlantic Coast Conference
THURSDAY, AUG. 28
|Wake Forest at Baylor|
|Charleston So at Miami, FL|
SATURDAY, AUG. 30
|BC at Kent State|
|Alabama at Clemson|
|James Madison at Duke|
|W. Carolina at Florida St|
|Jacksonville St at Ga Tech|
|Delaware at Maryland|
|McNeese St at N. Carolina|
|Virginia Tech at E. Carolina|
|Southern Cal at Virginia|
|NC State at S. Carolina|