The Atlantic Coast Conference is struggling. Clemson is the cream of the crop but the rest of the conference, with few exceptions, is not following suit.
Florida State, which entered the season ranked, is an abject disaster. Meanwhile, Miami and Louisville already have losses. Few schools in the league have made big statements, and of the ones which have done well, none are poised to mount a big challenge to Clemson later on in the season.
What can a college football betting fan expect from the upcoming slate of ACC games, with only three games matching two conference teams? Here’s a look at our Week 4 ACC picks:
The Pittsburgh Panthers beat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this past week, establishing a lead with their defense before hanging on in the fourth quarter for a narrow victory. The win might be more of a reflection of how bad Georgia Tech is rather than an indication of how good Pittsburgh is.
Nevertheless, it was a must-win game and Pitt won it, which gives the Panthers some encouragement going into this next game against North Carolina.
The Tar Heels looked terrible against East Carolina in Week 2 of the season and that was after looking mediocre (but not awful) against California in Week 1. UNC did not play in Week 3 because its game against UCF was canceled.
The interesting question will be if North Carolina will gain more understanding – and thereby play a sharper, better game – as a result of its unexpected week off, or if the break will cause UNC to be sluggish on yet another Saturday.
That is hard to answer. Pittsburgh, though, is a manageable opponent for North Carolina to play at home. On top of that, what we do know is UNC plays well in this series, covering six of the last eight meetings. We’ll take them plus the points in this spot.
Spread Pick: North Carolina (+3.5) with Karamba.
Outright: Pittsburgh (-190) with Karamba.
Georgia Tech’s woes are well documented. The hope for a defensive resurgence this year under new coordinator Nate Woody has not materialized. The Yellow Jackets still struggle to get off the field. They still don’t make the clutch plays they need to make on defense.
Untimely mistakes on offense have killed Georgia Tech, since this team does not play with very large margins and has to be great on offense in order for its defensive weaknesses to not matter. The offense usually has to bail out the defense for Georgia Tech. That is how this program has typically functioned under head coach Paul Johnson.
Clemson is a team built on defense and, more specifically,y on the strength of its defensive line. If any team is likely to shut down Georgia Tech this season, Clemson is the foremost example. This is not the team Georgia Tech wants to be playing right now. They haven’t been a home dog of 14.5-17 points in the last 20 years, so that tells you quite a bit.
Spread Pick: Clemson (-16.5) with Karamba.
Outright: Clemson (-935) with Karamba.
This is a highly unpredictable game made even more volatile because of a significant lineup change made by Louisville. The Cardinals announced that Malik Cunningham, who has starred in a relief role in the early part of the season, will be the new starter in place of Jawon Pass at quarterback.
Louisville’s problems might go beyond the passer, but Cunningham has clearly gotten more out of the UL offense than Pass has to this point in time.
This change could light a fire under the Cardinals and since Virginia isn’t very good – they lost at Indiana in Week 2 and were challenged in by Ohio last week – we’ll go with the Cards.
Spread Pick: Louisville (+5) with Karamba.
Outright: Louisville (+165) with Karamba.
This is the one game on the list in which two ACC teams aren’t going head-to-head against each other. It is also the only game on the list in which both teams did not play in Week 3 due to Hurricane Florence.
Marshall actually thrives in this role, covering six of their last seven as a home dog of 3.5 to 7 points. They are also 10-2 ATS in their last 12 as a dog. But their early results – a 32-16 win over Eastern Kentucky and a 35-28 win at Miami of Ohio – aren’t overly encouraging.
The Wolfpack are led by a veteran quarterback Ryan Finley, who should be able to do what he needs in this game. Take the Wolfpack in this spot.
Spread Pick: North Carolina State (-5) with Karamba.