2020 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Football Preview: Odds and Predictions
2020 ACC Football Betting Odds
The odds for the 2020 ACC Football Season are provided by 888Sport NJ Sportsbook.
2020/2021 ACC Winner
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In just over four months, the college football season will be upon us barring, any interruptions related to COVID-19. With that in mind, we can start taking a look at each of the Power Five conferences and who the betting favorites are to win each league.
We will start by previewing the ACC, whose defending champion, Clemson, managed to reach last season’s National Championship game. Odds included in this article are from 888Sport NJ, with the first figure being odds to win the conference, and the second their odds to win their division.
Once again, Clemson is expected to face little resistance in their quest for a sixth consecutive trip to the College Football Playoff. The Tigers will be loaded with talent as star quarterback Trevor Lawrence will return for his junior season with running back Travis Etienne as well as receivers Amari Rodgers and Justyn Ross.
The defense will have some experienced players back in Death Valley, including sophomore defensive tackle Tyler Davis, who was second on the team in sacks behind the NFL-bound Isaiah Simmons.
The biggest challenge on Clemson’s schedule will be a road trip to Notre Dame on November 7th, which will be a critical resume builder since the Tigers will not play any Coastal Division betting favorites.
Another year, another offseason debating whether The U is finally back. There is some optimism in Coral Gables though, much of it is due to the arrival of transfer quarterback D’Eriq King. King will have some playmakers to work within tight end Brevin Jordan, receiver Dee Wiggins, and running back Cam’Ron Harris. The big question will be how the offensive line holds up given the lack of significant experience at that group.
Redshirt sophomore defensive end Gregory Rousseau will be expected to be a star once again, after posting 15.5 sacks in 2019. Junior corner and team interception leader D.J. Ivey will anchor the secondary.
Fortunately for the Canes, their schedule is not too daunting with a road trip to a rebuilding Michigan State team in late September, along with rival Florida State visiting Hard Rock Stadium. Games against Coastal contenders North Carolina and Virginia Tech could be the difference between an ACC title game appearance and a repeat of last season.
North Carolina Tarheels
— Sam Howell (@Sam_Howell2) April 17, 2020
The Tarheels will look to take another big step forward after a strong showing in Mack Brown’s first season back in Chapel Hill. Having ACC Rookie of the Year Sam Howell under center will definitely help their cause, as will the return of 1,000-yard receivers Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome. The Heels will also bring back their dynamic rushing duo of Michael Carter and Javonte Williams who combined for over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Left tackle is a void that will need to be filled after the graduation of Charlie Heck.
Former quarterback and leading tackler Chazz Surratt will be back for his senior season to anchor the defines, where he will once again be paired with sack leader Tomon Fox.
Like Miami, UNC is, fortunately, avoiding Clemson this year, with their inter-divisional opponents being Boston College and rival NC State. Tarheel fans will get an early look at what to expect in the 2020 season, as they open up against Group of Five power UCF followed by a neutral site showdown with Auburn.
Virginia Tech Hokies
After a promising 10-4 season in Justin Fuentes’ 2016 debut in Blacksburg, the Hokies have shown little progress in the three following seasons. During those seasons, Virginia Tech has won nine, six, and eight games while finishing with defeats in their bowl games.
The Hokies will need more consistency from the quarterback position, whether it may come from Hendon Hooker or Quincy Patterson II. The departure of top rusher Deshawn McClease means more playmakers will need to step up as well. On the other side of the ball, the defense should be one of the stronger units for Tech, with the return of several key pieces, including leading tacklers Rayshard Ashby and Divine Deablo.
As far as the schedule goes, the Hokies will get a chance to make a name for themselves early when Penn State visits Lane Stadium on September 12th.
Florida State Seminoles
The Mike Norvell era has begun in Tallahassee after an abrupt end to the Willie Taggart experiment. Norvell will have some talent to help him get a head start in the form of wide receiver Tamorrion Terry and defensive tackle Cory Durden. However, he will need to find a quarterback he can trust to run his offense.
Seminoles fans will get to see how their team stacks up against Power Five foes on opening day when they take on West Virginia in Atlanta. The annual meetings with Clemson, Miami, and Florida will also serve as a barometer for how long of a rebuild FSU could be in for.
The Cardinals will look to build on a solid first season under Scott Satterfield, who led Louisville to an 8-5 record. They will have plenty of offensive firepower coming back to campus, with starting quarterback Malik Cunningham, top rusher Javian Hawkins, and top receiver Chatarius Atwell coming back. The defense will need to show improvement, however, after ranking 109th in points allowed per game (33.4).
“I know that I gotta keep working and getting better, because there’s a lot of weight behind that number.” @JaylenTwyman is putting in work to represent @AaronDonald97 & the No. 97 jersey for @Pitt_FB ? pic.twitter.com/8rGdfrDKzV
— ACC Network (@accnetwork) April 23, 2020
Pitt has been the epitome of mediocrity during the Pat Narduzzi era, never winning more than eight games. Perhaps having Kenny Pickett back under center for his senior year could rejuvenate an anemic offense to support a strong returning pass rush that features Jaylen Twyman and Patrick Jones II.
The Hoos had a banner year in 2019, winning nine games and appearing in their first-ever ACC Championship game. They will have to break in a new quarterback since Bryce Perkins has exhausted his eligibility, however, the new man under center will get to throw to a solid throwing target in Terrell Jane (73 catches for 878 yards in 2019). Virginia fans will quickly find out whether last season was a fluke or not, as of September matchups against CFP contenders, Georgia and Clemson await them.
NC State Wolfpack
Wolfpack fans will look to forget last season as their squad went 4-8 overall and 1-7 in ACC play, the worst season they’ve had since Dave Doeren took over in 2013. Doeren will need one of his young quarterbacks among Devin Leary, Bailey Hockman, and Matt McKay to quickly learn from last year’s disaster.
One year after a surprising 10 win season in 2018, Syracuse fell flat with a 5-7 record. Losing top rusher Moe Neal and 1,000-yard receiver Thrishton Jackson will hurt, however, the defense will have All-American safety Andre Cisco roaming in the secondary for another season.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
— Sam Hartman (@sam_hartman10) February 26, 2020
The Demon Deacons have enjoyed their best four year stretch in program history, reaching four consecutive bowl games. It will be hard to envision their offense being as explosive as they were last year, however, as quarterback Jamie Newman transferred to Georgia, while three offensive line starters in Nathan Gilliam, Jake Benzinger, and Justin Herron graduated.
Duke Blue Devils
Given the relative success of transfer quarterbacks in recent years, Duke will see if Clemson transfer Chase Brice can provide the Blue Devils with the same fortunes. Brice will get to work with a handful of returning playmakers, which includes a two-headed rushing attack of Deon Jackson and Mataeo Durant.
Boston College Eagles
BC will look to turn a new page after years of .500 football under former coach Steve Addazio. New coach Jeff Hafley will have his hands full with all-time leading rusher A.J. Dillon now in the NFL, although last season’s backup David Bailey should be able to make up some of Dillon’s production. Last year’s 101st ranked scoring defense is mostly intact, which should provide some optimism as there is nowhere to go but up.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
More growing pains are expected in the second year of the Geoff Collins era in Atlanta, as the Yellow Jackets’ roster still consists of a good chunk of Paul Johnson recruits more suited for the triple option. On the bright side, most of the key offensive pieces will be back on campus, including quarterback James Graham and leading rusher Jordan Mason. Georgia Tech will also need more pass rush production after racking up just 17 sacks in 2019.