2023 ACC College Football Betting Preview: Clemson, FSU Top Odds
The ACC is going to look very different for 2023 college football betting. Gone are divisions, with the top-two teams in the conference now heading to Charlotte, NC for the Championship Game. The ACC also sits in a precarious position, with rumors of teams like Clemson, Florida State and Miami being displeased with revenue distribution. With conference realignment clouding the sport’s future again, those teams’ membership is in question. However, we’re here to talk actual football and ACC odds for this upcoming season.
Clemson and Florida State top ACC football odds to win the conference, with North Carolina and a rebuilt Louisville following suit. Other teams like NC State and Boston College look vastly different. Below, we’ll get into everything ACC – conference title odds, win totals, and a preview of each team heading into 2023. Find somewhere comfortable to sit; we went as in-depth as possible.
ACC Odds: To Win The Conference
Top-Two Choices Are Clear
In the old ACC format, division and your path to Charlotte mattered. Now with the top two teams making the conference championship game outright, it comes down to the top performing programs. Expectedly, Clemson () and Florida State () headline ACC odds boards, with the ‘Noles getting the nod at most books.
What may serve as the biggest eyebrow-raiser is that Louisville () comes in with the fourth-shortest odds despite heavy turnover. Wake Forest – after an ACC Championship appearance in 2021 – falls to due to losing star QB Sam Hartman to Notre Dame.
ACC Odds: Projected Wins, Win Totals
Projected wins below are derived from aggregate power ratings, including SP+, FPI, and more. Win totals are pulled from FanDuel Sportsbook as of June 9.
|Team||Proj. Wins||Win Total||Price|
|Florida State Seminoles||9.3||9.5||-142/+116|
|North Carolina Tarheels||8.3||8.5||+100/-122|
|NC State Wolfpack||7.1||6.5||-140/+114|
|Wake Forest Demon Deacons||6.3||6.5||+124/-154|
|Duke Blue Devils||5.6||6.5||+126/-154|
|Boston College Eagles||5.4||5.5||-115/-105|
|Virginia Tech Hokies||4.8||5.5||+118/-148|
|Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||4.3||4.5||+110/-134|
ACC Power Ratings
Table Key (all ranks except power rankings are national):
– Rank (Power ranking, national)
– Proj. Wins (Projected total wins)
– Return (Returning production, total)-
– Return O (returning offensive production)
– Return D (returning defensive production)
– PPD (Points per drive scored)
– PPDA (Points per drive allowed)
– L5 (Last five years recruiting average, national)
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ACC KFord Ratings
ACC Odds: The Favorites
After two years of not quite cutting it offensively (with 2021 being an especially bad season), Dabo Swinney made a dramatic hire: TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley. Riley turned Max Duggan from embattled starter-turned-backup to the Heisman runner-up in 2022. Now, he heads to Clemson to coach an offensive unit with a bit more talent.
Gone is DJ Uiagalelei (Oregon State) and rising is blue-chip quarterback Cade Klubnik. Aside from a tough bowl outing against Tennessee, Klubnik played better and more efficiently than DJ U, but something was still not quite right for the Tigers. Is Riley that key that will unlock the offense back to their mid-2010s level? Time will tell.
Defensively, Clemson has more questions than they’ve had in years. And by “questions,” I mean “restrictions keeping them from being a top-five unit.” Uber talented players like linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. and veteran defensive lineman Xavier Thomas return. However, at times last season the defense got manhandled, specifically in a three-touchdown loss to Notre Dame in which the Irish rushed for over 260 yards.
They return 67% of their roster production from a year ago – 70% on defense – and upgrade the OC spot. Despite rejecting the “new” college football realm, Swinney & Co. are poised to win at least 10 games once again.
Florida State Seminoles
For the second straight year, Florida State returns among the most production nationally (79%, third-most). Headlining the returning crew is potential-star QB Jordan Travis and 6-foot-7 receiver Johnny Wilson on offense and All-ACC pass rusher Jared Verse on defense. The ‘Noles hit the transfer portal hard, landing 247Sports’ sixth-ranked class. That class includes at least eight potential starters, topped by All-ACC corner Fentrell Cypress and tight end Jaheim Bell.
Last year, FSU won 10 games and finished 11th in the AP Poll. However, this year carries expectations. To their benefit, the ‘Noles play the eighth-toughest schedule in the ACC (57th nationally), although that slate includes a neutral site game with LSU and road dates with Clemson and Florida. However, that slate includes seven games where FSU is projected to have >80% expected win rate.
On paper, there should be nothing keeping Florida State from nine wins (our numbers slot them at 9.3). Perhaps a regression is inbound on their 5-1 record in one-score games last season, but the added talent to this roster suggests there should be fewer one-score games (our numbers project three of them).
The only thing going against the ‘Noles is that, this time, everyone sees them coming.
ACC Odds: The Contenders
North Carolina Tar Heels
The biggest question heading into 2023 – even above the defense – is what does star QB Drake Maye look like post-Phil Longo? Maye is one of the favorites among Heisman Trophy odds after a 4,000-yard campaign last year. But pop on the tape from any of the last four games of the 2022 season and you see a very different Maye and a very different UNC offense. The line collapsed almost entirely and the Tar Heels went from scoring 38.3 points per game to just 20.3 in those final four games.
Now, Maye loses his top receivers and his offensive coordinator; as we’ve seen with players like Brennan Armstrong, losing a skilled OC can be the end of it all. Chip Lindsey is far from incompetent, but there’s a reason Luke Fickell went after Longo and brought him to Wisconsin. The Heels did make an effort to replace pass catchers, landing Devontez Walker (Kent State) in the transfer portal.
We know the expectations from a defense that went from miserable to just bad last season: tempered. They lose both starting corners – both of whom earned All-ACC honors – and the real only star on defense is linebacker Cedric Gray.
With 8.3 projected wins, UNC probably takes some form of a step back from a 9-1 start in 2022, even if it’s not a large one.
Despite going 8-5 in 2022, patience for Scott Satterfield was growing thin. Satterfield left for Cincinnati and Louisville hired alum Jeff Brohm from Purdue. He brings along most of his staff and a handful of players, including starting tackle Eric Miller and QB Jack Plummer (who transferred to Cal from Purdue and then to Louisville). Brohm turned Purdue around from a three-win disaster to Big Ten West champions in his six seasons with the Boilermakers.
The Cardinals are already on the up and nearly had a breakout campaign last season, if not for going 1-2 in one-score games. Plummer replaces Malik Cunningham, but gets a new weapon to work with – All-Sun Belt receiver Jamari Thrash (Georgia State). Plummer also has the added benefit of knowing Brian Brohm’s offensive system and the offense should hit the ground running.
What may need time to develop earlier on is the defense. The Cardinals return 54% of their roster production from last year and are shifting from a 4-3 to a 4-2-5. Luckily, they have a friendly draw early to figure that out (Georgia Tech, Murray State, Indiana, Boston College).
Note: Louisville plays two neutral site games this season – Week 1 against Georgia Tech and Week 3 against Indiana.
NC State Wolfpack
NC State employed the help of Syracuse offensive coordinator Robert Anae after losing Tim Beck to Coastal Carolina. Anae did the best with what he could get at Syracuse (the Orange rank an average 11th in the ACC in recruiting the last five cycles) and gets to work with Virginia transfer Brennan Amstrong. Armstrong is a former 4,000-yard passer who disappeared in 2022 due to coaching malpractice.
The challenge for the Wolfpack is replacing 50% of a defense that finished 14th in points per drive last year. Gone are three starting safeties and two starting linebackers. Sixth-year backer Payton Wilson returns to the team and potential starters Devon Betty and Jaylon Scott have 13 starts between the two of them. They have time to work the other starters in, as the schedule is backloaded with offensive threats.
NC State fell short of lofty expectations last season, but saved their record thanks to going 4-1 in one-score games. (Albeit, could have been 3-2 but East Carolina shanked a game-winning field goal.)
With a win total set at , the Wolfpack are expected to take a step back. Our number (7.1 projected wins) suggests a similar story.
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Longshot To Consider In ACC Odds: Pitt
A Pitt team stripped of its defensive depth by opt-outs and on a backup quarterback pulled off an improbable victory in the Sun Bowl over an intact top-15 UCLA team. Despite obvious talent deficiencies and a resistant mindset to modern football, Pat Narduzzi gets the most out of his team. In fact, Pitt is the lone ACC Coastal team to break .500 in each of the last two seasons.
In comes Cignetti at OC and with him QB Phil Jukovec. Last year was almost completely lost to injury, but Jurkovec is a capable quarterback and obvious upgrade from Kedon Slovis (BYU). A lot needs to be replaced offensively, especially in the backfield, but three starters on the offensive line return and four expected starters are seniors. Despite high turnover, the framework is there to have at least a competent offense.
The defense is the same story – plenty of talent exists on the unit (namely MJ Devonshire and Solomon DeShields) but a lot of production left last season (51% returning, 102nd nationally).
While the path to Charlotte just got exponentially more difficult from Pitt – seven wins won’t cut it anymore – the Panthers ACC odds () suggest they’re not even worth consideration. As we’ve seen in the past, Narduzzi can turn a competent QB and talent on the roster into eight or more wins.
Team To Fade In ACC Odds: Syracuse
Resurfacing above .500 last season likely saved Dino Babers his job. Since notching 10 wins in 2018, Babers has regressed nearly every season in Syracuse, winning 36.1% of all his other games. Given that ’18 was Babers’ third season, it was the final cycle of players recruited by another staff before wins dropped with his own recruits. It’s a move we’ve seen before: Babers won 28 games in three seasons with Bowling Green – a roster majorly constructed by Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson – before departing and leaving the roster in shambles.
The recruiting numbers are there to back up the claim. In each of the last five cycles, Syracuse’s national recruiting rank fell. They averaged 11th in the ACC (granted, there are easier draws than Syracuse) and bottomed out with the 2023 class, sitting 91st nationally.
Garrett Shrader, a talented but at times chaotic QB akin to rookie year Josh Allen, returns. However, his 1,000-yard rushing threat, Sean Tucker, does not, and neither do three of their top four receivers.
Thanks to a schedule that ranks the fourth-easiest in the ACC (63rd nationally), the Orange will likely win a few games and the JMA Wireless Dome is funky enough to steal a win or two. But, like last year, Syracuse is a prime fade candidate should they get a little too big for their britches (looking at you, 6-0 ‘Cuse).
Boston College Golden Eagles
Boston College is likely bracing for a rough year after losing Jurkovec to Pitt. Without him, the Golden Eagles went 3-9 and finished 123rd in points per drive. Defensively, they weren’t much better, finishing 98th in points per drive. In general, BC was uncompetitive. One star to note: offensive lineman Christian Mahogany, who missed last year with a torn ACL.
Duke Blue Devils
Duke might roster one of the ACC’s top three QBs, Riley Leonard, and first-year coach Mike Elko did a terrific job with the team. The Blue Devils return all four starting defensive linemen and 78% of offensive production. So, why not repeat nine wins in 2023? They had outstanding turnover luck, which ESPN’s Bill Connelly suggests led to seven additional TDs. However, all four of their losses came by one score, meaning sustained luck and a little more late-game urgency could see Duke in the driver’s seat as the third competitor in the conference.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Brent Key turned a 1-3 Georgia Tech team that had a -90 point differential in FBS games into a 4-4 team that upended Duke, Pitt, and North Carolina. Key was awarded the head job and he immediately turned to the SEC for help. In comes a Saban staffer, Kevin Sherrer, to coach the defense and a Kirby Smart assistant, Buster Faulkner, to coach the offense. Also inbound is Texas A&M QB Haynes King. But, all four wins last year came by one score, meaning regression is likely inbound.
The first year under Mario Cristobal was a complete failure for Miami. To resolve that, the ‘Canes hired a pair of talented coordinators: OC Shannon Dawson (Houston) and DC Lance Guidry. The latter should really help Miami’s defense, which ranked 66th in scoring and 115th in EPA per play. Tyler Van Dyke returns for another season after disappearing thanks to an unfriendly system.
Tony Elliott and crew managed to turn a 4,000-yard passer in Brennan Armstrong into a non-factor last year. Unfortunately, without any major coaching changes, that’s likely the fate for inbound Monmouth transfer Tony Muskett. Post-Bronco Mendenhall, UVA dropped from 33rd to 64th and 65th in recruiting in each of the last two seasons. They also return just two starters on offense – expectedly so after a disastrous 2022.
Virginia Tech Hokies
In the first year under Brent Pry, Virginia Tech did not score 30 points once – that includes a home game against FCS Wofford. Grant Wells returns, but is in no way guaranteed the starting QB job after throwing just nine touchdowns and nine interceptions last year (59% completion). Defensively, Virginia Tech was good against bad competition and bad against good competition, but did make improvements over the course of the year. However, at just 4.8 projected wins this year, the Hokies are eyeing another bottom-tier ACC finish.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Nobody nationally lost more with one player’s exit than Wake Forest when Sam Hartman transferred to Notre Dame. Potential starter Mitch Griffis looked solid in the Demon Deacons’ spring game, but Hartman vacates almost 13,000 passing yards. Also gone is star receiver AT Perry, although the next four top receivers return. Dave Clawson has proven the ability to work with what he has and we still project Wake for a winning season (6.3 wins).
Top ACC Difference Makers
Drake Maye, QB, UNC: Despite the team falling apart down the last four games of the year, Maye returns as a Heisman favorite this season. He threw for over 4,000 yards but loses OC Phil Longo to Wisconsin. Like Sam Howell in 2021, Maye returns as the bulk of the UNC offense.
Riley Leonard, QB, Duke: Leonard truly broke out last season, throwing for almost 3,000 yards and 20 TDs and adding nearly 800 yards and 13 TDs on the ground. He ranked 15th in rushing EPA among QBs (min. 300 snaps), ninth among returners.
Will Shipley, RB, Clemson: Garrett Riley not only turned Max Duggan into a top QB and Quentin Johnston into a first-round WR, but also helped Kendre Miller lead the Big 12 in rushing. Shipley has been a staple to the Clemson offense since Day 1 and Riley’s scheme should only open up his opportunities even more.
Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State: After transferring in from Albany last year, Verse racked up nine sacks and 17 TFLs. He returns to an experienced and improved FSU defense that may lead the ‘Noles to a conference championship.
ACC All-Transfer Team
QB: Brennan Armstrong (Virginia to NC State), Phil Jurkovec (Boston College to Pitt)
RB: Trevon Cooley (Louisville to Georgia Tech), Kobe Pace (Clemson to Virginia)
WR: Keon Coleman (Michigan State to Florida State), Jamari Thrash (Georgia State to Louisville), Devontez Walker (Kent State to UNC)
TE: Jaheim Bell (South Carolina to Florida State)
OT: Jeremiah Byers (UTEP to Florida State), Eric Miller (Purdue to Louisville)
OL: Javion Cohen (Alabama to Miami), Matthew Lee (UCF to Miami), Willie Lampkin (Coastal Carolina to UNC)
DL: Braden Fiske (Western Michigan to Florida State), Thomas Gore (Georgia State to Miami), Gilber Edmond (South Carolina to Florida State), Stephen Herron Jr. (Stanford to Louisville)
LB: Francisco Mauigoa (Washington State to Miami), Jacob Roberts (NC A&T to Wake Forest), Amari Gainer (Florida State to UNC)
CB: Fentrell Cypress (Virginia to Florida State), Storm Duck (UNC to Louisville)
SAF: Donovan McMillon (Florida to Pitt), Cam Kelly (UNC to Louisville)
ACC Football Coaching Changes
Most Impactful Hires
Lance Guidry, DC, Miami: Guidry didn’t have time to finish his cup of coffee at Tulane, where he was originally hired to from Marshall, before Miami lured him away to be their defensive coordinator. In 2022, Marshall ranked eighth in scoring defense (18.0 points per game), fifth in points per drive allowed, and first in defensive EPA per play. The Hurricanes ranked outside the top half nationally in all three statistics.
Garrett Riley, OC, Clemson: In a drastic change in Clemson character, Dabo Swinney went outside the organization to bring in their next OC. Riley spent 2022 leading TCU to a top-10 mark in scoring and to their first-ever College Football Playoff. Clemson had slipped from the top of the sport offensively, much of which could have been attributed to a tired system.
Jeff Brohm, HC, Louisville: Brohm heads to his alma mater, leaving Purdue after leading the Boilermakers to 17 wins in the last two seasons, including one Big Ten Championship berth. He brings along most of the staff from West Lafayette. Brohm presents an upgrade in coaching, following Scott Satterfield, who left for Cincinnati this offseason amid growing calls for his dismissal.
Frank Cignetti, OC, Pitt: “Impactful” doesn’t always equate “good.” Cignetti teams up with Pat Narduzzi, who has been a regular combatant to modern football. Cignetti runs a conservative run-first offense that led Boston College to the 123rd scoring offense in 2022. Though Pitt presents an upgrade in talent, expect to lean under totals given their strong defense and soon-to-be conservative offense.
- Brent Key, HC, Georgia Tech (interim head coach)
- Steve Shimko (QBs) & Darrell Wyatt (passing game coordinator), co-OCs, Boston College
- Shannon Dawson, OC, Miami (Houston OC)
- Robert Anae, OC, NC State (Syracuse OC)
- Chip Lindsey, OC, North Carolina (UCF OC)
- Josh Beck, OC, Syracuse (QBs coach)
- Tyler Santucci, DC, Duke (Elko assistant at Texas A&M)
- Rocky Long, DC, Syracuse (New Mexico DC)
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