ACC Schedule Breakdown
July 7, 2017
By Brian Edwards
Florida State: FSU’s three toughest games will take place away from Tallahassee. The Seminoles open up against Alabama at the new Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta. They have road games at Clemson and at Florida in their regular-season finale. The toughest home games will be vs. Miami (9/16), vs. N.C. St. (9/23) and vs. Louisville (10/21). Jimbo Fisher’s team gets its open date on Oct. 7 ahead of a trip to Duke. There aren’t any back-to-back road spots, while the two other non-conference games (besides vs. Alabama and at UF) are vs. ULM and vs. Delaware State. The foes from the ACC Coastal are UM and Duke. Only Syracuse has two weeks to prep for its trip to Tallahassee to take on FSU.
ATS Note: FSU has won four in a row over arch-rival Florida, compiling a 3-1 spread record. The ‘Noles are favored by four points at UF.
Clemson: Clemson has a pair of tough non-conference contests vs. Auburn in Week 2 and at South Carolina in its regular-season finale. The Tigers get their open date on Oct. 21 before hosting Georgia Tech. They host Kent State and The Citadel in their other out-of-conference tilts. Dabo Swinney’s squad is inexperienced at the QB position after losing the school’s second all-time leading passer in Deshaun Watson. Whether junior Kelly Bryant or true freshman and five-star recruit Hunter Johnson earns the starting job, either will make their first career road start in Week 3 at Louisville. In fact, Clemson has a pair of tough road assignments in September, with the other coming at Virginia Tech on the 30th. As a handicapper, I put a lot of stock in QBs lacking experience going on the road. In other words, I usually don’t expect them to play well in those spots. If there’s a dangerous look-ahead situation on the slate, it will come for the Tigers at N.C. State on Nov. 4. The trip to Raleigh comes one week before FSU comes to Death Valley. That’s the good news – FSU being a home game. We should note that the trip to the Carrier Dome (10/13) to face Syracuse comes on a short week with the game played on Friday.
ATS Note: Clemson has limped to a 6-11 spread record in 17 games as a road favorite dating back to the 2013 campaign.
Louisville: Louisville opens in Indianapolis against Purdue and its new coach Jeff Brohm, who played at U of L and coached under Petrino. Both staffs will be prepared for what the other has to offer scheme-wise. The Cardinals’ other non-conference games are vs. Kent State, vs. Murray State and at Kentucky in what will be a major revenge spot in their regular-season finale. Petrino’s club has to play at N.C. State on a Thursday night after hosting the Racers. Then after hosting Boston College, U of L has back-to-back road assignments at FSU and at Wake Forest. The open date comes next to give the Cardinals two weeks to prep for Virginia at home. UVA and UNC are the games against the Coastal Division. No teams get an open date before taking on U of L.
ATS Note: Louisville is just 6-9 against the spread in 15 games as a home favorite during Petrino’s second tenure at the school.
North Carolina State: In non-conference action, N.C. State plays South Carolina for its opener in Charlotte before hosting Marshall and Furman at Carter-Finley Stadium. The final non-conference game is at Notre Dame on Oct. 28, but the Wolfpack has two weeks to prepare for the trip to South Bend. From the Coastal, Dave Doeren’s fifth team draws games at Pittsburgh and vs. UNC. There’s one set of back-to-back road games in November at Boston College (cold weather could be a factor on 11/11) and at Wake Forest. The Wolfpack gets Clemson at home when the Tigers have their crucial game vs. FSU on deck.
ATS Note: Since 2014, N.C. State owns a 6-1 spread record in seven spots as a road ‘chalk.’
Boston College: BC’s non-conference slate looks like this: at No. Illinois (Friday, 9/1), vs. Notre Dame, vs. Central Michigan and vs. UConn at Fenway Park in Boston. The Eagles will have 15 days to prep for a Nov. 11 home game vs. N.C. State after taking their open date on the heels of a Friday showdown at home vs. FSU. The two matchups vs. the Coastal Division are vs. Virginia Tech and at Virginia. There’s one set of back-to-back road contests at Louisville and at UVA in mid-October.
ATS Note: BC has compiled a 7-2-1 spread record in 10 games as a road underdog going back to 2014.
Wake Forest: Wake Forest gets Presbyterian and Utah State at home in non-conference play, but it will be in the underdog role for games at Appalachian State and at Notre Dame. The Demon Deacons play at Georgia Tech and vs. Duke in their games vs. Coastal foes. When they face the Yellow Jackets in Winston-Salem, they’ll do so with two weeks to prepare. There’s one set of consecutive road contests at Notre Dame (11/4) and at Syracuse (11/11).
ATS Note: Wake Forest is 17-11 ATS in 28 games as an underdog on Dave Clawson’s watch.
Syracuse: The ‘Cuse has three home games to start the season (vs. Central Connecticut State, vs. Middle Tennessee and vs. Central Michigan) before wrapping up non-conference play at LSU in Week 4. The games with Coastal opponents are vs. Pitt and at Miami. The Orange has its bye between trips to the Sunshine State (after at Miami and before at FSU). Dino Babers’s squad plays at LSU and at N.C. State in consecutive games.
ATS Note: The ‘Cuse went 1-4 ATS as a home underdog during Babers’s first year at the helm. Going back further, the Orange has limped to a 14-21-1 spread ledger as a home ‘dog since 2007.
Miami: Mark Richt’s club plays at FSU and vs. Syracuse for its games against the Atlantic. The Hurricanes get Bethune-Cookman, Toledo and Notre Dame at home in non-conference play, while they also go to Jonesboro for a tricky Week 2 clash at Arkansas State. Remember, UM had a rare road spot versus a Sun Belt school last year and came up big in a 45-10 win over a quality Appalachian State squad in Boone. The ‘Canes have to play at Duke on a Friday night with short preparation, but then they go into their bye ahead of a home game vs. Georgia Tech. Although heat can still be a major factor in afternoon home games for Miami in November, I find it a negative for UM that it has no ACC home games in September and just two in October. One of those – vs. G-Tech on a Thursday – will be a night game so Syracuse is the only ACC home game that might be in the afternoon in October. Like the trip to Duke, UM is on a short week when it closes the regular season at Pitt on a Friday in a cold-weather game. The one back-to-back road spot falls in Week 3 when UM plays at FSU after going to Jonesboro the previous weekend.
ATS Note: Miami has thrived as a home favorite since 2014, cashing tickets at an 11-4-1 ATS clip.
Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech opens up in Landover, MY., where it will meet West Virginia. The Hokies play other non-conference games vs. Delaware, at East Carolina and vs. Old Dominion. The Pirates have won outright in two of the last three head-to-head encounters with the Hokies, who get their open date before hosting North Carolina. Virginia Tech closes the regular season with three road assignments in four weeks, including back-to-back road spots at Miami (11/4) and at G-Tech (11/11). The regular-season finale is at UVA on a short week (Friday). The Hokies play Clemson at home and at Boston College for their games against the Atlantic.
ATS Note: Virginia Tech is 6-2 ATS in eight games as a road underdog since 2013.
Pittsburgh: Pitt is at Syracuse and vs. N.C. State for its games vs. the Atlantic. The Panthers have three home games against non-conference opponents: vs. Youngstown State, vs. Oklahoma State and vs. Rice. The Panthers will be looking to avenge a 45-38 loss in Stillwater last year. In Week 2, Pat Narduzzi’s team will travel to Beaver Stadium to take on Penn State. The Nittany Lions will be in revenge mode after dropping a 42-39 decision at Pitt last season. Pitt gets its open date ahead of a Thursday home game vs. UNC. As previously noted, the Panthers get Miami at home on a Friday in a cold-weather game that favors them.
ATS Note:Pitt is an atrocious 3-10 ATS in its last 13 games as a home ‘chalk.’
North Carolina: Larry Fedora’s team has non-conference clashes vs. California (which will have to deal with the heat in Chapel Hill on Sept. 2), at Old Dominion, vs. Notre Dame and vs. Western Carolina. There are no back-to-back road spots on the slate. UNC faces Louisville at home and N.C. State on the road in its game vs. the Atlantic. The Tar Heels get their open date before going to Pitt, but both teams are off the prior week (so no advantage either way). I think UM and V-Tech will be the top teams contending for the Coastal title, and UNC gets them in consecutive weeks. The Tar Heels are at VT on Oct. 21 and host UM on Oct. 28. The Hokies get two weeks to prep for UNC.
ATS Note: UNC is 18-11 ATS in 29 games as a home favorite during Fedora’s tenure.
Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech opens against Tennessee on a Monday night in Atlanta, but the game won’t be on The Flats in Midtown. The Yellow Jackets and Volunteers will tangle at the new Mercedes-Benz Dome, which will undoubtedly have as many (if not more) UT fans than Tech. Paul Johnson’s club has other non-conference contests vs. Jacksonville State, at UCF and vs. Georgia. The Yellow Jackets went 3-0 against the SEC last year with wins over Vandy, UGA and Kentucky. G-Tech gets its open date before a Thursday night game at Miami. The Jackets have back-to-back road assignments at Clemson (10/28) and at Virginia (11/4). The draw from the Atlantic merits a home game vs. Wake Forest before the aforementioned trip to Clemson.
ATS Note: Georgia Tech went 10-4-2 ATS in its first 16 games as a road favorite on Johnson’s watch, but the Yellow Jackets have failed to get the money in their last four such spots.
Duke: Duke has a pair of tough non-conference home games vs. Northwestern and vs. Baylor in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively. The other non-conference contests are vs. NC Central in the opener and at Army on Nov. 11. The Blue Devils get an open date before facing the Black Knights. They play vs. FSU and at Wake Forest in their games vs. the Atlantic. There are no back-to-back road games. Duke has typically played arch-rival UNC in November in the past, but it makes the short trek to Chapel Hill in Week 4 this season. The Tar Heels lost a 28-27 decision in Durham last season.
ATS Note: Since 2010, Duke is 12-7 ATS as a home underdog. The Blue Devils are 5-1 ATS in their last six such spots, and they will undoubtedly have a number of them in 2017. Also, they are 5-1-1 ATS in seven games as road favorites during David Cutcliffe’s tenure. Duke might be a road ‘chalk’ at UVA, at Army and at Wake Forest this year (emphasis on might, however.)
Virginia: UVA’s first four games polish off the non-conference slate: vs. William & Mary, vs. Indiana, vs. UConn and at Boise State. The Cavaliers have to travel West to the smurf turf and do so on a short week for a Friday night game, making that spot against the Broncos even more daunting. They do get their open date the following week with a home game vs. Duke on deck. The lone back-to-back road contests come at Louisville (11/11) and at Miami (11/18). At least the heat of South Florida won’t be as much of a factor in late November, where UVA once close down the old Orange Bowl with a ruthless beatdown of the ‘Canes. The draw from the Atlantic is a home game vs. Boston College, in addition to the aforementioned trip to U of L.
ATS Note: UVA has lost seven in a row against UNC while limping to a 1-6 spread record.
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