SEASON WIN TOTAL PREDICTIONS

(Regular season only)

Boston College

(O/U 6 Wins)

The Eagles will return nine starters on offense, including their entire offensive line, running back, and quarterback. Sophomore RB AJ Dillon rushed for 1,600 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman, and will be a dark-horse Heisman candidate this season. BC was one of the best teams against the spread in 2017, finished 8-1-1 against the number. The team’s leading tackler in 2016, Connor Strachan, returns after missing the entire 2017 season with a knee injury. Their schedule will be tough down the stretch (Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida St, Syracuse), so a strong start will be crucial for them to pass the 6 win mark and make a bowl game in December.

The Pick: Over 6

 

Clemson Tigers

(O/U 11 Wins)

Clemson’s 2017 campaign ended in a disappointment, losing to Alabama 6-24 in the CFB Playoff. They were still able to finish the regular season with 11-wins, and will be returning 8 starters on a defense that should be top-5 in the country this season. Their ‘Havoc Rating’ (combined tackles for loss, forced fumbles, and passes defensed per play) ranked 5th in FBS in 2017, and shows no signs of regressing with essentially an NFL caliber defensive line. The question will be the quarterback battle between senior Kelly Bryant, and 5-star incoming freshman, Trevor Lawrence. Clemson will be looking to punch a ticket to their fourth straight CFB Playoff, and has the ability to run the table in 2018.

The Pick: Over 11

 

Florida State Seminoles

(O/U 7.5 Wins)

Florida State was arguably the most disappointing team in 2017. They started 3-6 before finishing the season on a 4-game winning streak and extending their bowl game streak to 36 years in a row (NCAA record). Jimbo Fisher packed his bags to take the head coaching position at Texas A&M, and in comes former USF and Oregon head coach, Willie Taggart. Fortunate for Taggart, he will have Heisman candidate Cam Akers carrying the load at RB for the Seminoles. Akers broke the freshman rushing record at FSU, with 1,024 yards in 2017. QB Deondre Francois returns from an injury that ended his season in Week 1 against Alabama. The QB battle will most likely go the distance in Fall camp. The question marks for FSU will be on the offensive line, which allowed 68 sacks in the last two seasons. They will also need to replace all three starting linebackers. New defensive coordinator, Harlon Barnett (from Michigan St) will look to implement a more aggressive defensive attack in 2018.

The Pick: Over 7.5

 

Louisville Cardinals

(O/U 7 Wins)

No more Lamar Jackson to save a Cardinals defense that ranked 10th in total defense in the ACC last season. Jawon Pass (So.) takes over the reigns, and will have a terrific core of wide receivers to target in 2018. Their biggest weapon will be senior WR Jaylen Smith, who hauled in 60 passes for nearly 1,000 yards in 2017. Defense will be the concern again, where they may not have a single senior starter and return only one player who started all 13 games last season. Brian VanGorder begins his first season as defensive coordinator. He was fired after four games with Notre Dame in 2016. To make matters worse, they open their season against Alabama in Orlando FL, and will make road trips to Clemson, Boston College, and Syracuse.

The Pick: Under 7

 

NC State Wolfpack

(O/U 7 Wins)

The Wolfpack finished off a strong 9-win season in 2017, after a 52-31 victory over Arizona State in the Sun Bowl. They finished in the top-25 for just the 3rd time over the last 20 years, thanks to a +8 turnover margin (2nd in the ACC and 22nd nationally). Defensive Player of the Year, Bradley Chubb, was drafted #5 overall by the Denver Broncos. The defense will need to replace 8 starters overall, but 9 of their starters will be either juniors or seniors. The Wolfpack offense will be in a great position with senior QB Ryan Finley, three returning starters on the OL, and their top three WRs back. NC State ranked 25th in total offense in 2017, averaging 451.8 yards per game.

The Pick: Over 7

 

Syracuse Orange

(O/U 5.5 Wins)

The offense with the fastest tempo in the country (21.1 seconds between snaps) returns with their leader Eric Dungey running the show once again. Dungey has a rare three years of starting experience at QB. In addition, Dungey was the teams leading rusher in 2017 with 600 yards and 9 TDs. They shocked the world with a 27-24 home victory over Clemson last season, but a -12 turnover margin (123rd nationally) really hurt them down the stretch. Their offensive line play will be the key to increased production in 2018. Senior guard Aaron Roberts is back from injury, and the Orange return five players with at least one year of starting experience. On defense, Syracuse will need to improve after allowing 32.2 points per game, which ranked dead last in the ACC in 2017. Overall, with experience on both lines, a veteran QB, and a strong secondary (both starting CBs return), Syracuse should be eyeing a bowl berth in 2018.

The Pick: Over 5.5

 

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

(O/U 6.5 Wins)

The 2017 Demon Deacons become the top scoring team in program history. The improvement was so massive, they went from averaging 4.6 yards per play in 2016 (125th nationally) to 6.3 yards per play in 2017 (26th nationally). They wrapped up an 8-win season last year with an impressive 55-52 shootout win against Texas A&M in the Belk Bowl. There are a lot of positives for Wake Forest in 2018, including returning all five starters on the offensive line, three of which earned All-ACC honors. They also return their leading rusher, Matt Colburn, who ran for 904 yards last season and will be looking for more as a senior. The challenge will be improving a defense that allowed an average of 380 passing yards per game during their final six games. They finished at the bottom of the ACC in total defense (457 ypg allowed). If the defense improves, this team should be bowl bound again, but their schedule suggest 7 wins could be a stretch.

The Pick: Under 6.5

 

Duke Blue Devils

(O/U 6 Wins)

David Cutcliffe may have the best roster in all of his past 10 seasons with the Blue Devils. Their front six is as good as it’s ever been, with three returning starters on the defensive line as well as All-American LB, Joe Giles-Harris. Their best CB, Mark Gilbert, is back after recording 6 INTs and 15 pass break-ups in 2017. On the offensive end, QB Daniel Jones returns for his junior season, along with all three starting WRs from last season. Duke started the 2017 season 4-0 before dropping six straight games. During the 6-game span, the Blue Devils averaged just 12.2 points per game. Early non-conference games at Northwestern and at Baylor will challenge Duke early, but the ceiling for this team is as high as it’s been under Cutcliffe.

The Play: Over 6

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

(O/U 5.5 Wins)

Georgia Tech missed a bowl game last season, but would be severely disappointed to make that two seasons in a row. The Yellow Jackets return six offensive linemen with starting experience, and have solid depth at the running back position. Senior QB Taquon Marshall had six 100-yard rushing games in 2017, but will need to become more of a threat in the passing game for Paul Johnson’s squad to exceed expectations in 2018. Coach Johnson was unhappy with his defense last season, so he brought in Nate Woody to take control of the defensive play calling. Woody spent four seasons at Appalachian State, and was a nominee for the Broyles Award in 2015 (best assistant coach in the country). Georgia Tech was just a few plays away from a win at Miami and a another at Virginia during the 2017 season. Things will bounce back their way in 2018, and the Yellow Jackets should find themselves going bowling again.

The Pick: Over 5.5

 

Miami Hurricanes

(O/U 9.5 Wins)

QB Malik Rosier was winning over the hearts of Cane Nation, as Miami began the season a perfect 10-0 in 2017. Then a meeting with Pittsburgh on the road caused the Hurricanes season to come crashing down. Rosier completed a measly 44.9% of his passes during the final three games of the season. Miami’s passing defense also struggled, allowing opposing QBs to throw for a 70.1% completion percentage. Mark Richt will be entering his third season as head coach, and will have his fifth year QB running the offense again. In the passing game, WR Ahmmon Richards will be returning from a knee surgery. Richards is a gamebreaker who broke Michael Irvin’s 31-year-old freshman receiving record (934 yards). The Hurricane defense should wear the turnover chain plenty, with all of their starting linebackers and both safeties returning. They will open the season with a huge showdown against LSU in Arlington, Texas. If they get that one, then 10-wins is on the horizon.

The Play: Over 9.5

 

North Carolina Tar Heels

(O/U NOT AVAILABLE)

The Tar Heels only recorded one conference win in 2018, and that was a 34-31 win on the road at Pittsburgh. Their offense averaged 8 yards to go on third downs, which ranked 123rd nationally. On the defensive side they struggled all year trying to stop the run. Their defense allowed 213 rushing yards per game (last in the ACC). There is an on-going quarterback battle between Chazz Surratt and Nathan Elliott. Elliott took over the position for the final four games of 2017 and seemed to be in control. Anthony Ratliff-Williams is the star wide receiver and All-American return specialist (2 kickoff return touchdowns) who will look to open up their passing game. Defenses will also have to pay attention to the one-two punch of running backs Jordon Brown and Michael Carter. Overall, North Carolina’s defense will need to make a major jump and their quarterback play will have to exceed expectation for them to sniff a bowl game at the end of 2018.

 

Pittsburgh Panthers

(O/U 5 Wins)

Pat Narduzzi’s squad pulled out a major upset over Miami to end the 2017 season on a bang. QB Kenny Pickett returns after his impressive game-winning bootleg run into the corner of the endzone to seal the win against the Hurricanes. The success of Pickett late in the season may or may not have assisted in two quarterbacks leaving the program during the off-season. In order for Pickett to continue his production into 2018, the Panther offensive line will need to play above average football. A lot of that will ride on LT Stefano Millin, a graduate transfer stepping in for the All-ACC pick, Brian O’Neill. Defensive coordinator will get 7 returning starters on his defense, which ranked 106th in the nation in pass defense last season. Five wins is probably just about right, but their schedule is brutal facing UCF, Notre Dame, and Miami all on the road. They will also host Penn State in week 2.

The Pick: Under 5

 

Virginia Cavaliers

(O/U 5 Wins)

Bronco Mendenhall had a lot of success during his time at BYU, going 39-9 in conference play. He took over the Cavaliers in 2016 and proceeded to finish 2-10 overall (1-7 in conference). In his second season, Virginia improved to 6-7 overall (3-5 in conference) and made their first bowl game since 2011. Former Arizona State QB, Bryce Perkins, will get his shot after spending a season at a junior college. Perkins dual-threat ability could make this offense very interesting, especially with senior RB Jordan Ellis returning off of a 836 yard season. The offensive and defensive lines will be the big concern. Virginia’s top five defensive linemen from 2017 are all gone. Adjusting to a new offensive system and replacing top defensive talent up front, will make it difficult to get back to a bowl game this season. I like what they are doing for the future, but five wins sounds about right for Virginia in 2018.

The Pick: Under 5

 

Virginia Tech Hokies

(O/U 8.5 Wins)

What really impressed me about the Hokies in 2017, was that they were able to win 9 games without a consistent go-to in the running game. Their leading rusher finished the season with 530 yards. QB Josh Jackson started all 13 games as a freshman (nearly 3,000 yards, 20 TDs, and 9 INTs). He will have three returning starters guarding him up front. The Hokies will miss the school’s all time leading WR, Cam Phillips, but will still return two starters. If running backs Steven Peoples and Deshawn McClease can take some pressure off of Josh Jackson, this offense will be dangerous and make this team a true contender in the ACC. Defensively, Virginia Tech had one of the best in the country in 2017. They allowed only 14.8 points per game, but will be losing key players this year, including three starters in the secondary. Aside from their opener against Florida State, their schedule sets up pretty favorably. The Hokies will get Miami, Notre Dame, Boston College, and Georgia Tech all at home.

The Pick: Over 8.5

 


HEISMAN HOPEFULS

Cam Akers (So, RB, Florida St)

Trevor Lawrence (Fr, QB, Clemson)

AJ Dillon (So RB, Boston College)

Travis Etienne (So, RB, Clemson)

Ryan Finley (Sr, QB, NC State)

Malik Rosier (Sr, QB, Miami)

Josh Jackson (So, QB, Virginia Tech)

 


HOW THEY WILL FINISH

ACC ATLANTIC

Clemson 12-0 (8-0)

Florida State 8-4 (5-3)

NC State 8-4 (4-4)

Boston College 7-5 (4-4)

Syracuse 6-6 (3-5)

Wake Forest 6-6 (3-5)

Louisville 5-7 (2-6)

 

ACC COASTAL

Miami 10-2 (6-2)

Virginia Tech 9-3 (5-3)

Duke 7-5 (5-3)

Pittsburgh 5-7 (4-4)

Georgia Tech 6-6 (4-4)

Virginia 5-7 (3-5)

North Carolina 3-9 (1-7)

 

ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Clemson defeats Miami, 30-20

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Content Creator at Armchair Betting & Wagers , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
Raised in the Bay Area. University of Oregon class of 2014. I graduated the same year and from the same major as former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Marcus Mariota. From 2012 to 2014, I worked as an undergraduate recruiting intern for the Oregon football coaching staff. Most notably under Chip Kelly for the 2012-13 season. For the last few years, I have co-hosted The Dollar Parlay podcast with a buddy from Los Angeles. We focus on all major sports from a betting perspective. I invite you to join us on your way to the office, while you’re pretending to work, or whenever you’ve got your feet up with a cold one. I now reside in Portland, Oregon.
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Content Creator at Armchair Betting & Wagers , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
Raised in the Bay Area. University of Oregon class of 2014. I graduated the same year and from the same major as former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Marcus Mariota. From 2012 to 2014, I worked as an undergraduate recruiting intern for the Oregon football coaching staff. Most notably under Chip Kelly for the 2012-13 season. For the last few years, I have co-hosted The Dollar Parlay podcast with a buddy from Los Angeles. We focus on all major sports from a betting perspective. I invite you to join us on your way to the office, while you’re pretending to work, or whenever you’ve got your feet up with a cold one. I now reside in Portland, Oregon.

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