2022 ACC Championship odds, picks: Clemson eyes back on top, Atlantic Division teams offer value

Each offseason, we break down the ACC Championship odds and make a few picks. And while there’s always a glimmer of excitement that we’ll see something new in the fall, ACC has been consistent enough to deliver predictable results.

That is to say until the 2021 season.

Pittsburgh beating Wake Forest in the ACC Championship game marked the end of several long periods of dominance for the league’s major football brands. Clemson’s streak of six consecutive ACC titles came to an end, and it was the first season since 2010 that the conference had not been won by either Clemson (2011, 2015-20) or Florida State (2012-14).

Given that the divisions may soon be gone, it should be noted that Pitt’s win ended a nine-game losing streak for the Coast Division in the ACC Championship Game (ACC played without divisions in 2020), and Wake Forest was the first non-Clemson, non-Florida state representative in the Atlantic Division since 2008.

Was 2021 an anomaly or a turning point in the balance of power within the ACC?

Clemson enters 2022 focused on reclaiming its place at the top of the conference and bettors believe the Tigers can do just that, making them favorites to win the ACC at better-than-even odds. It’s not that different from the pre-2021 norm, but what does change is the gap between the Tigers and the rest of the league. There are four teams with odds of 10-1 or better and six teams with odds of 20-1 or better. For comparison, the fourth team in the SEC table (Ole Miss) has odds of 30 to 1 to win the conference.

So how will the Hunt Pack fare after a season of disruption in the ACC? We’ll cover our picks to win, value options, long shots and bets to avoid below, but first let’s look at the entire odds table, via Caesars Sportsbook.

Best bet – Clemson (-140): The Tigers are extremely unlikely to rank dead last in the ACC in passing efficiency as they did in 2021, a season that still saw Dabo Swinney’s side finish 10-3 thanks one of the best defenses in the country. This defensive front should still be among the best in the country, and even the league average going from DJ Uiagalelei (or freshman phenom Cade Klubnik) should be the difference in reversing at least some of those losses the other way. Clemson’s “low year” didn’t have any bad losses, so the rebound season should definitely include an ACC championship.

Worst bet — Pittsburgh (+550): There is an extremely high floor for Pitt under Pat Narduzzi. He has a .589 winning percentage over seven seasons, won two division titles, an ACC championship and finished with a losing record just once, going 5-7 in 2017. But those odds aren’t for Pitt to bowl (it will be), or even win eight or nine games (certainly a possibility).

Winning the ACC for a second straight season requires continuity in results despite abundance or turnover and uncertainty. Panthers replace Heisman Trophy finalist Kenny Pickett as Biletnikoff Award-winning quarterback Jordan Addison to the wide receiver and offensive coordinator who helped craft that dangerous passing offense. Add in some key defensive losses (although I expect the Panthers to still be solid on that side of the ball) and there are too many unknowns to trust Pitt at a price that suggests it’s second. best option on the board.

Choice of value — NC status (+900): Our next two selections come from the Atlantic Division, part of the idea being that it’s the strongest side in the conference. If the ACC winner won’t be Clemson, it will be the team that beats the Tigers for the division crown. So we start with NC State, which had a strong 2020 and broke through in 2021, finishing with the best winning percentage and highest final standings in the Dave Doeren-era polls.

The Wolfpack are bringing back a lot of experience on a defense that was excellent last season, and they have potentially the best quarterback in the ACC with Devin Leary. After setting a new school record for single-season passing touchdowns (35) and becoming the third quarterback in ACC history to have 3,400 passing yards and 35 passing touchdowns in the regular season, Leary is the face of the Wolfpack’s effort to win its first ACC title since 1979.

Longshot – Boston College (+3000): Boston College hasn’t proven itself with a conference title like Pitt, but I quickly place it on a similar “upper tier” status with Jeff Hafley at the helm. Last year’s late-season struggles had a lot to do with injuries, and the Eagles still found a way to pick up a few conference wins in November to reach six wins. Strategist Phil Jurkovec is back, and so is the All-ACC wide receiver Zay Flowers – who told ESPN he had turned down several six-figure NIL transfer offers.

The two losses to Clemson under Jeff Hafley were six points, so it’s possible we could see the Eagles break through against the Tigers in 2021, especially with the game’s position in the schedule. A week after Clemson faced one of his toughest ACC foes at North Carolina State on Oct. 1, he is due to travel to Chestnut Hill for what has already been determined to be the Red game. BC Bandana for 2022. The environment should be electric, and it could be setting up for the upheaval that makes this 30-1 value worth your attention.

About Christian M.

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