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2022 ACC Football Betting Preview | Marc Lawrence’s Playbook

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ACC Football Predictions and Betting Odds

Football fans have been using Marc Lawrence’s Playbook to prep for upcoming football seasons for the last 30 years. Marc shares his thoughts on the 2022 ACC football season with key stats and betting angles to keep an eye on. Find FREE MLB PICKS!

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ACC Division Realignment

Starting in 2023, the ACC is eliminating divisions, and instead moving to a model with three permanent opponents and two separate five-team rotations that will flip every other year. Instead of sending division winners, the two teams with the highest conference winning percentage will play in the ACC Championship Game each year. Here are the permanent opponents for each of the ACC’s 14 schools:

  • Boston College: Miami, Pitt, Syracuse
  • Clemson: Florida State, Georgia Tech, NC State
  • Duke: North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest
  • Florida State: Clemson, Miami, Syracuse
  • Georgia Tech: Clemson, Louisville, Wake Forest
  • Louisville: Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia
  • Miami: Boston College, Florida State, Louisville
  • North Carolina: Duke, NC State, Virginia
  • NC State: Clemson, Duke, North Carolina
  • Pitt: Boston College, Syracuse, Virginia Tech
  • Syracuse: Boston College, Florida State, Pitt
  • Virginia: Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia Tech
  • Virginia Tech: Pitt, Virginia, Wake Forest
  • Wake Forest: Duke, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech

2022 ACC Championship Odds

Odds below courtesy of DraftKings as of Wednesday, June 29:

Team ACC Championship Odds
Clemson -130
Miami (Fla) +550
Pittsburgh +900
NC State +1000
North Carolina +1500
Wake Forest +2000
Louisville +2800
Virginia +3000
Florida State +3500
Boston College +4000
Virginia Tech +6000
Georgia Tech +20000
Syracuse +30000
Duke +100000

ACC Football Betting Notes

Dating back to 1980, the ACC owns a secret weapon of which not many are aware: It’s the success of ACC teams as underdogs in conference games in which they sport a dead-even .500 win percentage, going 130-84-5 ATS in all games overall, despite a 3-6 ATS effort last season.

Better yet, these same teams shine at home when coming off a loss, going 21-4-1 ATS against foes also coming off a loss. That’s an 84% winning situation.

File that and don’t forget it.

ACC Football Team Previews

Note: Team write-ups are excerpts from the 2022 PLAYBOOK Football Preview Guide magazine – on sale at Barnes & Noble and Books A Million bookstores nationwide or PlaybookSports.com.

A breakdown of the numbers includes the team’s national recruiting ranking, of 131 teams, by 247Sports as well as the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback. The number listed alongside the team name designates its preseason projected win total.

BOSTON COLLEGE – TAKING FLIGHT – 6.5 W – *6 / 8

The 2021 season was an incredibly bumpy ride for Jeff Hafley’s Eagles. A lot of those problems were due to the injuries of star quarterback Phil Jurkovec, who appeared completely healed and showed good arm strength and precision this spring. While they’ll need to replace four starters on the OL, the defense looks special. Boston College’s defensive line returns six players from the last two seasons that saw significant snaps. Coupled with a secondary that finished 3rd in the country in passing defense, along with a defense loaded with returning experience that has made giant strides in both seasons under Hafley, the Eagles are looking like a team set to take flight in 2022.

PLAY ON: at Wake Forest (10/22)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: All seven starting quarterbacks are back in the ACC Atlantic division this season.

CLEMSON – TIGER PAUSE – 10.5 W – *9 / 6

The offense fell dramatically last season when former 5-star quarterback recruit DJ Uiagalelei struggled mightily. Clemson finished 99th in total offense and 82nd in scoring offense, averaging 26 PPG – a falloff of 18 PPG over the previous three seasons. Don’t forget though that the Tigers were second in the nation in Red Zone Defense. And the defensive front-7 is as good as Dabo’s ever had. Injuries hampered this group in 2021, but the Tigers still finished in the Top 10 nationally in total defense and were No. 2 in scoring defense. Depending on how they react to the loss of DC Brent Venables, they could be the best defense in college football this season. If DJU continues to struggle, new 5-star QB Cade Klubnik will be more than anxious to come to the rescue. Remember, for all of their struggles last season, Clemson still managed to win 10 games – making it eleven consecutive seasons they’ve notched double-digit wins.

PLAY ON: vs. NC State (10/1)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Clemson has won 131 games the past 11 seasons – winning 10+ games each season – 2nd to Alabama’s 140 wins.

FLORIDA STATE – BREAK ON THROUGH – 6.5 W – *9 / 9

The good news for head coach Mike Norvell last season was that the Seminoles won five of their final eight games, although they finished just 5-7. It was the fourth straight losing season for FSU after 41 straight winning campaigns. Sheesh… words echoed from up above by Bobby Bowden, we’re sure. QB Jordan Travis, the Louisville transfer, returns after posting a 148.9 Passer rating last season, the best of his career. He’s also rushed for over 1,000 yards the past two seasons. The best news for Norvell is that nearly 32% of last year’s starts were made by freshmen, the third-highest in the nation. We see a breakthrough in 2022.

PLAY ON: at Louisville (9/16)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Seminoles suffered a non-FBS loss last season for the first time since 1959.

LOUISVILLE – A&E NETWORK – 6.5 W – *8 / 7

Scott Satterfield has changed the culture of the Louisville football program since he inherited a two-win team in the 2019 season. His teams have averaged better than 440 yards per game, thanks to two things he tells his players they can control, “attitude and effort”. Before accepting the Louisville job, Satterfield built Appalachian State into a powerhouse, guiding his teams to three consecutive Sun Belt Conference championships, and a remarkable 51-24 record with the Mountaineers, including a 38-10 conference mark in six seasons. Yes, the man can coach. To top it off, the Redbirds welcome back 15 starters in 2022, including QB Malik Cunningham, who is set to begin his fourth year as a starter.

PLAY ON: at Clemson (11/12)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: In his seven seasons as a head coach, Scott Satterfield’s teams are 57-7 when scoring 30 or more points.

NC STATE – STACKED PACK – 8.5 W – *7 / 10

Guided by QB Devin Leary (35 TDs and 5 INTs), the Wolfpack’s 17 returning starters this season leads the ACC. That’s from a cast of characters that welcomed 19 starters back from the 2020 roster, which paved the way to a 9-win effort last season thanks to an offense that ranked No. 14 in overall Red Zone Offense. Together they top off a strong cast of returning production in 2022 for Dave Doeren, who has suffered only one losing season in the last eight years with the Pack. Unfortunately, their postseason bowl game with UCLA was canceled due to COVID protocols, which likely leaves them chomping at the bit in 2022. One might accuse them of playing with a stacked deck this season.

PLAY AGAINST: at North Carolina (11/25)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Wolfpack stands 53-12 SU and 37-21-1 ATS in games in which they outgain an opponent under Dave Doeren.

SYRACUSE – ORANGE JUICED – 4.5 W – *9 / 8

The lack of veteran presence was a major concern for the Orange last season when there was not a single upperclassman in pads. This year it’s just the backups that lack experience. The team returns 17 starters for Dino Babers’ bunch in 2022, including Mikel Jones. The defensive captain’s return is huge as he was second in the ACC with 110 tackles, and first with 60 solo tackles. He could easily have been part of this year’s NFL Draft but opted to return. The problem at hand is the fact that Babers has won just two or fewer ACC games in five of his six seasons at the helm. In closing is this food for thought: After going 1-17 ‘In The Stats’ (ITS) in their previous 18 conference games, Syracuse went 5-3 ITS last season. Chew on that.

PLAY ON: at Wake Forest (11/19)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Syracuse has ranked dead last in the ACC in Third Down Efficiency over each of the past two seasons.

WAKE FOREST – DRINK IT UP – 8.5 W – *7 / 7

The Demon Deacons went a mighty long time between drinks of victory water – 118 to be exact – before they finally broke through with a double-digit winning season for the first time in school history in 2006. That year Wake Forest went 11-3 and won the ACC championship. Lo and behold, just 15 years later, they did it again when they finished the 2021 season with another sparkling 11-3 record and won the Gator Bowl, despite RB Kenneth Walker having transferred to Michigan State. With plenty of returning talent back, including QB Sam Hartman and his top target WR A.T. Perry, they only hope the Demons of the past don’t rear their head in 2022. A lot of that will be determined by the success of new DC Brad Lambert, one of the top assistant hires in the ACC this season.

PLAY ON: vs. North Carolina (11/12)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Demon Deacons are 19-2 ATS versus .500 or fewer foes coming off consecutive losses, including 11-0 ATS in the last eleven games.

DUKE – CUTTING THE CORD – 3.5 W – 6 / 5

With a 10-25 finish, the David Cutcliffe era at Duke is over. With it, Mike Elko takes the reins, tasked with making steak out of mincemeat with only nine starters returning. In Elko’s 23 years of coaching, 18 have been spent as a defensive coordinator. He has twice been named a semifinalist for the Frank Broyles Award (2017 and 2021), awarded annually to the top assistant coach in college football. He inherits an offense that averaged less than 15 points a game in ACC contests. Meanwhile, the defense allowed 7.1 yards per play last season and allowed 45 or more points to each of their last six opponents. Egad.

PASS

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Blue Devils are 21-2 SU in games in which they outgain their opponent.

GEORGIA TECH – WHERE FOR ART THOU, PJ? – 3.5 W – *5 / 3

What has transpired with the Yellow Jackets program since Paul Johnson was fired, and his ground-and-pound offense walked out in 2018, has been startling. In Johnson’s 11 seasons with the Ramblin’ Wreck, his teams went 83-60, and were bowlers nine times, while averaging 305 rushing yards per game. Since his departure three years ago they’ve managed to win three games each season, going 9-25 SU and 10-21-1 ATS while averaging just 171 rushing yards per game. That’s a drop-off of 134 RYPG. Pardon the pun, but the proof is in the pudding. Making matters worse, only eight starters – the fewest in the ACC – return in 2022. It may be time to call Paul.

PLAY AGAINST: vs. Duke (10/8)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: 170 of Georgia Tech’s 264 team-starts (64.4%) were made by underclassmen last season.

MIAMI (Fla) – HOME ON THE RANGE – 8.5 W – *7 / 7

Aside from being a former Hurricane during Miami’s heyday, Mario Cristobal is one of the nation’s best recruiters. While recruiting players in Miami shouldn’t be a difficult task, the Canes have had ups and downs on the recruiting trail. Florida’s biggest recruits often opt for Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State rather than stay home. Cristobal is here to fix that. He signed a top-10 class at Oregon and maintained top-15 classes annually. He kept West Coast kids on the West Coast as opposed to bolting for the SEC. He’ll do the same here. The move to hire Cristobal was a good one, and promising QB Tyler Van Dyke should benefit.

PLAY ON: vs. North Carolina (10/8)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Mario Cristobal is 13-5 ATS vs. undefeated foes, including 10-0 ATS against those who allow more than 11 PPG.

NORTH CAROLINA – BAD EGGS – 7.5 W – 5 / 8

Along with Indiana, the Tar Heels were another preseason ranked team that imploded right from the get-go. Coming off an Orange Bowl season, with Sam Howell back at quarterback, Mack Brown’s boys were tabbed as the No. 10 team in the land before it all went to hell in a handbag when they lost five games as favorites in 2021. They managed to eke out a bowl bid but showed their true colors when they fell 38-21 as 13-point chalk to South Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl game. Talk about egg on their face. North Carolina’s defense was a colossal disappointment in ’21, surrendering 32.1 points a game and 6.1 yards per play, as the Tar Heels ranked 11th in the ACC in pass efficiency defense and 10th against the run. New coordinator Gene Chizik has his work cut out for him. The best news is expectations won’t be as high this season.

PLAY ON: vs. Virginia Tech (10/1)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: 12 of the 16 regular-season losses under Mack Brown have been one-possession games.

PITTSBURGH – ON THE PROWL – 8.5 W – *9 / 7

When former USC QB Kedon Slovis was unseated by Jaxson Dart, he transferred to Pitt. The bad news is reigning Biletnikoff Award winning WR Jordan Addison transferred to USC. Still, the Panthers’ 16 returning starters top the ACC Coastal Division. Not to mention WR Konata Mumpfield transferred in from Akron. The 3-star recruit had a bevy of Power Five offers but settled on Pitt. Topping it off, the entire offensive line is back as well. And the Panthers’ defense ranked among the best in the ACC by holding teams to 5.1 yards per play last fall. It’s why they managed to win 11 games for the first time since 1981.

PLAY ON: at Western Michigan (9/17)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Panthers have won more than 10 games four times in school history. They then won 9, 11, 11, and 9 games the following seasons.

VIRGINIA – SLOBBER KNOCKER – 7.5 W – *4 / 6

New head coach Tony Elliott, the former Clemson offensive coordinator, was trying hard to wipe the drool from his face in spring camp. After all, he welcomed explosive fifth-year senior QB Brennan Armstrong back to the team. Armstrong set school single-season records for passing yards (4,444), total offense (4,700), completions (326), and touchdown passes (31) last season – in just 11 games while leading all Power 5 quarterbacks by averaging 427.3 total yards a game last season. He also tossed just 10 interceptions on 500 attempts. The bad news, though, is the Cavs lose their entire starting offensive line. Elliott did keep three of Bronco Mendenhall’s assistants to add a modicum of familiarity. Expect a new-look Cavaliers crew in 2022.

PLAY ON: vs. Pittsburgh (11/12)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Virginia led the ACC in pass attempts last season but was last in rush attempts.

VIRGINIA TECH – PRY BABIES – 6 W – 4 / 7

The Hokies were young gobblers last season, as underclassmen started a total of 174 games – which tied for sixth-most in the land. New head coach Brent Pry, a former defensive coordinator with ULL, Georgia Southern, Vanderbilt and Penn State, brought in two QBs (Jason Brown, South Carolina, and Grant Wells, Marshall), and a pair of WRs from the transfer portal to boost the passing attack. In the process, Tech held teams to 25.3 points a game but allowed 5.9 yards per play while the offense averaged only 24 points per game in ACC play. The Gobblers have also made several position switches across the defense, which fit right into Pry’s DNA. With Wells convincingly winning the job this spring, and one-time walk-on WR Kaleb Smith appearing ready for a breakout season, the changes in Blacksburg go well beyond ex-head coach Justin Fuentes.

PLAY AGAINST: vs. Virginia (11/26)

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Seniors made only 14 team-starts on last year’s team, the fewest in the ACC.

Meet the Experts: Marc Lawrence

Lawrence Prezman sits down with Marc Lawrence to discuss his career in the sports betting business. Marc has been a professional handicapper for over 40 years, and is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his Playbook preseason guide in 2022.

Meet the Experts:  Marc Lawrence | Sports Handicappers | Playbook Magazine

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Meet the Author

A contrarian by nature, Marc Lawrence loves ferreting out lives dogs that stand a good chance of winning the game. His “Woody Hayes” approach to handicapping is simple: Hayes’ contention was that when you pass the ball three things can happen, and two of them are bad. In the same vein, when you bet on a favorite three things can happen and two of them are bad. Hence, when you bet on a live dog three things can happen and two of them are good. Marc is a 45-year veteran of the sports betting industry, having won more documented top-10 handicapping achievement awards than anyone in the nation – including winning the Stardust Football Invitational in 2005.

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