The Clemson Tigers college football team in action. NCAAF ACC 2023: Betting Favorites and Expert Picks The Clemson Tigers college football team in action. NCAAF ACC 2023: Betting Favorites and Expert Picks
Jim Ferguson, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

The Atlantic Coast Conference has finally decided to abolish the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions, opening a space for the conference title game between the Clemson Tigers and the Florida State Seminoles. These two outfits have dominated the conference in the last decade, particularly Clemson, who took seven of the last eight trophies.

They are the strongest two sides going into the new campaign by some distance. Now that they can lock horns in the decisive game at the end of the regular season, we can hardly see anyone else getting involved in the battle for the conference throne.

Cal and Stanford are rumored to join the ACC in the years to come. For now, you will watch the usual suspects, including North Carolina, Louisville, NC State, Miami, Pittsburgh, Duke, etc., trying to pull off upsets in the clashes with the two playoff contenders from this conference.

The sportsbooks see Clemson only as slight favorites ahead of the Seminoles, as we should enjoy a scintillating battle for the throne between these two conference heavyweights. Here are our thoughts on the ACC power rankings ahead of the 2023 season, including the top betting predictions from the futures markets.

Bet No. 1 — Clemson Tigers to Win ACC Conference at +150 with DraftKings

The Tigers are perennial ACC contenders and seem poised for another dominant campaign in their conference. They missed out on the CFB Playoffs last time, but based on everything we have learned this summer, the 2023 Clemson should be stronger than last year. They will return 15 starters, seven in offense and eight in defense.

Clemson is known for their outstanding defensive showings, but we would like to emphasize their offense here. For starters, the often-questioned Tigers’ offensive line has put 34 points past the main conference rivals Florida State in the first three-quarters of last season’s game against the Seminoles, entering the final section of the game with a massive 34-14 lead on the occasion.

The frightening fact for the Seminoles is that Clemson’s offense looks more threatening this time around. The Tigers made one of the most exciting moves in college football this summer by appointing former TCU assistant Garrett Riley as the new offensive coordinator.

Riley led the Horned Frogs’ offense to an 11-2 record last time out, taking QB Max Duggan to a Heisman Trophy final contest. Riley is now one of the highest-paid offensive coordinators in the nation, and the sky is the limit for the combo of him and quarterback Cade Klubnik.

The schedule looks just fine for the Tigers as the Seminoles and the Fighting Irish are both coming to visit Death Valley, while the road schedule is by no means worrying, with the trips to Miami and South Carolina labeled as the most challenging in the entire regular season.

At the end of the day, it will all most likely come down to a single ACC Championship game between the Tigers and the Seminoles. Knowing that last year’s Clemson team has put 34 points past Florida State, it is very hard to be optimistic about the Seminoles’ chances in that tie in 2023. The main pick is Clemson to win the ACC Championship Game at the +150 odds with DraftKings.

Safer Pick:

  • Clemson Tigers to reach the ACC Championship Game at -220 with DraftKings

Riskier Pick:

  • Clemson Tigers to reach the CFB Playoff at +350 with DraftKings
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Bet No. 2 — Florida State Seminoles Over 10 Wins at +130 with DraftKings

The Florida State Seminoles are legit this year. With the changes in the conference propositions, they will finally get a chance to feature in the ACC Championship Game, even with a potential defeat to Clemson Tigers in the regular season. This Noles’ team has the greatest depth and talent since 2014, when Florida State last claimed the conference title.

Arguably, the Seminoles could have an even better offensive line than Clemson this year on paper. They return eight starters from last year, including one of the main Heisman Trophy contenders Jordan Travis. He finished the last season with 32 touchdowns and now has a wider range of weapons.

These come in the likes of Johnny Wilson and Trey Benson, who return after fantastic campaigns with Florida State last time out, as well as the newest addition, Keon Coleman.

The wide receiver has had a great season with Michigan State on an individual level, and he will surely take the rivaling defenses’ attention away from Wilson. Benson gained almost 1,000 yards on the ground last year and represents a serious weapon in the team’s rush offense.

The Noles have also transferred Jaheim Bell this summer. Bell will further increase their offensive potential after scoring three touchdowns on the ground and two more through the air last year with South Carolina.

The defense is not elite, but we certainly expect improvements with Florida State returning nine starters from last season. These include the soon-to-be first-round pick in the NFL Draft, Jared Verse. The likes of Kalen DeLoach and Tatum Bethune, who combined for 6 sacks and 149 tackles in the previous campaign, are also back on the roster.

The Seminoles have a tricky opening game with LSU and obviously the Week 4 tie in Death Valley against the Tigers, but we can’t skip the value of the plus odds offered for the Florida State Over 10 wins pick (+130) with DraftKings Sportsbook.

Safer picks:

  • Florida State Seminoles Over 9.5 wins at -144 with DraftKings
  • Florida State Seminoles to make the ACC Championship Game at -200 with DraftKings
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The Rest of the Field

As mentioned above, no ACC team looks capable of causing problems for Clemson and Florida State on the way to their Conference Championship Game this year.

On paper, North Carolina and Louisville stand taller than the rest of the pack, but we are not confident at all regarding their chances against the improved Tigers and Seminoles.

North Carolina featured in the ACC title game last year, and they have one of the biggest stars in the conference in the like of quarterback Drake Maye. Nevertheless, the Tar Heels will only return four other starters on offense. They have added the likes of Nate McCollum and Tez Walker, but the latter is unable to help the team until his appeal to the NCAA works out.

North Carolina had the weakest defensive line in the conference last year, allowing 31 points per match. Despite their relatively easy schedule, we don’t see the Tar Heels doing anything significant in 2023.

Pick Worth Considering:

  • North Carolina Tar Heels Under 8.5 wins at -150 with DraftKings

If we had to choose another team worth backing for the Over in the season wins’ market, it would be Louisville. The schedule would be the main reason because the Cardinals will not face any of the three strongest teams in the conference this year (Clemson, Florida State, and North Carolina).

The offensive unit has just four starters back, but it could potentially thrive with this schedule and the former Purdue partnership of quarterback Jack Plummer and head coach Jeff Brohm.

  • Louisville Cardinals Over 8.5 wins at +132 with DraftKings