Jimmyshivers Week 5 ACC Football Picks
Week 4 saw us take home a small winning week to bring our winning streak to 2 weeks. This week we look to extend that to 3 weeks and attempt to get into the positive for the season. Overall it is going to be a smaller card as there have been several significant line moves from the openers that I played on Sunday afternoon at BetOnline. To follow along and get those plays as they are released please follow me on twitter.
Year to Date:
Week 4 Grades:
Virginia +3 and Virginia ML Loss Grade F
It is very difficult to have a wire to wire loser on an underdog who gets the ball first, but a first play pick-6 essentially buried this play as the Wahoos were never able to recover. They showed some fight for parts of the 2nd quarter before largely shutting it down in the 2nd half. Overall a disgraceful effort from a team supposedly fighting for their coaches job, and at 1-3 heading into ACC play it does not get easier from here in the crowded Coastal division.
Georgia Tech -8 Loss Grade F
Another wire-to-wire loser, the Jackets were never really in this one and were outgunned pretty much from the start. The excellent secondary of Duke posed real problems for the Jackets as they were able to shut down the secondary and tertiary break that is Georgia Tech is used to exploiting. Special teams was also a mess for GT as they essentially gave up 3 touchdowns in this area. It is rare that Georgia Tech under Paul Johnson is out-toughed up front but after getting manhandled twice in a row we have to wonder just how good this Jackets team is. Hats off again to Duke, who seem to really love proving me wrong so far this season.
Syracuse +24.5 Won Grade A
Hello LSU flat spot! While Fournette was still awesome LSU pretty much played as expected and were largely indifferent in a game that didn’t require a lot of effort to win. While I still don’t think this is a very good Orange team (especially with a 3rd string QB) this was a great spot to fade the big chalk. Wire-to-wire cover
NC State – South Alabama O54.5 Won Grade A+
Very nearly winning this over by halftime was just indicative of just how easy this one was. NC State had absolutely no issues moving the football and overpowering USA and the Jaguars were able to do just enough to make this one easy.
Northern Illinois – Boston College Under 47.5 Won Grade A
This one was also nice and easy, as the under was never in doubt despite a late NIU kickoff return for a score. An ugly game that I did not watch but the box score review tells us all we need to know.
Week 5 Plays & Thoughts
North Carolina @ Georgia Tech
I played UNC +12.5 on Sunday at open for 2U. However the current line is much more in line with where it should be. Overall I’m still bullish on this UNC team as the defense appears improved under Gene Chizik and the ground game looks very strong which should make this offense much more versatile. However there are a couple of concerns in this game that would prevent me from playing it at the current number:
I have a very small lean to UNC +7/+7.5 at this point (my line was GT -6) but knowing I got great value on Sunday I can’t really advocate for a play on UNC at this number with so many remaining questions on defense. I think it’s a close game throughout that UNC finds a way to lose late. Georgia Tech 38 UNC 35
Louisville @ NC State
I played Under 51 here before the weather news really broke on Wednesday. Not currently excited to play the current number as I think it’s pretty tight all around. NC State dominated their OOC schedule but it was completely made up of overmatched foes. Louisville has already been through the ringer several times this season and even at 1-3 the Cardinals have shown some progress offensively. It finally looks like Bobby P has settled on a QB, and for a largely untested NC State defense it will be curious to see how they do up front against a Louisville OLine that has really struggled. This game may be played in some pretty adverse weather conditions, so my gut tells me that the better run game is more likely to be successful and that should be NC State. But this isn’t one that presents a lot of ATS value at this point. NC State 24 Louisville 20
Pittsburgh @ Virginia Tech
I played the under 51 here before the weather concerns became a factor. At the current total of 46.5 it is an absolute pass, though I have a small lean to the Hokies to cover the 4.5 and start to get their season back on track. Virginia Tech has surprisingly really struggled in defending the run which is a concern, but Pitt has been equally inept offensively when trying to stick to their power ground game. Kendall Fuller being out for the season is bad news in the effort to limit the underrated Tyler Boyd from having a big game, but it says here that Pitt struggles in the passing game in bad weather with an offensive line that allows sacks on 11% of all dropbacks so far this season. This should be an ugly game and at the current market prices I am just going to pass all around Hokies 24 Pitt 17
Boston College @ Duke
PLAY: Boston College +7 Risking 1.1 units to win 1 unit
I played Under 41 when the total was posted on Tuesday. I still lean under the total at the current number but am going to pass and instead advocate for a play on Boston College plus the points. Duke is once again finding ways to scrape by this season but in watching the Devils you get a real sense for just how limited their offense is. This week they are running into an extremely salty BC defense who to this point in the season has played 2 solid programs (NIU + Florida State) and only allowed a total of 2 defensive scores. While it is early days for BC the stats are impressive: 2nd in yards per passing attempt, 7th in yards per carry, 2nd in tackles for loss, first in allowing defensive big plays & 9th in defensive 3rd down percentage. They are going against what I feel is a pretty vanilla Duke offense that relies on a short and intermediate passing attack in combination with a power ground game to move the football. The Devils are 111th nationally in offensive yards per attempt to this point, and also generally struggle to move the ball all at once (116th in my explosive play rankings). This is going to be another game played in inclement weather so for me I see value in getting a score in a slug-fest type of game where I believe that I have the better defense. Duke is the likely winner here but this BC team was built to shut down limited offense like that of the Blue Devils. I’m on the Eagles + the points. Duke 17 Boston College 14
Florida State @ Wake Forest
PLAY: UNDER 44 Risking 1.05 units to win 1 unit
This looks like another game that will be played in inclement weather and for me it is another game that largely shapes up to be a snoozer. Wake Forest once again largely looks to be a very limited football team on offense this season, and while they are improved over last years historically bad outfit they are still really going to struggle to move the football against the bigger and more athletic defenses on their schedule. I think Florida State will largely outclass the Deacons up front here and completely take away the traditional ground game which will put a ton of pressure on a Wake Forest passing game that may or may not have the guy under center who is actually capable of completing forward passes. Wake’s current passing numbers are pretty ugly (54% completions, 6.4 yards per attempt and a 2-7 TD INT ratio against some pretty bad defenses) and they are now facing a unit that ranks in the top 25 in each of those categories. My biggest concern for Wake contributing to an over here is multiple turnovers that FSU returns for scores or really short fields to set up easy FSU points.
The strength of this Wake team is their defense and while they will be out-sized and out manned on the defensive front they are going against what has largely been an unimpressive start to the season for the FSU passing attack. Everett Golson has looked surprisingly uncomfortable this year and I look for the Seminoles to use the strong ground game to attempt to set up the playaction passing attack. Florida State ranks 101st nationally in passing attempts per game so with once again the threat of inclement weather rearing it’s head look for the Noles to keep the ball out of the air. This looks like a fairly ugly game and I kind of expect FSU to win convincingly, but Wake should really struggle on offense so the under is the more appealing option. Florida State 27 Wake Forest 6
Notre Dame @ Clemson
PLAY: Clemson -1.5 Risking 1.1 units to win 1 unit
I played Clemson +2 at open but since we haven’t crossed any real key numbers I will still advocate for a play on the home team at under a field goal. This looks like a whale of a game that may (once again) be played under severely inclement conditions. Both of these teams are undefeated and look like potential play-off teams but I have a couple of reasons to favor the Tigers here:
Notre Dame is a very solid team with an excellent coach, but for me it’s a tough spot in that they are finally going against a legitimately good defense and facing a versatile & dangerous offense as well. We are getting a discount on Clemson here due to the name brand value of the Irish’s opponents so far this season, but I’m not all that convinced that Notre Dame has beaten anyone who is any good. Give me the better quarterback at home in primetime here at less than a field goal and I think it’s a solid value play. Clemson 27 Notre Dame 21