Jimmyshivers Week 11 ACC Football Picks
Just like each of the teams that we cover here, last week was the dreaded BYE week for yours truly. I was unable to get a column posted due to extenuating circumstances (cough VEGAS cough) but I’m back as we look for a break-out effort for Week 11 in the ACC. As always, you can find my full card on twitter where we got the week started on the right foot with a winner in the ACC Thursday night game.
Season YTD Recap:
Week 11 ACC Play Summary
Pittsburgh – Duke O50 1U
The health of Thomas Sirk is keeping this line and total short of where it might have otherwise gone, as I believe we have a nice match-up for the over here. This is a match-up that favors both of these limited offenses, as the strength of the Duke defense is against the run (they rank in the top 10 of my run D rankings) which is easily Pitt’s worst offensive attribute (93rd yards per carry, 96th explosive run plays). Duke’s secondary has struggled relatively this year in the passing game (78th yards per attempt, 83rd in passing big plays) and is going against one of the nations most productive wideouts in Tyler Boyd. When Duke has the ball they will be keying off on a Pitt defense that gives up a healthy % of big rushing plays (99th in my big rush play stats) so they should be able to keep the chains moving.
Earlier in the season these were two very stout defenses but it seems like as the weather has gotten colder the injuries have piled up and both units have regressed somewhat. In Pitt’s last 4 games they’ve allowed 28, 20, 26 & 42 points which (while admittedly not exorbitant) represent 4 of the 5 largest point totals they’ve allowed so far this season. And Duke has allowed each of their last 3 opponents to cross 30 points (43, 30, 66) which before that none of the teams they played even scored more than 20. While some of this can be accounted for in the tougher schedule it’s also related the more limited depth that both these schools struggle with.
Also randomly, for whatever reason when these teams have gotten together over the last couple of years the games have been shootouts, with the games the last 2 seasons producing 2 thrillers (48-51 Pitt last year and a 58-55 Duke win 2 years ago). Even if we only get half of one of those types of games here, we should still get over this low total. Duke 34 Pitt 27
Syracuse – Clemson Under 57 1U
Once the news broke that Eric Dungey was going to miss the game I knew that the under was going to hold some value for me here. This was a game that I had projected at 53 so getting a few added points with Syracuse missing the only viable QB on the roster made this play a no brainer. The biggest worry her is that Clemson puts up 45+, and while that’s a distinct possibility there is little reason for the Tigers to over-exert themselves here and pile on points as they are already in the pole position for the play-offs. It also doesn’t hurt that their coming off a massive win over FSU and may find themselves a little sleepy this week on the road against an also round. I see a relatively boring game where Clemson is pretty much able to keep it in cruise control against a banged up Orange team who is playing out the string. Clemson 34 Syracuse 7
NC State +8.5 1U
I’m feeling a little bit bullish on my Wolfpack coming down the stretch this season and to boot we get them this week in a pretty good spot to fade FSU. There is no question that last week’s disappointing loss has made most of what FSU set out to achieve this season impossible (ACC and National Title contention) and now all they are just playing out what has become a rather ordinary season for the Seminoles. They haven’t exactly been impressive often this season, and now that they have reason to be flat can they rise up and comfortably beat an improving NC State team? The real reason for this play is that I like what I’m seeing from NC State, since they lost their top 2 RBs for the season they’ve had to open up the offense somewhat and become much more balanced, which does them a great service as they have a really good college QB in Jacoby Brissett. Brissett is a solid decision maker who is elusive in the pocket and is frequently able to convert broken plays into first downs. Last season he was extremely effective (32-48 359 yards 3-0 TD-INT vs FSU) in a wild game that saw State blow a 24-0 first quarter lead. It’s a less explosive offense this season (especially with Everett Golson starting) and I look for a pretty tight game. NCSU would be hard pressed to win this game in a normal spot but FSU has struggled enough the last 2 seasons that I worry about how they will play in a legitimately bad spot. FSU 34 NC State 31
Notre Dame -27 1U
Simply put, Wake has relied on a statistically average defense to keep them close in games as their offense is once again awful. But the issue is here that the Deacons haven’t really faced many good offenses (one top 25 offense by my numbers which was UNC who torched them for 50) and are facing a really dangerous and dynamic group this week up in South Bend. Notre Dame has a massive trench advantage on both sides of the ball here and I look for them to just beat up on Wake here and blow them out. The Irish haven’t covered this number many times this season but they’ve played a really tough schedule once again and this may be the worst team they’ve faced all season. Look for Notre Dame to come out here with the intention of blowing out the Deacs as they are in the thick of the playoff race and would be well served with a comfortable victory. In this type of game with this type of spread I’d be worried about a potential lookahead spot, but with the lowly BC Eagles on deck Notre Dame should be readily focused on the task at hand; blowing out the Deamon Deacons. Notre Dame 45 Wake Forest 10
I played the UNC Miami Over at 63 but at the current 67.5/68 it is unplayable. Pass for now but I’d play if it dipped back down below 65.
Virginia-Louisville is a pass for me at 14, Louisville is schizophrenic so I can’t lay 2 scores with them even when I think Virginia is in a Dead Coach Walking scenario.
Best of luck guys, lets have a winning week!