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Jimmyshivers Week 1 ACC Football Picks

Jimmyshivers Week 1 ACC Football Picks

Looking forward to a great season of making some solid ACC Football picks!

YTD:  0-0 +0 units

 

*** Clemson / Auburn Under 56.5 (-110)

In general Clemson is not a team that you want to play the under against. Clemson has a lot of positional speed and uses an offense that generates a very high play count to exploit defenses and attempt to score often. But there are a couple of factors that point to playing the under for me.

The biggest that I mentioned above is that I feel that both teams have major ?’s on the offensive lines. Clemson is replacing 4 starters on the OL (as well as the TE) and I expect that Auburn will have a good chance to win the battle up front. Taj Boyd was a dynamic QB early last season but later in the year as teams tried different defensive fronts he struggled to adjust and often had issues with his footwork and working through his progressions.

It’s reasonable to expect him to get somewhat better with this, but in the first game of the year against a front 7 returning 6 starters I expect him to be pressed for time and potentially struggle to make the quick reads (especially with his go-to guy Sammy Watkins suspended). Look for lots of Ellington and co. here to keep drives alive and most importantly for us, the clock moving.

Auburn should also struggle up front, returning only 35 starts on the Oline (with 2 first time starters and a converted center) and featuring a So. QB making his first start. Frazier is a dual threat guy who played the Cam Newton role in limited time in ’11, but look for the new offense to be a little more ground-and-pound here as they attempt to make a switch to more of a deliberate, ball control offense. Once again, it keeps the clock moving. Clemson is breaking in a new DC as well but I look for their discipline and positioning to potentially improve as they relied far too often on natural ability last year and made a ton of mistakes.

If you were an early player on this total you could have had it in the low 60′s, but even at a TD lower I still find value in the under.  Props to pezgordo for getting such great value a month ago.  My feeling is that both teams start slowly here and we stay well under the total in what figures to resemble a physical SEC-style contest. 28-21 Tigers (whichever ones)..

*** Florida International Golden Panthers +4 (-115)

I like David Cutcliffe and in general I like his team this year, but this game finds them playing the wrong team at the wrong time. Duke is coming in really banged up, losing 5 projected starters since the start of summer to injury. Depth is always a problem at Duke (especially on D) and I’m not confident that they are deep enough to replace too many starters. This is his deepest Blue Devil team, but he will never have the kind of depth found at most BCS schools (normally an important distinction in my opinion between most BCS and non-BCS teams).

Duke did win on the road last year at FIU, but a quick look at both the stat sheet and game tape reveals they were pretty lucky to leave Miami with the W. They gave up 568 yards and were outgained by 184 (out FD’d by 10) but a couple of timely turnovers in the 4th quarter allowed them to make up a DD deficit and eek out the victory. So the revenge factor is certainly in play for an FIU team with big aspirations looking to start out by avenging a really tough loss. In many cases revenge is overrated if more than a season has passed or a team has a boatload of new starters, but this Golden Panthers is returning 17 starters who have likely been reminded of the sting of this defeat many times.

The key defensively for FIU is going to neutralize Sean Renfree, he hit them for 338 yards last year with a 65% completion percentage. Duke uses a lot of short and intermediate passing routes to limit their OL exposure and Renfree’s decision making has really improved over his lengthy career. Fortunately FIU returns their entire 2-deep in the secondary so it may be difficult for Duke to have the same success as they did last year. A big part of Duke’s passing success in this game last year was that in 43 attempts FIU didn’t register a sack, so getting more pressure up front is a key. For a defense that returns 6 of the front 7 starters from last year (which averaged a very soild 7.5% sack percentage) I think it’s likely they do better at pressuring the passing game.

The offense for FIU is more of a question with them replacing stud WR TY Hilton and their QB, but I’m willing to give them a pass against a Duke defense missing several key players. Duke traditionally struggles up front (gave up 4.9 ypc overall last year and 171 yards on ground to FIU) and though key DE Anunike returns, they are overmatched against what looks like the Sun Belts best O-line. I feel FIU has a great chance to control the line of scrimmage and really shove Rhodes down Duke’s throat.

Duke has opened at home each of Cutcliffe’s seasons but is only 2-3 SU even though 4 of their opponents have been FCS teams. Duke is banged up, doesn’t have much home field advantage and are laying 4 points to the team with the better defense and stronger O-line (possibly the better coaching staff as well) with a pretty hefty revenge angle. Duke is a great team to play on as a dog but they have struggled when laying points (just 6-4 SU as a fav since ’09 with several wins against FCS schools). I’m taking the 4 but I think FIU wins outright..

*** Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets +7.5 (-110)

Looking to fade the Hokies as chalk in September, I like their defense but have major questions about how their offense is going to come together.  Thomas looked really good last year behind a veteran offensive line with senior receivers and a home run hitter at tailback, but now it’s on him to be the star of the show.  I felt like last year teams loaded the box due to the solid ground game, and they took advantage of it when they did pass with playaction and throwing downfield to Coale, Davis and Coles.  What happens this year when teams don’t fear that O-line and an unproven ground game?  GT was an awful blitzing team last year so it is key that they can generate pressure from the front 3.  They will likely show some interesting looks to Thomas and that Oline early on to create confusion and keep Thomas from getting into a rhythm.

Tevin Washington hit a wall down the stretch I felt last year; teams did a really good job of dialing in their defenses to take away his pitch options and really make the offense a lot less explosive.  GT opened up the QB competition in the spring and TW was able to keep his job, fending off a couple of promising burners in Lee and Days.  Look for GT to get both of those guys involved at some point here.  GT has their best, most experienced offensive line since they switched to the wishbone and I expect the ground game to be a real handful which just makes the times they do decide to pass even more potentially dangerous.

PJ is known for installing some surprises and when he has a ton of time here and a big expectation of mine is that I look for the Jackets to throw the ball more than usual (13 passes a game is regular) and possibly switch out the passers a bit to test what is a probably the weakness of this defense in the secondary.  The special teams have been awful under PJ as he has coached this unit since he was hired but they have both kickers back and he finally passed on responsibilities to a coordinator so I look for this unit to get a lot more attention and be much improved.

Every year since the ACC went to 12 teams the winner of this game has represented the Coastal division in the ACC title game.  This is an ACC heavyweight fight each year (GT has covered this 7.5 point spread 3 of the 4 years under PJ) and GT is 5-0 ATS when getting more than 6.5 under Johnson (2-3 SU).  I think with the question marks for each team 7.5 is just too many points to lay with 2 such solid programs and my top two teams in the league.  I feel like this is close to a coin flip and see real value at more than a TD.


** North Carolina St Wolfpack +3.5 (-113)
* North Carolina St Wolfpack ML (+140)

ADDED 9/1

Excuse the errors in syntax, lots to do today before I give my day away to football

** Boston College Eagles+2.5 -102

*  Boston College Eagles ML +120

High on BC to start the season, so I’m simply going to make a value play and back them here getting points at home.  Was hoping for the 3 but don’t think were going to get there.  BC was just a mess last year with rotating coordinators and an injury list that saw them lose over 50 starter games to injuries (top 3 nationally).   Eagles have a good, experienced QB  in Rettig who never had a chance last year after losing all of his downfield options.  When a team has nothing but possession receivers and a mediocre running game it becomes very hard to stretch defenses and they become very predictable.  Rettig and new OC Doug Martin spent a lot of time getting on the same page, and I look for the passing game to be more dynamic which should restore some balance to what BC does offensively and make them less predictable.  Miami has an athleticism advantage against BC like always but its very raw (34 frosh on 2-deep) and that tends to lead to missed assignments and poor execution.   I just feel like I have the value of public perception and some pretty decent match-ups up front.   My line was BC -2.5.  Lean to the TT over as well (21).

*** North Carolina Tar Heels -34.5 -110

A little concerned that NC struggles with scheme changes, but the thought here is we have a high-powered offensive engine with a QB who they feel is ready to crank this engine from day 1.  Heels will look to be prolific offensively this year with an up-tempo pace under new coach Fedora and I expect them to put on a show today as they try to rebuild the football culture in CH.  With Wake on deck next week it’s important to get the offense clicking as quickly as possible and the best way to do that is with extended reps.  I just look for NC to attack early and often here and keep their foot to the pedal through the 4th quarter.  Looking for NC to hang a 50 spot..

*** Richmond Spiders +24 -110

Major ?s for me with the Wahoos and taking more than 3 scores with a team who is very familiar with UVA and will be very up.  Like the Cavs ground game but not much else offensively at this point, Rocco is the guy in week 1 but for how long?  It’s hard for a guy to complete passes while looking over his shoulder  Cavs have recruited well but are still a pretty young team and aren’t deep enough to run away.  If Richmond does get outside the number Cavs secondary is very inexperienced and the back door will be open.

BOL everyone! — JS

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5 Responses to “Jimmyshivers Week 1 ACC Football Picks”

  1. Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

    Jimmy, I got GT +9 when we first starting talking about it a few months ago. I also like the UNDER in that one. Could be an ugly offensive game ….. or an offensive offensive game. HA!

    I have NCST +8, but couldn’t get much down on that one. Looks like a tight game. Wolfpack may have caught a break too w/ Rodgers getting dismissed. Now they can concentrate on Hunter, though the JC kid Patterson is highly touted.

    • jimmyshivers jimmyshivers says:

      As you know I liked that GT play then,obviously you got the better number but I still feel good about getting more than a TD. Although one could argue that 8 is more of a key # than usual when playing GT games as they have a higher tendency to go for 2. Hopefully this doesn’t happen or they convert it and we can both bring home that ATS bacon.

      State game should be very tight, both teams bring back a lot of talent. In these high profile, neutral-site games early in the year I sure like getting the better QB and better coach (catching points) and I feel like were getting that with NCS. I just feel like State was the better team in December and not enough has changed since then, especially with Rogers out for Tenn. Only thing stopping me from going harder there is that it’s my team and I worry about the linebackers.

      Either way I probably won’t know a hell of a lot about what happened until I watch the game again on Saturday. Friday night + Wolfpack season opener = lots of cocktails!

      • SoonerBS says:

        I don’t know, guys. I haven’t laid money on V Tech yet and I may not play the game at all, but everything I look at keeps coming up V Tech in this one. Here is what I wrote down as my thoughts on this game over a month ago and I haven’t changed them. The fact that this line has been hanging at -7.5 for such a long time just makes me think V Tech is the play even more.

        Virginia Tech -7.5 and UNDER — I love to watch the triple-option whenever it is hitting all cylinders. Paul Johnson is a master at offensive coordinating, but one thing he struggles with is fooling teams whenever they have had several weeks to prepare for his offense (0-4 last 4 bowl games). How do you avoid this? You schedule FCS teams to open your season up against, which they have done the last 4 seasons Johnson has been the head coach, but not this season. This year they open up on Labor Day against Virginia Tech – not a smart move. Georgia Tech will likely not be much better or worse than they were a season ago. However, where they went 8-5 a year ago, this year’s schedule will likely not do them any favors with some tough road games. It will not get much tougher than their opening game. GT should have about the same offensive weapons they had a season ago with the exception of a possible step down at receivers. This is important because even though the triple-option consists mostly of running the football, at this level of play you have to complete some passes downfield in order to open up the running game. With 4 out of their top 5 receivers gone from last year, this looks highly questionable. Defensively, GT hasn’t been bad the last 3 years under Al Groh, but they haven’t been great, either. In fact, they have been a point worse for three consecutive years. The good news is that they have a lot of experience coming back. The bad news is that they will be facing probably the most talented QB and receivers in the ACC. VT QB, Logan Thomas has NFL scouts very interested in him. To describe him the best we simply put him in a former VT QB’s category — Michael Vick. He does have that kind of potential. With no dominating RB coming back, the RB job will probably be done by committee along with designed runs for Thomas. The WRs are some of the biggest, most athletic WRs in the conference. IF they can catch the ball, look for a lot of “throw the ball up and let them go after it” type of plays. This should become a very balanced offense as the year progresses. The real question mark for the team is the young, inexperienced offensive line. However, Thomas’ feet should keep the defenses loose this year and give the offensive line time to grow up and gel. HERE IS THE KEY TO THESE PLAYS: Virginia Tech’s defense should be nasty good this year! They have the capabilities to get a lot of penetration, which is bad for the triple-option. They are solid at every position and have depth to boot. With the extra time they have to prepare for the triple-option, I really don’t look for GT to do much scoring in this game. This should allow VT’s young offense to find some scores without the added pressure of playing from behind the whole game.

  2. GoSooners GoSooners says:

    BS…You make some good points with VT/GT. But Johnson knows by now that it’s tough to move it on these teams who have had weeks to prepare for his offense. I’ve heard they’ve been practicing some different sets to play this season other than than the Bone. Like the shotgun formation etc. And they deliberatly didn’t use them in the Spring game just to keep it under wraps until this first game. I don’t know about the game spread, but I would be tempted to take GT and the points in the first half. Thomas and the VT offense will probably settle in better in the second half. I still think this game is going to fall pretty close to the number. Unless there are some untimely turnovers on GT’s part or special teams plays, I don’t see VT pulling away in this game.

  3. jimmyshivers jimmyshivers says:

    Good discussion on GT/VT guys, will add a bit when I have a few moments. Added a few plays to my original post just now, like how the card shook out (though I was dead wrong about my Wolfpack last night)

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