Clemson has owned the ACC in recent years, winning the conference championship with ease the last five years. The Tigers are widely expected to do so again this year. Sure, a few teams in the ACC are going to be better this season. But no one is ready to beat them.
However, Notre Dame might be.
The ACC is going with a conference-only schedule this year. But this year, that schedule will include Notre Dame—who will be able to play for the ACC title.
The Fighting Irish are a member of the ACC in every other sport. With most conferences going with nothing but conference games this season, Notre Dame has watched its schedule disappear. Since they already have a relationship with the ACC, joining them for football (at least for this season) makes sense.
They also make the conference appear a little more competitive this year—at least, according to the oddsmakers at FoxBet.com:
2020 Atlantic Coast Conference Winner Odds:
- Clemson -300
- Notre Dame +350
- Miami (FL) +1200
- North Carolina +1400
- Virginia Tech +2000
- Florida State +2500
- Louisville +3300
- Virginia +4500
- Pittsburgh +5000
- NC State +7500
- Wake Forest, Duke +10000
- Boston College, Syracuse, Georgia Tech +20000
According to the odds, Clemson is still the overwhelming favorite to win the ACC with a 75 percent chance. However, it is worth noting that their odds are not quite what they used to be. In late March, they were given an 88.51 percent chance of winning the conference (-770).
The most significant change is with their closest competitor. In March, Miami had the next best chance to win the ACC with odds of +700. Expectations have since died down for them as their odds have gotten longer. But with Notre Dame now part of the schedule, the Fighting Irish have the second-best odds, and they aren’t that bad.
However, having decent odds and actually beating Clemson are two different things. So—how should you bet?
You may be wondering about the other teams in the ACC. Shouldn’t we discuss those teams at least a little bit? The answer to that question is easy—no. No, we should not. Miami, North Carolina, and Florida State are going to be better teams this year. But they are not quite ready to slay the dragon.
Can Notre Dame?
With an offensive line returning and quarterback Ian Book, the offense certainly has a ton of potential. The receivers and running backs will need to step up. But having a reliable offensive line opening holes and giving Book time to throw should help.
Their defense has enough pieces of last year’s top-15 squad coming back to make the unit a good one this season. Good enough to stop Clemson’s two Heisman trophy candidates, Trevor Lawrence and Travis Ettienne?
Eh, maybe. Probably not—but maybe.
How should you bet? You should still take Clemson to win. The competition will be a little tighter, but likely not tough enough. But in case it is, don’t bet the house on the Tigers. They will probably win the ACC, but don’t count them as a sure thing just yet.
Notre Dame would not be a bad bet, but if you are going to roll the dice on a team, you might as well go with Miami and the higher payout.