Now that the 15 teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference have finished up their regular season, it’s time for Championship Week and a shot at the ACC title. All 15 teams get to play in this year’s ACC tournament, which starts on Wednesday and runs through Sunday. And not surprisingly, the top four seeds, who have the bye until Friday’s quarterfinals, are also the top four favorites to win the conference.
What might surprise you is the order of those four favorites. The Duke Blue Devils (24-7 straight up, 18-11-1 against the spread) are the No. 3 seed in the ACC tourney, but they’re the 2-1 co-favorites alongside the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers (25-6 SU, 16-10-1 ATS) on Bovada’s college basketball futures market. The No. 2 Syracuse Orange (27-4 SU, 14-11-2 ATS) have slipped to third-favorite status at 3-1, followed by the No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels (23-8 SU, 16-15 ATS) at 7-1.
The only other team being given a realistic shot at winning the ACC is the No. 5 Pittsburgh Panthers (23-8 SU, 10-17-1 ATS) at 12-1. As the No. 5 seed, Pitt’s road to the title begins on Thursday with a second-round game against the winner of Wednesday’s matchup between the No. 12 Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the No. 13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Panthers beat both teams during the regular season, although it took overtime to put away Notre Dame (+3.5 at home) 85-81 on March 1.
So which of these five contenders will prevail? If you want to pick the best team of the five that would be the Cavaliers — according to Ken Pomeroy’s advanced statistics, that is. Here’s how Pomeroy had the top five ACC favorites ranked in terms of efficiency as we went to press:
No. 5 Virginia (No. 24 offense, No. 4 defense)
No. 7 Duke (No. 2 offense, No. 80 defense)
No. 11 Syracuse (No. 26 offense, No. 15 defense)
No. 21 Pittsburgh (No. 19 offense, No. 53 defense)
No. 22 North Carolina (No. 50 offense, No. 21 defense)
That’s a potent fivesome right there. But if you look at the most recent odds available for the Big Dance itself, the NCAA Tournament, you’ll see a different pecking order:
North Carolina 40-1
Seems like Pittsburgh is the best value for your NCAAB betting dollar. Although they’ve fallen out of the rankings with seven losses in their last 14 games, two of those Panther losses were to then-undefeated Syracuse by a combined seven points. And right now, you can’t say that any of these five teams is on a hot streak. After beating Syracuse, Virginia lost its regular-season finale to the Maryland Terrapins (+3.5 at home), while Duke (–9.5 at home) stopped North Carolina’s winning streak at 12 games. Looks like this year’s ACC title is truly up for grabs — along with a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the winner.