The Clemson Tigers won 14 games last season en route to a berth in the College Football Playoff, and they have emerged as early +150 favorites to repeat as ACC champions in 2016 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Led by pivot Deshaun Watson, Clemson has won 14 of their past 15 games against conference opponents, allowing just 19 points per game in conference action a year ago.
Watson is expected to once again lead the Clemson offense, but the loss of three starting defensive backs to the NFL draft, along with an unexpected shakeup at cornerback, could impact the Clemson defense ahead of their season-opening matchup against Auburn on Sept. 3.
Should Clemson fall out of conference championship contention this season, there will be no shortage of rivals looking to replace the Tigers, starting with the Florida State Seminoles, who closely trail the defending champs at +225 on the college football futures.
The Seminoles are hoping to rebound after stumbling down the stretch last season, posting heartbreaking losses to Georgia Tech and Clemson to finish 6-2 in conference play before being routed 38-24 by Houston in the Peach Bowl.
With a quarterback controversy brewing following the emergence this spring of redshirt freshman passer Deondre Francois, FSU looks to reassert itself as an offensive force, However, with just six regulars returning, defense remains a wild card for the Seminoles.
An 8-5 squad a year ago, the Miami Hurricanes have gained attention during the offseason, receiving mentions on early college football rankings, and opened as a healthy +900 bet to win their first ACC crown.
The Louisville Cardinals got their second season in the ACC off to a rocky start, losing four of their first six outings. The second half brought a reversal of fortune for the Cardinals, who claimed victory in six of their final seven outings, including a 27-21 Music City Bowl win over Texas A&M powered by quarterback Lamar Jackson’s four-touchdown performance.
With Jackson returning to the fold this season, Louisville is on the move on the ACC odds, currently pegged alongside the North Carolina Tar Heels and Virginia Tech Hokies at +1000.
The Pittsburgh Panthers lead the middle of the pack at +1400, ahead of the Yellow Jackets at +1600, and the North Carolina State Wolfpack at +2000, while the Duke Blue Devils lag at +4000.
The Virginia Cavaliers, Syracuse Orange and Wake Forest Demon Deacons are knotted at +7500 on those college football odds, while the Boston College Eagles trail as distant +10000 long shots.
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hagy/USA TODAY Sports Images
Nov 29, 2014; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers linebacker Tony Steward (7) reacts on the field against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
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