Sixth-ranked Clemson is set to begin ACC play by hosting Georgia Tech on Saturday (3:30 p.m., ABC). The odds of the Tigers winning the game — and the conference championship — are extremely high, according to ESPN Chalk gambling writer David Purdum. Here’s what he had to say:
The State: ACC play starts this week. What are Clemson’s odds to win a seventh straight conference championship?
David Purdum: Clemson is a -400 favorite (or 1/4). That means that you would have to bet $400 to win just $100 to win the ACC championship game. They’re the overwhelming favorite.
TS: Obviously big odds, but who would be the closest to challenging Clemson in the conference and what about their power ranking puts them at a distant second?
DP: Virginia Tech is 12/1. Miami is 14/1 and North Carolina is 18/1, so you can see there, there’s a significant gap, which really tells the story of Clemson, right? They’re in the ACC. They’re the dominant head and shoulders above everybody else. Even Ohio State in the Big Ten, they’re only -200. Oklahoma’s a -275 favorite in the Big 12. Clemson is the biggest favorite to win the ACC out of any team in any conference.
TS: In the league opener, the Tigers are favored by 29 points to beat Georgia Tech. Do you see this number fluctuating to a bigger gap, a smaller gap or staying the same over the week?
DP: It’s already over 28½ right there, obviously 28 being a four-touchdown number, so that will be the key if it stays up above it, if it keeps going up, you may see it getting up to 30 and 30-plus. If it comes down, I don’t believe it will be any lower than 28. That’s kind of the guessing game that the bettors are trying to make right now figuring out which way the numbers are going to go, because obviously if you want to bet Georgia Tech for whatever reason, you would want to wait and see if that line goes up as high as possible. Likewise, if you’d want to take Clemson, you’d want to see if that would get down to maybe a 27½, which would be right under that.
TS: We’ve talked about those power rankings. Do you feel like that line is more of a reflection of the oddsmakers’ perception of Clemson or Georgia Tech?
DP: It’s a combination of both, right? I mean, you’ve got this one powerhouse team and you’ve got a Georgia Tech team that really struggled, lost in Week 1 to Northern Illinois, but bounced back last week with a win over Kennesaw State. It just shows the differential between Clemson and almost any other team in the ACC. They’re going to be a double-digit favorite over every team, possibly 16, 17 points for sure.
TS: Which ACC game this week has drawn the most interest so far?
DP: I guess that Virginia-North Carolina game. There’s not a whole lot of line movement there. One of the more interesting ones is Wake Forest being a 5½-point favorite over Florida State. How the times have changed there. I can’t imagine the last time Wake Forest was favored over Florida State, probably not too long ago. An interesting one to me is that Virginia Tech-West Virginia game. We really want to see how good Virginia Tech is, and them going on the road and they’re only catching three points … in fact, Circa Sports, one of the sportsbooks that really caters to professional betters, they’re down to 2½ on West Virginia, so there definitely seems to be some interest on that one.