With the NBA and NHL seasons finished, it's now the dead time in sports betting until football begins. So let's tantalize you with some NCAA football copy. Here's a look at the three hardest & easiest schedules for ACC teams by the NCAA's rankings.
The Blue Devils' overall schedule ranks as the 103rd toughest in the country with their opponents combining for a 70-81 mark last season, a winning percentage of 46.4 percent. Note that FCS opponents don't count and the Dukies host North Carolina Central in their second game. Duke plays just one team that ended last season ranked, four that finished with a winning record and six that were bowl eligible. Non-conference opponents are Tulane (road), NC Central, Northwestern and Army. No reason not to sweep those. The ACC opener is home to Georgia Tech, the only Top-25 team from 2014 on the schedule. The Blue Devils also avoid Florida State, Clemson and Louisville from the ACC's Atlantic Division. This is a piece of cake.
5Dimes Win Total: 7, with 'over' a -150 favorite. This sure looks like an 'over' schedule.
The Orange's schedule is 68th in the country with their foes going a combined 81-72 (52.9 percent) last season. Syracuse faces seven teams that finished with winning records, eight bowl-eligible teams and four that concluded 2014 ranked. Non-conference, SU opens on Sept. 4 against Rhode Island, hosts MAC school Central Michigan on Sept. 19, hosts LSU on Sept. 26 and visits South Florida on Oct. 10. That looks like 3-1 to me, losing to the Tigers. SU is in the Atlantic Division so has to play Florida State (road), Clemson and Louisville (road). But it avoids likely the three best teams from the Coastal: Georgia Tech, Miami and Virginia Tech.
5Dimes Win Total: 4, with 'over' a -125 favorite on the college football odds. No reason SU can't win two ACC games after going 3-1 out of conference. Go 'over.'
The Wolfpack's schedule ranks 61st in the nation with opponents combining to go 82-71 (53.6 percent) last season. Six finished with winning records, eight were bowl eligible and three were ranked to end 2014. I almost hope this team goes unbeaten and then is left out of the College Football Playoff because the non-conference schedule is an absolute joke: Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion and South Alabama. Wow. Is this basketball season? So the Wolfpack will be 4-0 when they host Louisville in the ACC opener on Oct. 3. They also get to host Clemson but must visit Florida State and then Virginia Tech from the Coastal Division. No Miami or Georgia Tech, however.
5Dimes Win Total: 7, with 'under' a -135 favorite. This looks like a push with those four non-conference victories and wins at Wake Forest and home to Syracuse and North Carolina.
The Hurricanes have the third-toughest schedule in the country as their opponents combined to go 97-58 last season (62.6 percent). Eight 2015 opponents had winning records last year, nine were bowl eligible and five finished the season ranked. Not the type of schedule that benefits Coach Al Golden in likely a make-or-break season. The Canes will certainly start 2-0 with wins over Bethune-Cookman and Florida Atlantic, but then come tough non-conference games vs. Nebraska and at Cincinnati. Miami also get hosed in conference because it has to play the two Atlantic powerhouses, Florida State (every year; this time in Tallahassee) and Clemson (in Miami).
5Dimes Win Total: 5, with 'over' a -260 favorite. Indeed it will be well over 5 even with this schedule.
The Cavaliers have the No. 12 schedule in the country as their foes were a combined 94-62 last season (60.3 percent), with eight clubs finishing with winning records, 10 bowl eligible and six concluding in the Top 25. If the Cavs finish with a losing record again, I don't see how Coach Mike London is back. I give UVA credit for its non-conference schedule as it visits UCLA, hosts Notre Dame (pseudo ACC game), hosts William & Mary (the only sure win all year) and hosts Boise State. You could be looking at 1-3 start heading into conference play, which starts Oct. 10 at Pitt. In conference, it's of course all the Coastal teams but no Florida State or Clemson. There is a tough trip to Louisville.
5Dimes Win Total: 4, with 'under' a -165 favorite. This looks like a push. I'd go 'under' however with my college football picks.
The defending Coastal Division champion Yellow Jackets have the No. 14 schedule with their foes going 93-62 last season (60 percent), with seven teams finishing with winning records, nine bowl eligible and five closing ranked. The Jackets will cruise to a 2-0 start with easy home wins over Alcorn State and Tulane but then have to visit Notre Dame. The other non-conference game is the annual regular-season finale against Georgia, this year in Athens. Jackets have to play both Clemson (in Death Valley) and Florida State (Atlanta) from the Atlantic Division. The Seminoles edged Georgia Tech 37-35 in last season's ACC title game.
5Dimes Win Total: 7, with 'over' a -180 favorite. No repeat division repeat. Go 'under.'