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Duke, Virginia and Florida State Favorites in Opening Odds to Win 2020-21 ACC Championship

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Basketball

Oct 14, 2020 · 6:31 PM PDT

Duke Blue Devils
The Duke Blue Devils have won five ACC Championships since 2009. Photo by bradleypjohnson (Flickr).
  • Virginia has the shortest odds to win the 2020-21 ACC title, followed by Duke and Florida State
  • The Blue Devils finished fourth in the ACC regular season in 2019-20, and will feature the Nation’s second ranked recruiting class
  • Read below for ACC analysis and a prediction on which school will win the conference championship

The start of the college basketball season is a little over a month away, and while plenty of details still need to be ironed out, Wednesday marked the official return to the practice court for the Duke Blue Devils.

The program everybody loves to hate also announced the date of its first game, which will take place November 25th against the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs.

Much like nearly every season in the Coach K era, Duke is expected to contend for the ACC title in 2020-21, but they won’t start the year as the favorite. That title belongs to 2019 National Champion Virginia.

2020-21 Atlantic Coast Conference Odds

Team Odds to Win
Virginia +215
Duke +225
Florida State +300
North Carolina +650
Louisville +1200
Miami (FL) +2000
Georgia Tech +3200
Notre Dame +4000
Syracuse +5000
NC State +8000
Pittsburgh +10000
Virginia Tech +10000
Clemson +20000
Boston College +30000
Wake Forest +50000

Odds taken Oct. 14th at DraftKings.

The Blue Devils’ ACC Championship odds opened just a hair behind the Cavaliers, and just ahead of Florida State. Duke said goodbye to six players from last season’s team, including three projected NBA Draft picks, but as always help is on the way.

Blue Devils Eager to Get Back on Top

The Blue Devils boast the top recruiting class in the ACC, and the number two class Nationally. They added six of the top-55 overall recruits, including four 5-star prospects.

With yet another extremely young team, the new recruits will be counted on to play a big role. Duke finished fourth in the ACC regular season in 2019-20, a rare down year in an otherwise phenomenal decade. Since 2010, the Blue Devils have averaged 28.9 wins per season, made three Elite Eight appearances and captured one National Championship.

The new talent coming in should drastically improve the team’s long range shooting, something that plagued them a season ago. Duke shot just 35.2% from 3 in 2019-20, which ranked 79th Nationally. Most of the newcomers possess elite shooting skills, and many are excellent ball handlers, which has prompted speculation the team might emulate the type of small ball lineups they used when Tre Jones, Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish were on campus.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to overlook the lack of experience on the roster. The Blue Devils have proven they can win with young teams in the past, but no one is confusing this lineup with the freshman led team that won it all in 2015.

Seminoles a Serious Contender

Florida State meanwhile, is returning 12 upperclassmen, including eight seniors. Yes, they’re losing their top-two scorers from a season ago, but this is a program that is now considered among the ACC’s heavyweights.

The Seminoles, the defending conference regular season champions, are 29-9 in ACC play over the past two seasons. They’re chalked full of athleticism and are one of the biggest teams in the conference. They don’t feature a single significant player under 6’4, and will rotate three giants who stand 6’11 or taller.

Defense will once again be their calling card, but there is some concern about their point guard play. Last season’s starter Trent Forrest has moved on, and there is no clear consensus on who his replacement will be.

For years this program has been missing an alpha at the position, which is one of the primary reasons they haven’t had a dominant offensive team. They win games by grinding their opponents down, which has worked extremely well, but to win the conference title they’ll need a true leader at the point.

Cavaliers are a Complete Team

Which brings us to Virginia. The Cavaliers are the last team to win a National title (in 2019), and have won four ACC regular season titles and two conference championships since 2014.

Virginia finished tied for second in the ACC last season, and have reloaded with the Nation’s third ranked recruiting class. A handful of players still remain from the 2019 National Championship team, giving Tony Bennett an experienced roster, with plenty of exciting young talent.

Like most Bennett coached teams, this edition projects to be strong defensively, and while last season’s team lacked a go-to scorer, that won’t be the case in 2020-21.

That’s because former Marquette star Sam Hauser has transferred in, giving Virginia a top-10 player of the year candidate. Hauser is a career 44.5% long range shooter, and averaged 15 points and 7 rebounds as a Junior in 2018-19.

A rock solid nucleus and the addition of some much needed scoring from Hauser has prompted experts to list Virginia as the seventh ranked team in the NCAA.com preseason power rankings. They’re the only ACC squad to crack the top-10, and a deserving favorite to capture their third conference title in the last seven years.

Pick: Virginia (+215)

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