For six years, the ACC was the Clemson Tigers’ to rule, and no one else in the conference mounted a serious attack on their reign.
2021 served a dose of reality to Dabo Swinney & Co., missing out on the ACC Championship game for the first time since 2014. Can Clemson reclaim its place atop the conference in 2022?
Find out in our 2022 ACC college football betting preview.
ACC odds 2022
|Team||Odds||Win total O/U|
|North Carolina State||+750||8.5|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of July 27, 2022.
Favorites to win the ACC in 2022
To think, early in the summer, Clemson’s odds to win the ACC opened at +140 at some books. The Tigers are now the odds-on favorite once again, and there is plenty of reason to believe in them.
Injuries are never an excuse for losses in football, but they did rifle through Clemson’s receivers and offensive line. Despite those injuries, the O-Line now returns 75 starts, up from 40 last preseason. As disappointing as Justyn Ross’s final two college seasons were, losing him to the NFL is not that big an on-field blow to the Tigers.
Its defense is known and trusted, and this year's defensive line may rival 2018’s for dominance. Sophomore running back Will Shipley may not be Travis Etienne, but no one is, and Shipley should still be one of the most complete backs in the country.
Uiagalelei completed just 55.6 percent of his passes last season. He threw more interceptions than touchdowns. In 13 games, he managed only 2,246 passing yards. The former five-star prospect crippled the Tigers’ offense last season, wasting another stellar defense.
If his reported weight loss does not lead to more efficient numbers, then Clemson may go two whole years without winning a conference championship.
If not the Tigers, the challenge becomes to pick from the flawed rest. Miami at least finished 2021 strong, winning five of six and nearly pulling off a spectacular comeback at Florida State in that one loss.
The key ingredient to that stretch? Then-freshman Tyler Van Dyke had stepped in at quarterback. Van Dyke started the last nine games in total, suffering two close losses early in that stretch.
New Miami head coach Mario Cristobal claims the sophomore is the best quarterback in the country. While that is obviously hyperbolic coach-speak, Van Dyke very well may be when it comes to the ACC.
If that comes to fruition, and Cristobal is able to instill a tougher mentality than had been around Coral Gables the last few years, then Miami could escape the Coastal Division in its final season.
Sleeper to win the ACC in 2022
Wake Forest (+3,000)
The Demon Deacons’ odds plummeted when it was announced senior quarterback Sam Hartman would be sidelined indefinitely. The school has not expounded on his non-football medical issue, but it is concerning enough that there is still some possibility he misses the entire season.
Looking at Wake Forest’s schedule, the Deacons could conceivably reach their mid-October idle week with only one loss to Clemson. If Hartman returns to finish the season, suddenly Wake Forest could be in the mix for a 9-10 win season.
It won't be enough to win the conference if Clemson has already beaten the Deacons, but what if Uiagalelei struggles again in 2022 and five-star freshman Cade Klubnik cannot immediately salvage the Tigers’ offense?
It may be a longshot, but the +3,000 odds offer great value if Hartman returns by midseason.
Pick to win the ACC: Clemson (-155)
The Tigers’ defensive line alone forces this bet. Defensive tackle Bryan Bresee and defensive end Xavier Thomas should both be All-Americans, even if Thomas misses a few games to start the season. If they weren’t on the roster, then defensive tackle Tyler Davis and defensive end/linebacker Myles Murphy would both be given All-American consideration.
Defensive lines do not take off games, as they pin their ears back and charge forward, relentlessly. So when a front is this good, not much more thought needs to be given to the team’s chances at bothering the gunslingers in a quarterback-heavy league.
The pressure in the trenches will be Clemson's biggest factor in taking back the ACC this season.
ACC 2022 best bets
Best ATS bet: Syracuse
After going 5-7 last year and 11-24 in the last three, backing the Orange may come as a surprise. But this isn’t about Dino Babers saving his job, it’s about making money, and Babers has been good at that all along.
Syracuse went 8-4 ATS last year and 6-5 in 2020, while stumbling to a 1-10 SU record. Things should be better in western New York this year. Dual-threat quarterback Garrett Shrader and preseason All-American running back Sean Tucker will make life difficult for opposing defenses. By bringing in most of the Virginia offensive coaching staff after Bronco Mendenhall’s unexpected retirement, Babers made sure Shrader will be able to take advantage of returning his top-five receivers from last year.
The defense has never been the problem for the Orange. A one-win team usually gives up far more than 32.7 points per game, and Syracuse knocked that down to 26.3 points per game last year. They return eight starters this season — along with nine on offense.
Babers was covering the spread in 2021 with an overmatched team. Now he may have the best running back in the country with a dual-threat quarterback coached by innovative thinkers.
Best Over/Under bet: Clemson (Unders)
This is another credit to Clemson's defense.
An offense like Ohio State's might be able to score 30-plus points against the Tigers, but no one in the ACC is going to comfortably crack 24.
Clemson gave up just 14.8 points per game a year ago, and this defense will be even better. An improved Uiagalelei still will not look like Trevor Lawrence, so the Tigers' offense should refrain from blowing up any totals plays on its own.
As long as a total is at least 45, it is hard to see Clemson games reaching it. Holding opponents to 10 points per game means Uiagalelei will need to lead the way to five touchdowns to crack that hypothetical total.
Best win total bet: Syracuse Over 4.5
If Wake Forest was on the board, the value thoughts may be worth doubling down here. Instead, let’s stick with Babers’ solidifying his job security.
The Orange have two baked-in wins: a trip to Connecticut and a visit from FCS-level Wagner. Finding three more should not be too difficult, considering the schedule split just right for Syracuse in terms of who visits the Carrier Dome and who doesn’t.
Syracuse will almost certainly lose to Clemson, so it's best to play that game on the road. The same could probably be said for Pittsburgh.
Add in the obvious uncertainty of late-season matchups with Wake Forest and Boston College, and there are multiple avenues to five wins for the Orange.
Best 2022 ACC props
Tyler Van Dyke (+4,000), Malik Cunningham (+8,000), and Devin Leary (+8,000) to win the Heisman
This is one of a few ways to fade Clemson if absolutely insisting on it. Assuming the Tigers start out 4-0, the hype will begin to once again swirl around Dabo Swinney’s program and their title chances.
Whoever leads a subsequent upset of Clemson will then get a Heisman boost, and each one of these quarterbacks will get his chance. At such long odds, they can all be played together.
If one of them takes down the Tigers, he will have both shined on the national landscape and have a path toward the ACC title game to do so again. At these odds, that kind of scenario at least gives a path to the Heisman.
Clemson to make the Playoff (+125)
This is preferable to betting the Tigers to win the National Championship (+1,200 at BetMGM), simply because their offense won't be able to keep up with the likes of an Alabama or Ohio State.
However, Clemson should get back to the CFP this season. Winning at Notre Dame will silence any schedule strength doubts, perhaps giving the Tigers a one-loss cushion to still land in the semifinals. This defensive line should not be exposed more than once, and even that feels unlikely.
ACC 2022 Stat to know
Four of the seven teams in the Coastal Division have new head coaches, likely adding more chaos to the final season's format.
ACC 2022 Preview FAQs
Clemson is the odds-on favorite to win the ACC in 2022, followed by Miami, NC State, and Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh won the 2021 ACC Championship Game, beating Wake Forest 45-21.
Clemson has 20 ACC championships, followed by Florida State with 15, then Maryland with nine.