football Edit

Odds and Ends: Breaking down the lines in Week 13 in the ACC

Antonio Gandy-Golden and the Flames are hoping to catch the Hoos looking ahead.
Antonio Gandy-Golden and the Flames are hoping to catch the Hoos looking ahead. (Associated Press)

The Coastal Division is down to three and this weekend's games should play a big part in making things even clearer. One of them, at least. Elsewhere, the Cavaliers are going to have to dig deep and avoid looking ahead to next Friday afternoon.

So, let’s take a look at Week 13 in the ACC:

Liberty at UVa (-16.5)

This is one of the most “fascinating” gambling games of the weekend. The Cavaliers are coming off a bye week and have the massive tilt against Virginia Tech up next which will be for the Coastal. In between is this game against Liberty, which is one win away from bowl eligibility. This is the Flames’ fourth-straight road game with them going 1-2 against Rutgers, UMass, and BYU. They played better than I thought two weeks ago and benefit from a bye week here. Buckshot Calvert and Antonio Gandy-Golden are one of the best duos the Hoos will see this season. It’s a poor matchup for the home team, which is ridiculously banged up in the secondary as the Flames have other weapons as well. The fascinating thing here is figuring out how long players will play and will anyone with nicks and bruises sit out. The coach and the players are all saying the right thing, but saying and doing are two completely different things. UVa is 2-5-1 in its last eight games against the spread and has been a home favorite of 17.5 to 21 points just four times since 1992, covering three of those contests. Normally, I’d say play the Hoos in the first half and Liberty in the second but I’d wait until closer when we know who may or may not play. If UVa keeps its defense out there long, I’d take the under, but that’s up in the air. Too many unanswered questions for me to even consider a wager here.

Pitt at Virginia Tech (-4)

I’m as stunned as a lot of you at how well Tech is playing nowadays. I was waaaaaay off last week when I thought Georgia Tech would give them a game. Instead, the Hokies did what you are supposed to do to a lower opponent and crushed them. I’ve said all along that I think VT has some solid young pieces on defense, but now the offense is coming into it’s own with Hendon Hooker at QB1. On the other side, you’ve got a Pittsburgh team that has won six of its last seven and somehow is in position to potentially to win the Coastal again. This team has road wins at Duke, Syracuse, and Georgia Tech and is playing some great defense themselves. The Panthers are 7-3 against the spread this season and beat these guys 52-22 at home in Heinz Field last year. Pitt has gone under in 13 of its last 15 road games while Tech has gone under in 13 of its last 22 ACC contests. As the line keeps going up, I think there’s some value with the road team.

Duke at Wake Forest (-7)

Woof, these last two weeks Wake Forest has laid massive eggs in losses by a combined score of 88-20 against Virginia Tech and Clemson, both on the road. The Demon Deacons managed less than 125 yards of offense against the Tigers as they played without their two best wide receivers. The lack of offense has also exposed the defense that has been subpar as well. I can’t back this team right now because I think there’s a decent shot that they lose out. Duke, meanwhile, has lost four in a row scoring just 44 points in the process. The Blue Devils aren’t doing much right either right now, as Quentin Harris has regressed a bit it seems. They have the better defense although they’ve given up over 200 yards rushing in each of their last three tilts. They have covered just seven of their last 22 ACC games including three of six this season. There are better games to bet than this one.

Syracuse at Louisville (-10)

Yay! My alma mater finally got a conference victory! Syracuse played like the team we all thought the Orange would be, for one week anyway, in a 49-6 win over Duke. They ran for almost 300 yards of offense and clamped down on D as well. It helped that McKinley WIlliams played his first game of the year and he was a factor in clogging up the middle. Is this a temporary bump because of the bye week or has Syracuse turned the corner a bit? Louisville has alternated wins and losses for over a month after winning at NC State 34-20. The Cardinal offense continues to be successful under Scott Satterfield while the defense is doing just enough to help out. They have allowed 21 points or more in almost every game this year. To me, this seems a little bit like an over. If you believe that Syracuse’s defense stinks then Louisville should score a lot. I think the Orange can put up some points as well especially if they utilize the run as much as they did last week. Look to the over here.

Matt Josephs is on ESPN Radio in Richmond from 3-4 p.m. EST weekdays and 11-Noon on Saturdays. You can find his picks and thoughts on at