Hot Picks for Wednesday Night in the ACC

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Tuesday night in the ACC features an intriguing matchup between two newcomers to the top half of the conference standings, and two ACC staples in a rivalry that offers loads of betting value. Georgia Tech and Clemson currently sit in sixth and tied for seventh in the ACC standings, respectively, although those positions are misleading because of the number of games that have been postponed to date by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, North Carolina, uncharacteristically unranked and mired in ninth and in the lower half of the conference standings, looks to prey on cellar dweller Wake Forest to move up in the ACC pecking order.

7:00 p.m. ET – Wake Forest at North Carolina (-11) O/U: 143

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Wake Forest +11 (-110) +485 O 143 (-115)
North Carolina -11 (-110) -625 U 143 (-105)

The 8-5 Tar Heels play host to the 3-5 Demon Deacons at the Dean Dome. Wake Forest is 0-5 in conference play. But Wake put up a valiant effort yet in its last time out, suffering a narrow 64-60 loss to No.16 Virginia Tech. North Carolina had won three in a row before falling 82-75 to Florida State in Tallahassee. The Demon Deacons have not won inside the Dean Dome since 2010 and although no fans will be in attendance, history remains heavily stacked against them.

Wake has failed to score more than 68 points in ACC play this season and this could prove costly if they hope to upset a Carolina team that is 7-0 this season when holding opponents to 67 or fewer. The Demon Deacons depend heavily on juniors Daivien Williamson and Isaiah Mucius, the team’s only healthy players averaging in double figures. Wake was hoping to lean on guard Ian DuBose and forward Tariq Ingraham this season, but Ingraham announced he would miss the remainder of the season after contracting COVID-19 and DuBose is out indefinitely with medical issues. This does not bode well for the Demon Deacons because the Tar Heels are deep and have their own “Twin Towers” in the middle with big men Armando Bacot and Garrison Brooks. Bacot and Brooks both are averaging double-digit points per game while hauling in more than seven rebounds per game. Carolina boasts the second-best offensive rebound percentage in Division 1, at 41.8 percent. The Tar Heels collect 16.4 offensive rebounds per game on average.

Wake Forest is clearly outmatched and will likely lose this game. Nonetheless, there is value with the spread being 12 points. Carolina is 4-9 against the spread this season because the lines are frequently skewed based on what the front of its jerseys say. Wake Forest is learning to play with what they have and is more than capable of keeping this game within the inflated point spread. There has been another profitable trend in games involving Carolina this season: nine of the Tar Heels’ 13 games have gone under the Over/Under point total. Expect Carolina to come out a little flat, but pull away late to win this one in the 67-60 range. That margin of victory provides plenty of room for Wake to cover with the +12 point spread being offered by Bovada.

The Bets
Wake Forest +11

7:00 p.m. ET – No.20 Clemson (-2) at Georgia Tech O/U: 129.5

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Clemson -2 (-110) -133 O 129 (-110)
Georgia Tech +2 (-110) +113 U 129 (-110)

The 6-3 Yellow Jackets welcome the 9-2 and nationally-ranked Clemson Tigers into Atlanta for a somewhat unexpected and potentially crucial ACC showdown. Although Georgia Tech has won four straight games, Wednesday night will mark its first outing since Jan. 3 after various COVID-related postponements. Clemson, meanwhile, had its own 11-day gap in between beating NC State 74-70 and losing to Virginia 85-50 last Saturday. The Tigers were clearly rusty from the extended layoff and the Cavaliers exploited it all afternoon. Per Sports Illustrated, Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner had interesting remarks about how these long COVID-induced breaks affect teams differently.

Florida State came off of pause and was incredible,” Pastner told SI, citing the fact that Florida State won three consecutive games by a combined 52 points after emerging from its own COVID-induced break in the action.

Georgia Tech is led by Jose Alvarado, who leads the team in scoring at 18.1 points per game and also excels on the defensive side of the ball, ranking second in the league with 2.1 steals per game. The Yellow Jackets also are propelled by Moses Wright, who averages 17 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. The Tigers are more well-rounded, but their unquestioned leader is Aamir Simms who averages 11.6 points per game to along with 5.7 rebounds.

Clemson attacks teams by committee and had perfected it prior to its long layoff.

Pastner is right to be optimistic that the layoff could potentially help his guys, but we have seen many instances where teams have come out shaky after a COVID-provoked hiatus. Clemson knows how detrimental an unexpected layoff can be and the Yellow Jackets had six more days than the Tigers away from basketball activities. Clemson is a short dog because of the team Georgia Tech was when they last stepped on the court on Jan. 3. However, that was a long time ago in the scope of this very unique basketball season. Back the Tigers to win because of the potential sloppiness out of the gate from the Yellow Jackets.

The Bet
Clemson -2
Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

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