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The Atlantic Coast Conference has already been much maligned in the early going of the season, but a few of the teams made statements last week to suggest the pessimism may have been unwarranted. Two key games on Saturday could go a long way towards earni



2009-09-25

The Atlantic Coast Conference has already been much maligned in the early going of the season, but a few of the teams made statements last week to suggest the pessimism may have been unwarranted. Two key games on Saturday could go a long way towards earning the league some more respect. Read on as we preview North Carolina-Georgia Tech and Miami-Virginia Tech, then head over to the Sportsbook.com LIVE ODDS, BETTING TRENDS, and TEAM STATISTICS pages for more key late breaking info.

North Carolina (+2.5, 45.5) at Georgia Tech Raycom 12:00E
The Tar Heels returned nine starters on defense in ‘09 and so far, this has been the strength of the team early. They will now be tested by Georgia Tech's powerful option offense in Atlanta. Coach Butch Davis' defense held Connecticut offense to 196 total yards and did a good job in limiting East Carolina to 13 first downs and 17 points last week. They are tied for 10th in the country in points allowed at 11 per game. The offense still needs work as quarterback T.J. Yates is searching for the right chemistry with his receivers. North Carolina is 8-4 ATS as single digit ACC underdog.

Georgia Tech had an extra two days to prepare after losing at Miami 33-17 on ESPN last Thursday. The Yellow Jackets success or failure here will in part fall upon the right arm of junior Josh Nesbitt. Far from a polished passer, Nesbitt went thru a 1 for 11 spell vs. Miami. Also, teams with big physical defenses that have enough quickness on the defensive front are starting to have success against triple option attacks. This means Nesbit has to continue to be a clutch performer and come up big when called upon as he has in the past with 5-2 and 5-1 ATS record in games decided by four or less points.

Georgia Tech has won three of the last five but is 0-5 ATS since 2004 versus the Tar Heels. North Carolina is 11-4 against the spread in its last 15 ACC affairs, with the underdog a nicely profitable 8-4 ATS. Watch the oddsmakers' line for movement on this contest, with the Heels 8-4 ATS catching three or less points. The Yellow Jackets escaped 27-25 as nine-point home favorite in 2007 and they are 21-9 UNDER when the line is +3 to -3. The StatFox Power Line says North Carolina by 1

Miami (-3, 47.5) at Virginia Tech ABC 3:30E
It's sad really, from 1992 until 2003, a Miami and Virginia Tech battle was the essence of Big East football. The games weren't always close, but they spoke about what made the conference as it grew in stature. These two rivals still meet in ACC action, but the importance has been somewhat diminished.

Coach Randy Shannon clearly did not look at Miami's schedule before taking the job in 2006, since only a person with only short term job ambitions would want to play an early schedule that includes Florida State, Georgia Tech, the Hokies and Oklahoma in its first four games. Still, Miami's new wide-open offense has unleashed QB Jacory Harris, who has embraced the idea of throwing the ball to a variety of receivers. The defense is rounding into formidable unit and is allowing just 3.0 yards per carry. The Hurricanes are 7-2 ATS in their last nine road excursions.

This is Virginia Tech's third consecutive contest in Blacksburg and they are jacked after knocking off Nebraska in a 16-15 thriller this past week, a game they never should have won. The Hokies are 34-9 and 29-14 ATS since joining the Athletic Coast Conference. HC Frank Beamer's team is also 9-5 and 11-3 ATS versus Miami since 1995, including 5-1 against the spread record at Lane Stadium. The wagering public is both not impressed with the Hokies and very impressed with the Hurricanes, taking the ACC matchup from a Pick, to Miami by three.

The Hokies are only 5-5 ATS in the third of three or more consecutive home games and are just 7-11-1 ATS with home field advantage the last four seasons. However, the StatFox Power Line indicates they should win by 8 points here.


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